ICBE 2018

Mappi, a regency of a million swamps

Based on the Mappi Regent’s speech during the COP 23 Climate Change Conference in Bonn, Germany

Mappi Regency is one of the regencies expanded from Merauke Regency in 2002 with an area of 28,518 km2. Mappi has a forest area of 1.6 million hectares or 56% of the total area of the regency, consisting of dryland forests, wetland forests, mangrove forests and savannas. Having those types of forests, Mappi Regency has a total carbon reserves of approximately 177,999,978 tons.

Mappi Regency is expected to increase the proportion of protected areas from 7% to ± 20 – 38%. It is hoped that Mappi will contribute to maintaining the forest area of ± 530,000 hectares in Papua and to contribute to the National Peat Management Policy through the multi-stakeholder forum program “Mappi Lestari Sejuta Rawa” or MALESERA (literally translated as “Mappi, a regency of a million swamps”) covering an area of ± 200,000 hectare. 

Photo credit : Rintho G Maturbongs.

Based on the results of the study conducted by WWF Indonesia in 2010 and of that by USAID LESTARI in 2016, Mappi Regency potentially has species that belong in the High Conservation Value category amounting to 60-70% of the total species found. Meanwhile, viewed from the aspect of water system environmental services, Mappi is a regency where most of its ecosystem consists of swamps and rivers. Mappi Regency has a unique surface water flow system as it is a downstream regency that receives river water flowing from neighboring regencies.

On the other hand, Mappi Regency can also be said to be an upstream regency since the upstream swamps in Mappi supply and store water for the surrounding small rivers. Another uniqueness that characterizes Papua in general and Mappi Regency in particular is that customary law is still preserved in natural resource management activities and in making decisions concerning land rights. Therefore, it is essential to engage indigenous people in every form of development planning.

This commitment also showed by  Mappi Regent, Kristosimus Yohanes Agawemu, became one of the speakers at the COP 23 Climate Change Conference in Bonn, Germany, in the November last year. In order to support the Papuan Provincial Government’s commitment to maintain the forest coverage area at 90% of the total area, the Government of Mappi Regency supports the evaluation of spatial planning based on local criteria to realize Mappi as the “regency of a million swamps” by maintaining the important areas for water conservation.

Although it is suggested that some areas serve as protected areas, it does not mean cultivation activities are not allowed. Mappi Regional Government supports local-commodity-based economic development activities to strengthen the economic sectors in villages and districts. Economic development must take into account the community’s capacity, so that the people of Mappi can prosper economically, maintain the value of the environment and strengthen the value of socio-cultural resilience in order to give contributions to Indonesia and the world in addressing climate change issues.

"Provinces of Conservation: Smart Solution for Sustainable Development in Papua"