IRSA Expert Workshop Report

IRSA invited several key figures in wide ranges of backgrounds to discuss issues related to Kalimantan, the Indonesia part of Borneo. Vice President of IRSA Dr Budy P. Resosudarmo of ANU, Dr Lydia Napitupulu of University of Indonesia, and Dr M. Handry Imansyah of Lambung Mangkurat University (UNLAM) shared their research results on economics development and poverty alleviation. The issues about human development and migration was shared by Professor Tadjuddin Noer Effendi of Gadjah Mada University and Professor Chris Manning of ANU. Both experts presented rich data on the people of Kalimantan from sociology and economics perspectives. Dr Atmarita of Ministry of Health presented data on the status of health of Kalimantan people based on several surveys conducted by the ministry. Others issues discussed during the first day of workshop were “cultural diversity and adaptation” by Martinus Anang (Forestry, Mulawarwan University), “ethnics conflict”  collaboratively shared by Edward Aspinall (Political Science, ANU), Ahmad Muhajir (IAIN Antasari), Wijaya Kesuma and Thamrin Jafar (Tanjungpura University).

On the second day, the experts discussed three main topics namely, natural resources management, biodiversity conservation, and global changes and local resilience. On the first topic Retno Maryani (ICRAF) explored the issues of dynamics of land uses and forest management in Kalimantan. Dr Petra Mahy (Monash University), Professor Luthfi Fatah and Professor Udiansyah both from UNLAM explored the issues of mining and local development. An expert from Wageningen University, Bambang Gunawan, shared his expertise on fisheries and coastal management. On the second topic, Erik Meijaard (The Nature Conservation) and Sugeng Budiharta (University of Queensland) talked about biodiversity of Kalimantan. Danielle Kreb and Budiono both from Rare Aquatic Species of Indonesia talked about rare aquatic species, while, Hendrik Segah (Hokkaido University) shared his expertise on peat land management. On the third topic, Ida Aju Pradnja Resosudarmo talked about REDD and forest management, Tim Brown (World Bank) elaborated local climate change impact and adaptation, and Budy P. Resosudarmo (ANU) presented macroeconomic perspective of climate change policies.

Professor Sutarto Hadi, Vice-rector for Planning and Cooperation Affairs, UNLAM, on the opening speech shared his concern on Kalimantan as a rich as well as poor region. The people of Kalimantan are living in the region which is rich with natural resources, but they are, unfortunately, not able to take advantage of this natural haven. On the contrary, what they get is a natural disaster. Many people from outside Kalimantan come to this region. These individuals collaborate with a few irresponsible local residents that lack the knowledge of the devastating consequences of exploiting the natural resources in the area. What we observe as residents of Kalimantan is the destruction of our natural environment through mining and massive plantation. The effects of this industry result in floods, landslides, and forced migration of the people of Kalimantan. As the people see the exploitation of their land, they, in turn follow this example and exploit their resources without considering the damage being done to the environment. Sutarto hoped this expert workshop will provide a framework for a sustainable development of Kalimantan with equal perspective on environment and the people. He realized that there is not much time left to save Kalimantan. All of us have a responsibility to act while the opportunity is still available.

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