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Indigenous Council: For Whom the Waigeo Ring Road?

September 17, 2015

Sorong, Ekuatorial – Indigenous Council of Mayans, Raja Ampat questioned the central government’s policies since opening the Waigeo Ring Road on Waigeo Island, Raja Ampat, West Papua. That 757 kilometers road are considered at risk from illegal logging and conservation of Papua’s endemic birds, red Cendrawasih (bird of paradise) and Wilson Cenderawasih.

“Actually, for whom the benefit of this road? Indigenous Council does not know about anything. We never talk,” said Chairman of Indigenous Mayans, Kris Thebu.

Kris said that Waigeo Ring Road Project allocated to open the access of 26 coastal villages in East and West Waigeo but villagers difficult to use it. Therefore, the road construction is not accompanied by transportation infrastructure. Instead, he added, logging along the road increased, threatening the landscape of Waigeo and damaging the local people’s sacred site.

“The Waigeo ring road construction needs to be reviewed because it does not provide benefits, it provides an opportunity for irresponsible people to pick up the wood,” he said.

Meanwhile, this project includes the road of Waisai -Warsambin – Lopintol, Lopintol – Wawiyai, Wawiyai -Kabilol, Waisai – Sapokren – Wawiyai – Waisilip – Saleo – Selpele, Kalitoko – Waifoi – Kopadiri – Kabare, Kabilol – Go – Kopadiri, Kabare – Warmandi – Mnir – Puper – Yenbebaki – Urbinasopen – Yenzner -Mumes, also Yenzner – Kalitoko. The road which have started to be constructed is Waisai – Warsambin – Lopintol and Urbinasopen – Yesner.

Based on data from Fauna&Flora International (FFI), more than 2,000 hectares of forest on the Waigeo Island damaged in the last 10 years. In fact, 80 percent of forest on that island classified as nature reserves. The number of roads splitting nature reserves in East and West Waigeo.

“Deforestation in Waigeo very threatening biodiversity in two nature reserve’s area. Especially endemic such as Couscous, Waigeo Maleo, and Cenderawasih,” said Program Coordinator of Raja Ampat FFI, Fitria Rinawati. Niken Proboretno


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