Home ยป Papua Special Autonomy: Impact Evaluation and the Future of Local Governance

Papua Special Autonomy: Impact Evaluation and the Future of Local Governance

by Senaman
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Papua’s Special Autonomy, formalized through Law 21/2001, is a strategic move by the Indonesian government to respond to Papuan demands for identity recognition and improved welfare. As one of the provinces with abundant natural resources, Papua and West Papua have been at the center of national and international attention regarding political, social, and economic issues. Two decades after the introduction of Special Autonomy, it is important to evaluate its impact and project the future of local governance in Papua.

Evaluation of the Impact of Special Autonomy

  1. Increased Budget and Infrastructure Development

One of the positive impacts of Special Autonomy has been a significant increase in budget allocations. Special Autonomy funds have been used for infrastructure development, such as roads, bridges, schools, and health facilities. These infrastructure improvements aim to improve connectivity and accessibility, which in turn is expected to improve the local economy and community welfare.

  1. Education and Health

Increased funding allocations are also directed to the education and health sectors. Various scholarship programs for Papuan students have been introduced, providing opportunities for young Papuans to pursue higher education. In the health sector, the establishment of new health facilities and improved health services are expected to reduce maternal and infant mortality rates and increase life expectancy.

  1. Empowerment of Indigenous Peoples

Special Autonomy also pays special attention to the empowerment of indigenous peoples. Recognition of customary rights and efforts to preserve Papuan culture are integral parts of this policy. Several regions have implemented programs that promote local wisdom and involve indigenous communities in decision-making processes.

Despite the increased allocation of funds, the biggest challenge faced is the problem of corruption and misappropriation of funds. Several cases show that Special Autonomy funds do not fully reach the communities in need. Corruption at the local level has hampered the effectiveness of development programs designed to improve the welfare of Papuans.

The issue of conflict and security remains a serious challenge in Papua. Demands for separatism and dissatisfaction with the central government continue to cause tension. Dialogue efforts and peaceful approaches need to be enhanced to achieve sustainable solutions.

Despite improvements in infrastructure development, inequality between regions in Papua is still very real. Some remote areas still face difficulties in accessing basic services such as education, health, and transportation.

To achieve the long-term goals of Special Autonomy, several strategic steps need to be taken:

The government needs to strengthen transparency and accountability mechanisms in the management of Special Autonomy funds. Community involvement in monitoring the use of funds can be an important step to ensure that funds are used as intended.

A more humanist and dialogic approach is needed to resolve the conflict in Papua. The central and local governments need to work with community leaders, adat leaders, and civil society organizations to build trust and achieve peaceful solutions.

Long-term investment in human resource development should be a priority. Improving the quality of education and skills training for Papuans will strengthen local capacity and prepare them to actively participate in regional development.

Papua’s Special Autonomy is a step forward, but much work remains to be done to ensure that this policy truly benefits all Papuans. Ongoing evaluation, transparency in fund management, and an inclusive and dialogic approach are key to a better future for Papua and West Papua.

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