The Unit for the Acceleration of Development in Papua and West Papua (UP4B) began its work on Wednesday by disseminating its mission.
UP4B chairman Bambang Darmono, accompanied by his deputy Eduard Fonataba, said the main tasks for his unit were to support the coordination, synchronization, planning, facility provision and the control of development implementation and acceleration in Papua and West Papua.
Bambang said the UP4B would only operate for three years and its main duty would be to build a basis for sustainable development, in line with the aspirations of local communities, leading toward social integration.
The UP4B was established by the government in late 2011 after the acknowledgment that special
autonomy legislation, which was applied to Papua in 2001 in the hopes of providing a “win-win” solution to local demands for the separation of Papua from the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesian (NKRI), had not secured the benefits expected.
The UP4B has the authority to carry out coordination with ministries, institutions, non-governmental institutions and regional heads in implementing action plans, monitoring and offering suggestions for improved and speedier development.
He said both Papua and West Papua provincial administrations would be asked to appoint one member of staff to coordinate with the UP4B in Jayapura. Every month, coordination meetings will be held to evaluate progress.
Bambang added that his unit would offer opportunities to indigenous Papuans to hold strategic positions. “At present, I don’t know of any Papuans employed in senior positions at hotels or banks. Why don’t we give them a chance so that whenever we enter a hotel or office, there will be Papuans to greet us,” he said.
One of the projects to be closely monitored will be the acceleration of infrastructure development in Papua’s mountainous areas where 1.5 million indigenous people live.
Another project will be the acceleration of the construction of a container port in Agats, Asmat regency, to facilitate the transportation of various goods by river to Dekai, the capital of Yahukimo regency in the Highlands.
There will also be accelerated inter-regency road construction across mountainous areas to reduce the high dependence on air transportation.
Other things to be implemented include constructive dialogues relating to sociopolitical problems
in Papua, especially regarding differences of opinion on Papua’s political status.