The Controversy of Komodo National Park Infrastructure’s Development

MediaJustitia.com: Some time ago, The United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) asked for all the projects inside and around Komodo National Park, East Nusa Tenggara to be suspended temporarily. This request is based on the consideration that infrastructure’s development would impact the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV).

Based on a written statement from the Ministry of Public Works and Public Housing on October 25, 2020, the Rinca Island area or what is currently known as Komodo National Park will be restructured.

In the letter numbered WHC/21/44.COM/7B, Indonesia was asked to revise the analysis on environmental impacts related to infrastructure projects on Rinca Island before continuing the project. The letter was produced in the UNESCO Convention on 16 – 13 July 2021. This request did not just appear out of nowhere, ever since 2020 UNESCO has asked for clarification regarding the land development plan for Komodo National Park.

Afterwards, on October 30, 2020, UNESCO asked the Government to not proceed with any tourism infrastructure projects that have the potential to affect the OUV, before being reviewed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Indonesia has also been asked to submit a report on the conservation condition of Komodo National Park since February 1, 2021 and revise the environmental impact analysis. However, revisions to the environmental impact analysis have not been submitted by the Indonesian government until now.

In response to this, the Executive Director of the Forum for the Environment (WALHI) of East Nusa Tenggara asked the government to follow UNESCO’s advice. WALHI warmly welcomes the request to stop the infrastructure project and appreciates UNESCO’s actions to protect the Komodo National Park area.

Viktor Bungtilu Laiskodat, Governor of East Nusa Tenggara, also thanked UNESCO for paying attention to the nation’s asset. Viktor also hopes that UNESCO understands that, the project is being done to protect the Komodo Dragon’s habitat and the damaged marine biota. Parties who do not agree with the decision that has been approved by President Joko Widodo, are invited to conduct further research and to discussthis matter together.

The results of the development of Komodo National Park are also expected to boost the local community’s economy through growing tourism and bringing in visitors, both locals and foreigners.