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The Government Continues to Encourage Youth Involvement in Papua’s Development

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By : Veronica Lokbere )*

The involvement of Papua’s young generation in the development of their region is a necessity that cannot be ignored. As a valuable asset for the progress of Bumi Cenderawasih, Papuan youth need to be maximally empowered by the regional government (Pemda) to embrace their important role in building a brighter future for Papua. 

Coordinating Minister for Human Development and Culture (Menko PMK) Muhadjir Effendy expressed his belief in the strategic role of Papuan youth in realizing the development vision for this region. The great potential of young Papuan children who have completed their education at well-known universities in Indonesia is a golden opportunity that should not be missed. 

The regional government must optimize the potential of Papuan youth who have very valuable intelligence. This is an important message conveyed by Muhadjir Effendy in a press release some time ago. Many of Papua’s young generations have high capabilities and they need to be empowered and actively involved in the development process.

Leaders in Papua have a central role in ensuring that the potential of young Papuans is not only limited to those who are able to pursue education at leading universities. The regional government must be able to provide equal opportunities for all levels of Papuan society to access quality education. By providing fair opportunities, the benefits of youth empowerment will be felt as a whole by the Papuan people.

Delays in Papua’s development are an issue that deserves serious attention. There are three key approaches that must be taken to overcome this problem, namely culture, awareness and social aspects. 

This approach is considered more effective compared to approaches that have previously focused on security. Culture, awareness and social aspects will be a strong foundation that supports the development and progress of Papua.

In an effort to realize the increasingly central role of Papuan youth in the development of this region, a number of stakeholders are involved in a discussion agenda which is being carried out very seriously. Assistant Deputy for Regional Development Equity at the Coordinating Ministry for Human Development and Culture, Ivan Syamsurizal, hosted the event. 

This discussion was attended by a number of resource persons who are very competent in their fields, such as the Main Secretary of the Pancasila Ideology Development Agency (BPIP) Adhianti, the head of the Papua Special Autonomy Development Acceleration (Otsus) Steering Committee Petrus Waine, representative from Yapis Jayapura University Toni Wanggai, representatives of Papuan religious figures Leonardus Tumuka, and a representative from Papuan youth circles, Yeri Kulua.

Deputy for Coordination of Mental Revolution, Cultural Advancement and Sports Achievement of the Coordinating Ministry for Human Development and Culture, Didik Suhardi, also highlighted the need to advance Papua in line with efforts to advance other regions in Indonesia. Papua has the same rights to develop and achieve the prosperity of its people as other regions. 

In a national seminar with the very inspiring theme “Towards an Advanced Papua”, Didik stated that Papua must join the struggle with Indonesia in an effort to increase progress. Papua has the same right to develop as other regions in Indonesia whose development continues to be improved. In the spirit of unity, Papua must also achieve progress that is in line with the national development vision.

The Acting Governor of South Papua, Apolo Safanpo, revealed that the central government has made very serious efforts to encourage development in Papua. Apolo expressed his appreciation for the steps that continue to be taken to accelerate development in this region, recognizing that Papua needs acceleration in various aspects of development, considering that growth is still slow in various sectors.

Currently, the Human Development Index (HDI) for Papua and West Papua for the last three years has been at the lowest level in Indonesia. In 2022, Papua’s HDI will reach 61.39 while West Papua’s HDI will be 65.89. These two figures are still far below the national HDI figure which is at 72.91. 

This shows that extra efforts need to be made to improve the quality of life and welfare of the Papuan people. The government must continue to encourage youth empowerment as one of the key solutions to overcome this backwardness.

The government’s encouragement of youth involvement in Papua’s development is a strategic step that must continue to be strengthened and expanded. In the journey towards a more advanced and prosperous Papua, Papuan youth are a driving force that cannot be ignored. 

In facing major challenges such as lagging behind in development, empowering the younger generation, improving the quality of education, and efforts to build strong culture and awareness in Papuan society are the main foundations that will lead Papua towards a brighter future. 

All stakeholders, both the central and regional governments, as well as the Papuan people themselves, must unite to realize this ideal. A Papua that is advanced, prosperous and full of hope is a dream that can not only be realized by the government, but also by all Papuan youth who have great potential and a strong determination to develop their own homeland. All hands must join hands to achieve this common goal.

)* The author is a Papuan student living in Yogyakarta

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