Governor Barnabas Suebu PDF Afdrukken

Born in the Indonesian province of Papua (formerly known as Irian Jaya) in the Jayapura district, Barnabas Suebu grew up in a forest and river environment. "I am a village child, born on a lake," he says, and he remains sensitive to his place in the ecosystem to this day. He is committed to a grassroots vision of development which empowers all Papuans.

Goeverneur Barnabas Suebu

Obtaining his degree at Jayapura’s Cendrawasih University Faculty of Law, Suebu went on to become Indonesian Ambassador accredited to Mexico, Honduras and Panama. From 1988 to 1993, Suebu was appointed Governor of Papua by the Indonesian government, prior to the institution of direct elections in the province. He made a point of travelling throughout the region, visiting even the most isolated villages. In Wamena, he had a brush with death when he was almost stabbed by a villager who was frustrated by a land dispute. After discussing the problem with his attacker, Suebu asked that he be released. He helped the villager by donating some money, and since then the two men have remained friends.

Suebu took office as democratically-elected governor in July 2006, with a five-year term ahead of him. His province covers the western half of New Guinea Island, including 77 million acres (31 million hectares) of biodiverse rainforest which is home to half of all Indonesia’s native species. While Papua’s forested areas are still relatively vast, large areas have been severely depleted by logging. Historically, Papua has struggled with separatist conflicts, poverty, and the nation’s highest rates of HIV infection. The resource-rich province has had a complicated relationship with logging and mining companies: business interests profited while 80% of the province’s two million people suffered through socioeconomic disadvantage.

To preserve Papua’s remaining forests, Governor ‘Bas’ as he’s popularly known, has leveraged his province’s ‘Special Autonomy’ status and is in the process of regulating forestry management.
He has also declared a moratorium on logging while the possibilities of Carbon Conservation’s Avoided Deforestation scheme are negotiated.

Governor ‘Bas’ has developed a new ‘forest police’ scheme in which 1,500 officers will be trained in forest protection. 90% of the officers are native Papuans. A budget of Rp 30 billion (about USD $3.3 million) has been allocated towards law enforcement in the forest, with the goal of ending illegal logging, illegal plantations, breaches of permits and similar transgressions.

Due to his forward-thinking attitude to the environment, Governor ‘Bas’ was featured in Time Magazine’s 2007 special edition on ‘Heroes of the Environment’, alongside environmental defenders like David Attenborough, Al Gore, HRH Prince Charles, and David Suzuki. In the article, Governor ‘Bas observes that Papua could enjoy greater benefits from trading the forests’ carbon credits than it can by cutting the forests down. "Why would we cut down trees if people are going to pay us to protect them?" he asks. "We can prevent deforestation and also use the money to reforest the areas in critical condition."