Environmental Initiatives

Project Details

Marine Resource Management in Indonesia and Traditional Adat Law

As the world’s largest archipelagic nation and custodian of 18 percent of the world’s coral reef area, Indonesia has made huge strides in creating a national system of nearly 37 million acres of marine protected areas during the past two decades. But enforcement in these reserves is not always effective, and illegal fishing continues. To address this problem in the Raja Ampat Archipelago in the West Papua province of Indonesia, teams of citizens actively patrol the area, working to decrease illegal fishing. Nonetheless, the legal basis for enforcement by communities is unclear under adat law, the set of cultural customs and practices dating to the 15th century and followed by many in the region.

In her Pew Fellows project, Meity Mongdong will work to gain a comprehensive understanding of the largely unwritten laws governing marine resource use in West Papua. She will research and develop a policy brief on the legal basis for adat regulation of natural resource use, especially for community-based enforcement. Mongdong also will establish a working team and road map for stakeholder engagement in the formal codification and strengthening of adat law on marine resource management. Using Raja Ampat as a case study, she will disseminate the findings of her research through trainings, media, and a national-level curriculum for managers of marine protected areas.

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