Developing public trust in policymaking for a transitional society: a Papua case study

Theofransus Litaay

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference Paper published in Proceedingspeer-review


    Papua is the most eastern province of Indonesia, its uniqueness, both ecologically and anthropologically, makes it a place with a special meaning in Indonesia. The region is dominated by tropical forest and inhabited by indigenous tribes that continue to apply their indigenous knowledge to farming and other aspects of life. In 2001 a special autonomy status was granted to the province after a long period of political uncertainty. In 2003, the province was divided into two provinces: the provinces of Papua and Papua Barat (West-Papua). Both provinces of Papua are perceived as enjoying greater power to conduct policymaking. How does the engagement of policy and legal frameworks and between policy and local knowledge occur in practice?

    In the context of Papua, the topic of governance is paramount in the implementation of the special autonomy granted in 2001. Discussion on this topic will contend that the two provinces in Papua, in fact, are able to enjoy greater benefit because of their autonomy compared to other provinces in Indonesia; however, the reality on the ground somehow reflects an different picture. Another issue is the role of public services provided by the government. Public services are so central to the community that these will influence the welfare of the whole community. The challenge is how to provide good public servants with sufficient capacity for adequat service delivery. This issue is also linked to the issue of leadership in the policymaking process. Those two issues – special autonomy implementation and the quality of public services - will be discussed in this paper.

    Another problem lays in the issue of the special autonomy itself. Recent developments regarding the condition of Indonesian border areas show that despite the granting of special autonomy to the province, there is lack of trust by the central government toward Papua which is suspected of utilizing this matter for the hidden agenda of separation of the province from Indonesia. This situation has created tensions between the two sides, resulting in difficulties to implement that special status. This paper will also discuss the role of local actors and external actors (for instance the World Bank) in the development process taking place in Papua.

    The methodology for this research utilizes a mixed-method approach in order to analyze how these policy and legal frameworks actually engage with local knowledge. Data was obtained from thirty- three interviews of resource-persons in Papua and Jakarta. Data also was obtained from observations of quarantine posts and from documents. The findings indicate a need for improving local government capacity in dealing with international policy frameworks and empowering local community to participate in the development of Papua Province.

    Data includes interviews, observations, and documents, analyzed through a variety of techniques. Data collection was conducted in three kabupaten (sub-province administrative areas) of Papua province, from October 2008 until February 2009.

    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationSocial justice and rule of law - addressing the growth of a pluralist Indonesian democracy
    EditorsThomas J Conners, Frank Dhont, Mason C Hoadley, Adam D Tyson
    Place of PublicationSemarang, Central Jarva Indonesia
    PublisherDiponegoro University and Yale University Indonesia
    Number of pages11
    Publication statusPublished - 2011
    EventYale Indonesia Forum - Semarang, Indonesia
    Duration: 14 Jul 201015 Jul 2010


    ConferenceYale Indonesia Forum


    Dive into the research topics of 'Developing public trust in policymaking for a transitional society: a Papua case study'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this