The Natural Resources Conservation Agency (BBKSDA) of East Nusa Tenggara (NTT) Province discussed the theme 'Harmonization of Nature and Civilization of the Kateri Wildlife Reserve' with community groups, village officials, and the Regional Leaders’ Coordination Forum (Forkompimda), Central Malaka District to address tenurial issues (the issue of claims for management rights over a land/forest) Kateri Wildlife Reserve (SM), Central Malaka District, Malaka Regency.
The Head of NTT BBKSDA, Ir. Timbul Batubara, M.Sc stated this through the NTT BBKSDA Public Relations’ Press Release (No.: S. 1139 /K.5/TU/HMS/9/2020) that the media team received on Friday (11/09/2020) in Kupang.
"This activity is carried out to formulate a detailed tenure settlement action plan at Kateri Wildlife Reserve. The results of the meeting were quite positive and received good responses from many parties. Representatives of the former East Timorese refugee community welcomed the discussion. They expressed their wish to be given access to land use in the Kateri Wildlife Reserve while restoring the ecosystem, as well as making further efforts to develop special interest tourism in the area," he explained.
The meeting was held in the NTT BBKSDA main hall on Wednesday (09/09/2020) with the tenurial management team from the Conservation Area Directorate of the Directorate General KSDAE, the Ministry of Environment and Forestry (KLHK), and supporting teams from USAID-BIJAK and Kemitraan. "This series of discussions lasted throughout the day to formulate a preliminary design of action steps for handling the Kateri Wildlife Reserve, which will then be used as material for discussions at the field level with the community. On the following day, the joint team left for Atambua and then headed to Betun, Malaka Regency,” he explained.
On arrival at Betun, the team headed for the Malaka Regent's Office and was greeted by Assistant II for the Economy and Development, Silvester Letto, and Head of the Department of Transportation and Environment of Malaka Regency, Ferdinandus Un Muti. The Malaka Regency Government welcomes the efforts and hopes that they can restore Kateri Wildlife Reserve to its original functions, particularly its hydrological function to meet the demand of the Malaka Regency’s population for clean water.
"This meeting was followed by a field visit to see first-hand the current condition at Kateri Wildlife Reserve, observe the condition of the communities who utilized the area, and talk directly with them," he said.
Timbul Batubara revealed that the field visit ended with a formal meeting with representatives of community groups; both the locals and new population (integration fighters who fled), village officials, and Forkopimda of the Central Malaka District. "Through this activity, it is hoped that joint solutions will be obtained to create harmony between nature preservation and the availability of the economic needs of the community," he said to the participants of the meeting.
According to Timbul Batubara, the interaction between the community with conservation areas should be positive while still utilizing natural products to fulfill their daily needs. He emphasized that harmony needs to be created between nature and human civilization in Kateri Wildlife Reserve by embracing local wisdom with the surrounding nature as part of the challenge to a harmonious life.
To the community representatives, the Head of the NTT BBKSDA hopes that the shared concern becomes a joint action, embraced in the 3 pillars concept (namely customs/culture, religion, and government). "For that, we need a collective agreement, and to ground our cooperation, to maintain the important value of the Kateri Wildlife Reserve conservation to support life, natural spring water, and non-timber forest products in the form of forest honey and medicinal plants, without forgetting to improve community welfare," he said.
Community representatives who attended the meeting welcomed positively the delivery of Timbul Batubara. They also conveyed wishes for the fulfillment of their needs.
As a result, according to Timbul Batubara, an understanding was built to jointly restore the ecosystem, manage a portion of the conservation area to meet cultivation needs with multi-purpose tree species (MPTS), develop natural tourism, and various other productive economic activities. The conservation partnership that is carried out will be jointly escorted by a task force involving elements of the government, religious leaders, community leaders, and local customary institutions. "This understanding that we have built is expected to be followed up immediately," he said.
Ending his message, to the people around the Kateri Wildlife Reserve, Timbul Batubara conveyed his greetings and hoped that after the meeting, there would be better communication between the NTT BBKSDA and the community. "And hope this meeting is a momentum for positive change for the welfare of the community and the preservation of the Kateri Wildlife Reserve area," he said.
The meeting was closed by the Head of Central Malaka Sub-district, Eduardus Bere Atok with a message and hope that the community would no longer encroach the intact forest to expand their farmland in the Kateri Wildlife Reserve area. (l4 / team)
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