Can Infrastructure-Based Development Bring Peace to West Papua? (Book Chapter)

Penulis : Cahyo Pamungkas

Tahun : 2021

ISBN : 978-3-030-62315-9

Penerbit : Springer International Publishing

Abstrak :

This chapter discusses the question “To what extent did infrastructure-based development projects in West Papua, especially in road construction, provide positive impacts on peace-building between 2014 and 2018?” Since 2014, the Indonesian government under President Joko Widodo has given more attention than previous governments to coping with separatism in West Papua. The separatist movements have already been active since 1965 and have now transformed from armed struggle into political campaigns. One of the national government efforts is promoting many road construction projects to increase connectivity between districts in West Papua. Of the 3259 km of road construction planned in 2014, the government had constructed almost half (48%) by 2018. My argument is that increasing infrastructure-based development has a minor impact on improving livelihoods among the indigenous West Papuans, so this policy is not entirely successful in supporting peacebuilding or coping with separatism. Previous studies mentioned that the Indonesian government has implemented a hybrid peace-building approach but failed to prevent political violence in West Papua. My research suggests that either a liberal or an illiberal peacebuilding approach is necessary but not sufficient to end the political violence. The national government should conduct a mediated political settlement via dialogue with the separatist group. The infrastructure-based development is not enough to promote peacebuilding without a dialogue between Jakarta and West Papua.