Jakarta. Indonesian environmental activists on Monday (05/02) launched a geographic information system that uses web technology — known as Web GIS — to democratize access to crucial information on extractive industries in Papua, the country's easternmost province and the site of many major mines, including the world's biggest gold mine Grasberg operated by Freeport Indonesia.
The Web GIS can be accessed at www.matapapua.org.
Franky Samperante, executive director of rights group Yayasan Pusaka, said the idea of making the Web GIS came from long-held concerns about how difficult it is to obtain information and data related to extractive concession industries in Papua.
The Indonesian government has a commitment to support public disclosure — in particular on land management — but the reality has not matched up to its promise, Franky said.
"We want to provide a way to access various information and data related to permits and maps of extractive activities in Papua," Franky said in Jakarta.
Franky said the Web GIS compares facts on the ground with information and data obtained from the government.
Charles Tawaru, an environmental activist from Papua Forest Watch, said Web GIS will help the public get accurate information on current land status in Papua.
"Nearly 65 percent of Papua is a site for huge investment... from mines to palm oil plantations. But our indigenous people hardly enjoy the same privileges as these companies' shareholders or the government," Charles said.
He said the Web GIS was not developed to point out the "mistakes" of a particular party, but to provide information on what really happens in Papua to the public.