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Shifting waters - Indonesia's dynamic marine protected area policy seascape

van Nimwegen, Paul (2017) Shifting waters - Indonesia's dynamic marine protected area policy seascape. Other thesis, Murdoch University.

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The coastal waters of Indonesia are among the planet’s most biologically diverse. They also provide food and income for thousands of vulnerable coastal communities. These ecosystems are increasingly being degraded from overexploitation and other threats. Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) are essential for supporting the sustainable management of the country’s marine resources and contributing to the food security of coastal communities. However, these conservation initiatives suffer from chronically low levels of effectiveness.

A robust policy framework is vital for creating effective natural resource management regimes. This study rigorously reviewed Indonesia’s MPA policy arrangements and examined whether they reflect contemporary theory and practice. It also examined how Indonesia’s MPA policies are being implemented in the field using the Eastern Indonesian case-study sites of Raja Ampat Islands MPA and Sawu Sea Marine National Park. With this information, the research identified policy needs and opportunities for improving MPA performance. A variety of methods were employed to collect data, including in-depth literature and policy reviews, semi-structured interviews and field visits.

The research found that although Indonesia’s MPA policy arrangements capture many aspects of contemporary theory and practice, some significant issues exist. The move to ‘decentralisation’ and then ‘recentralisation’, overlapping legislative instruments and the multiplicity of management institutions have created a complex and sometimes confusing jurisdictional framework. To improve the country’s MPA performance and overcome the main policy weaknesses, the study recommended that attention be given to the five key policy areas of (i) clarification on jurisdictional and institutional overlap, (ii) institutionalisation of community-based and co-management arrangements, (iii) building legitimacy and support with local communities, (iv) tighter prescriptions for biophysical design, and (v) mainstreaming contemporary theory and practice into core policies. Many aspects of planning and management from the Raja Ampat Islands MPA can help guide the development of tighter national policy settings. The findings presented in the thesis may be used to provide a better understanding of how Indonesia’s MPA performance can be enhanced.

Item Type: Thesis (Other)
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Arts
Notes: Research Masters with Training
Supervisor(s): Warren, Carol
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