Working with nature against poverty
BUDI P. RESOSUDARMO,and FRANK JOTZO (eds.)
Working with nature against poverty – development, resources and the environment in eastern Indonesia
Singapore: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, 2009
384 pp. ISBN: 978-981-230-959-4, S$39.90/US$29.90
Reviewed by Anna-Katharina Hornidge
University of Bonn
Working with nature against poverty takes the reader through the socio-political and economic landscape of Eastern Indonesia by paying special attention to issues of natural resource governance and the integration of socio-economic and bio-physical aspects of development. As such, the compilation of chapters is inter- and transdisciplinary in character seemingly guided by the applicability and practical usefulness of the presented research in the sector of development cooperation. This is further reflected by the list of contributors. Besides a wide range of researchers with diverse disciplinary backgrounds from mainly Australia, Indonesia, New Zealand and Malaysia, also representatives of the Indonesian government sector (i.e. Ministry of Forestry, Ministry of Health, National Agency for Development Planning (BAPPENAS) and Statistical Agency (BPS) Indonesia) and the international development cooperation community (i.e. Gesellschaft für technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ), The Nature Conservancy, Indonesia and Defenders of Wildlife, USA) have contributed. The book consequently addresses pressing issues of development and poverty alleviation in Eastern Indonesia through the lens of the overall socio-economic as well as ecological system; a perspective gaining increasing importance due to ongoing environmental and climatic changes affecting the region. As such, the book forms compulsory reading for all those working on development related issues in Eastern Indonesia.
The 14 chapters of the book have been divided into three parts with Part I focusing on economic, social and political realities and their effects on development and poverty alleviation in the provinces of East Nusa Tenggara, Maluku and Papua. Part II assesses aspects of natural resource use and environmental, biodiversity conservation between livelihood provision and exploitation. Here also the theme of climatic and environmental changes affecting Eastern Indonesia as well as possible strategies for mitigating and adapting are discussed. Part III reviews Eastern Indonesia’s path out of conflict, discusses an ongoing development programme for poverty alleviation (The Poverty Alleviation and Support for Local Governance Program (PROMIS)) and ends with a chapter on the Healthy Indonesia 2010 Initiative by the Ministry of Health, Indonesia and its implementation efforts in Papua.
Empirically, most chapters are based on substantial, but nearly exceptionally secondary quantitative data (mainly from the Indonesian Statistical Agency (BPS)). Primary and qualitative ethnographic data form the exception. Similarly, the book also on the conceptual side remains in the realm of policy and development oriented, practically useable and applied research. Locally-embedded or locality-specific conceptual thinking is little discussed. Instead, the book offers rich material on micro-level negotiation processes surrounding natural resource governance, while at the same time upholding the focus on applicable research outcomes in the shape of lessons learnt, policy and process recommendations for measures of poverty alleviation. As such it is located in and positively contributes to the realm of locality specific research for measures of development cooperation in Eastern Indonesia. For further research, and lying outside the scope of the here reviewed volume, it might be interesting to take some of the micro-level case study data, arranged in a comparative framework and embed them into stronger conceptual thinking for locality and culturally specific conceptual development on the symbolic and cultural aspects of human-nature relationships in Eastern Indonesia.
Aseasuk News no. 48
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- The Shan of Burma: memoirs of a Shan exile
- Divided over Thaksin. Thailand’s coup and problematic transition
- Working with nature against poverty
- The Iban diaries of Monica Freeman 1949-1951
- The formative years of Malaysian politics: the MCA and the Alliance, 1950-1954
- The state, development, and identity in multi-ethnic societies: ethnicity, equity and the nation ; Race and multiculturalism in Malaysia and Singapore