From Jakarta to Merauke

The last few days I’ve met many people from government directorates and NGOs throughout Jakarta. I’ve shared about Charles County, our government, the Watershed Protection and Restoration Program (WPRP) functions, the Chesapeake Bay Program and the restoration effort in the Bay watershed. I’ve learned about the current goals of the Directorates of Forestry and Conservation, Land and Water Conservation and Public Works and Human Settlements. 

The National Development Planning Agency under the Directorate of Forestry and Conservation of Natural Resources has major sanitation project goals under their Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) underway.  The Directorate of Land and Water Conservation, Ministry of Environment and Forestry currently has a goal to restore 200,000 hectares of forest through pure reforestation and agroforestry projects.  In 2019, they are focusing on 15 watersheds.   During discussions with the Director General of Water Resources, Minister for Public Works and Humans Settlements (PUPR), Hari Supryogi, and his staff I learned about the challenges being addressed regarding water resource maintenance and the water supply system.  The goals for the most recent five years up through 2019 are increasing dam storage capacity, irrigation services, raw water services, and water damage control (flood, sedimentation, and coastal safety structures). 

After dinner with embassy and APEKSI staff on Tuesday, February 26th,  I presented to a student group audience at @america, the US Embassy’s Cultural Center.  A 60-minute question and answer session followed the presentation with a YSEALI fellowship alumni moderating the program. The audience had many questions which led to a great discussion about watershed protection and planning, climate change and agriculture.

In-between meetings I’ve eaten a wide variety of Indonesian dishes.  The spices and flavors are very robust, and every meal has been delicious!  I’ve left Jakarta and the traffic behind now. I met Aprianto, YSEALI fellow whom Charles County hosted, in Makassar. We boarded our flight to Merauke in the wee hours of the morning starting the next leg of the exchange program. 

Today I was introduced to Apri’s supervisor and colleagues at the Wasur National Park Office in Merauke.  We discussed strategies for increasing ecotourism to Wasur National Park, which will be facilitated by their new website.  The new website will feature species location mapping and trail maps.  I am looking forward to spending the next week in Merauke with Apri as we meet with government and NGO staff and visit the park and surrounding area. 

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