UNESCO calls on Indonesian gov’t to halt tourism projects in Komodo National Park

Padar Island in East Nusa Tenggara (NTT), is part of the Komodo National Park. Photo: Unsplash
Padar Island in East Nusa Tenggara (NTT), is part of the Komodo National Park. Photo: Unsplash

UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee has urged the Indonesian government to halt infrastructure projects for tourism at the Komodo National Park in East Nusa Tenggara (NTT), citing concerns over potential impacts on the environment. 

The latest update was recently brought up by a collective known online as @KawanBaikKomodo. They have actively campaigned for natural conservation and sustainable development in NTT, particularly with regards to the national park, which was declared a World Heritage Site in 1991. 

In a publicly available document from a session held just last month, the World Heritage Committee raised their concerns over various projects undertaken and planned around the park, further urging the Indonesian government to “halt all tourism infrastructure projects” and to submit an environmental impact assessment for review to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). 

In response to the news from UNESCO, Tourism and Creative Economy Minister Sandiaga Uno said yesterday that his office will work with the Ministry of Environment and Forestry with regards to the environmental impact assessment. 

“So whatever we will do in Labuan Bajo will be based on assessment toward the environmental impacts,” Sandiaga said. 

In a bid to boost tourism, Indonesia has several tourism projects in the works aimed at providing better infrastructure for tourists and ahead of the country hosting a number of prestigious international events, such as the G20 Summit in 2022. However, environmental organizations and activists have simultaneously raised concerns that those same projects have ignored the potential impacts on the environment and the local communities. 

Last October, a photo showing a komodo dragon facing a truck in a “Jurassic Park” construction project went viral, illustrating the struggle of nature vs human intervention in the region. 

The Komodo National Park was initially established to conserve the unique Komodo dragon and is today ostensibly dedicated to protect other species, including marine species, but it has also been marked as a huge tourist attraction by the Indonesian government.

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