New US$1.5 million Japan/ILO project to tackle poverty, conflict, and discrimination among indigenous people in Papua

The ILO announces a three-year project to tackle poverty, discrimination and promote human security among indigenous peoples in the Indonesian province of Papua.

Press release | 05 September 2005

A three-year project to tackle poverty, discrimination and promote human security among indigenous peoples in the IndonesianprovinceofPapuahas been announced by the ILO.

The US$1,537,965 project is being funded by the Japanese Government (through the UN Trust Fund for Human Security) with the aim of reducing tensions and relieving poverty. It will focus primarily on the indigenous and tribal peoples of Papua. Vulnerable migrant communities will also be targeted.

Papua is the poorest province inIndonesia, with 41 per cent of the population living below the national poverty line compared to 18 per cent in the country as a whole 1. Poverty is particularly prevalent among the indigenous population. There are about 250 different tribal groups (and languages) among the province’s population of 2.3 million people.

The low socio-economic position of indigenous Papuans, compared to those who have migrated from other parts ofIndonesiain recent years, is also associated with tension and conflict. Working with local and national authorities, the project is designed to tackle these issues, encourage dialogue, and help indigenous communities reduce poverty, strengthen rural communities, boost economic self-reliance and find alternative ways of generating income.

The initiative, “Promoting Human Security and Reducing Poverty among Indigenous Peoples in Papua , Indonesia ", places a particular focus on gender equality and eliminating discrimination against women and girls in education and employment.  

Specific targets include the training of around 3,000 indigenous people in basic skills and literacy. Other aims include the creation of around 300 small, micro and co-operative enterprises to strengthen self-reliance; improving healthcare in around 100 villages; training around 2,000 local government officials and community representatives in conflict prevention and mitigation measures and collective self-reliance, and the piloting of such initiatives in four districts.

The project was prepared by the ILO-INDISCO Programme (a technical cooperation programme focusing on indigenous and tribal peoples) in close consultation with the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) as well as the indigenous communities themselves and local and national government agencies. It is designed to encourage dialogue between the different groups and community participation, so that the indigenous peoples themselves take ownership of the project, ensuring it makes a lasting impression on poverty and human security.

For more information please contact

Huseyin Polat
ILO Cooperatives section
+41 22 799 8742

 Gita Lingga
Media relations officer – ILO Jakarta


1 Millennium Development Goals Report 2004