The Sustainability of the Merauke Integrated Food and Energy Estate (MIFEE)

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Land use choices will impact on ecosystem integrity, and, in the case of agriculture, particularly on the availability of water and extreme events associated with climate change. In 2006, the Merauke Regency in southern Papua was identified for agricultural development as a national food basket for Indonesia. The Merauke Integrated Food and Energy Estate (MIFEE) has caused much controversy and aggravated relationships between the stakeholders, including non-government organisations, investors, the local government, and the Indigenous People. In the contexts of such complexity, it is useful to understand the big picture and how it is perceived to impact upon different stakeholders. This integrated assessment of the sustainability of the MIFEE project makes a useful contribution to the MIFEE discourse. The Mauri Model Decision Making Framework is a unique sustainability assessment approach that enhances community understanding of complex problems. The conceptual basis of the framework is “mauri,” the binding force between spirit and substance that enables life and enhances wellbeing. The framework has been successfully applied to the assessment of the sustainability of the water supply in Agats Township in Southern Papua. The application of the Mauri Model in this foreign context was first evaluated in terms of the transferability of the framework and its suitability for use in a different international context. An extrapolation of the research findings determined that it is feasible to apply the Mauri Model in the Merauke Regency also. The objective of this research is to evaluate the sustainability of MIFEE regarding possible development scenarios and the pre-MIFEE existing condition from different stakeholder perspectives. The Mauri Model results provide a useful graphical representation of the change in “mauri” (wellbeing) caused by different options over time. The analysis clearly identifies a superior option. The decision taken to proceed with a different option indicates that the option implemented may not endure over time given the inadequate consideration of the impacts upon the Malind-Anim Indigenous Peoples.