Meity Mongdong


Meity Mongdong is the capacity-building manager of Bird’s Head Seascape, including the Raja Ampat islands, the epicenter of marine biodiversity in northwest Papua Barat province, Indonesia. Her work is focused on local community engagement, conflict resolution among marine stakeholder groups, marine conservation policy development, aquatic resource monitoring, and capacity development of local marine protected area (MPA) staff. As the world’s largest archipelagic nation and custodian of 18 percent of the world’s coral reef area, Indonesia has made huge strides in creating a national system of nearly 37 million acres of MPAs during the past two decades. But enforcement in these reserves is not always effective, and illegal fishing continues. To address this problem in the Raja Ampat Archipelago in the West Papua province, teams of citizens actively patrol the area, working to decrease illegal fishing. Nonetheless, the legal basis for enforcement by communities is unclear under adat law, a set of cultural customs and practices dating to the 15th century and followed by many in the region. In her Pew fellowship project, Mongdong is working to gain a comprehensive understanding of the largely unwritten laws governing marine resource use in West Papua. She is researching and developing a policy brief on the legal basis for adat regulation of natural resource use, especially for community-based enforcement. Using Raja Ampat as a case study, she has been disseminating the findings of her research through trainings, media, and a national-level curriculum for MPA managers. Mongdong was born in a village in the Bunaken National Park area and grew up in a community that was very dependent on marine resources. This is what first inspired her to continue working in marine management: to ensure that the quality of natural resources will be maintained in the future. To learn more about Mongdong, visit her bio online:

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