Indonesia is a vast and diverse country. Its 270 million people are spread across 17,000 islands and three time zones. It is among the world’s most ethnically diverse countries, with 1,300 ethnic groups who speak hundreds of languages and regional dialects. It is also one of the most biodiverse countries in the world, supporting an extraordinary number of species that are found nowhere else on the planet. Not only does Indonesia have some of the richest coral reefs in the world and lie at the center of the Coral Triangle – the epicenter of global marine biodiversity – but it ranks second in the world for terrestrial biodiversity and third for tropical rainforest extent.
The country has also experienced high economic growth over the last two decades and is poised to become the world's seventh largest economy by 2030. However, to meet this growth a strong set of policies to sustain Indonesia's tropical forest and marine resources must be put in place. Existing environmental policies and commitments still need to be equipped with effective enforcement governance and mechanisms. Accordingly, WCS has been working for over 25 years forming well-coordinated and multi-stakeholder partnerships to support the Government addressing these challenges.
Wildlife Conservation Society is a New York-based conservation organization that aims to conserve the world's largest wild places in 14 priority regions, home to more than 50% of the world's biodiversity. The WCS Indonesia Program is one of the largest WCS programs globally with more than 300 full-time staff.
WCS has worked in Indonesia since initial field surveys were conducted in the 1960s and opened a formal country program in 1997 under a Memorandum of Understanding with the Ministry of Environment and Forestry (MoEF). Under this agreement, WCS conducts applied conservation research and supports conservation projects across Indonesia in collaboration with a variety of governmental and non-governmental partners.
WCS Indonesia Program is structured under five core thematic programs—Forests, Marine, Wildlife Trade and Policy, One Health, and Rights & Communities. These programs are supported by strategic unit: Science & Technology Unit and Conservation Network and Partnership unit.
The projects of each program range from developing a science-based protected area management system to dismantling illegal wildlife trade networks while incorporating many successful approaches developed on the ground: human-wildlife conflict mitigation, anti-poaching work, conducting ecological and socio-economic surveys to guide conservation efforts. Fundamental to these approaches is conserving our priority species and species groups. This multi-faceted approach can be summarized through the following metrics: