Conference: “Cultural and Natural Heritage in the Sangkulirang-Mangkalihat Karst Range of East Kalimantan (Indonesia): Policies and Conservation Efforts”

“Cultural and Natural Heritage in the Sangkulirang-Mangkalihat Karst Range of East Kalimantan (Indonesia): Policies and Conservation Efforts”

« Le patrimoine culturel et naturel dans le massif karstique de Sangkulirang-Mangkalihat. Stratégies de conservation et politiques patrimoniales »

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Conférence de Antonio Guerrreiro à l’auditorium de l’Institut Français d’Indonésie (IFI) à Jakarta, le 1er juin 2016, de 17h30 à 19h.
La conférence fait le point sur les derniers développements en rapport à la délinéation d’un périmètre autour de sept massifs karstiques à Kutai Est et Berau par le BPCB Kaltim pour le but du classement au patrimoine mondial de l’humanité (catégorie Mixed World Heritage Sites).


The paper considers current issues (environmental, socio-economic and cultural) in connection to the conservation of archaeological sites located in the Sankulirang-Mangkalihat Karstic range. The local administrations of East Kutai and Berau Regencies and that of the Province of East Kalimantan in charge of conservation have been directly involved in the management of few sites. They are preparing for the listing of the Karst area in Unesco’s World Heritage Tentative List. While the French-Indonesian Collaborative Research Programme (MAFBO) has been active in the region, only a small percentage of the sites surveyed has been studied. The Austronesian Lebbo’/Basap indigenous people who have been living for centuries (or more?) in contact to the archaeological sites and the nearby caves, have not been involved officially in conservation or trained for these activities. They have a tradition of using the caves and rock shelters for a long period of time, mostly in connection to their burial practices. However, the practice of ‘indigenous conservation’ which can be developed with benefits, remains to be implemented. Presently the local governments of the Regencies of East Kutai and Berau are increasingly concerned with the protection of the sites and their touristic potential. On the other hand, the infrastructures (roads, accommodations, museums…) are not ready yet to cater for an increase of visitors. Now the sites’ protection, mostly rock art in caves and rock shelters, should be evaluated the context of the current menaces on the karst, i.e planned cement factories to be built in the region. At the same time the risks of degradation, such as graffiti, increase because most of the sites are situated in very remote locations.