Assessing the Development Impact of the Sota Border Post Connecting Indonesia and Papua New Guinea


  • Nicholas Metherall
  • Diego Romario De Fretes Cenderawasih University
  • Feby Mandibondibo
  • Talei Caucau


Although some studies have mentioned land use and land cover across the borderlands of New Guinea, there have not yet been a series of systematic studies that link the topic with the construction of the Sota border post (Pos Lintas Batas Negara–“PLBN Sotaâ€). With reference to realism, liberalism and asymmetrical power relations, this study examines the development impacts of the Sota border post. A set of interdisciplinary mixed-methods approaches are used including geospatial and earth observation analysis, collation of bureau of statistics data as well as academic and grey literature review. Results provide a baseline land cover assessment for the study area surrounding the Sota border post. There have also been a range of socio-economic and biophysical impacts of the infrastructural and immigration capacities along the Southern borderlands of New Guinea. In terms of international relations, the presence of the Sota border post is expected to foster cooperation between Indonesia and PNG, decrease conflict, and promote stability in the border area. As a result, both realism and liberalism can be used as theoretical frameworks to understand the trajectory of developments along the borderlands. However, due to the asymmetries of power, the rhetoric of liberalism may be rendered less convincing.


Asymmetries of Power; Indonesia and PNG; International Relations; Land Cover and Land Use Change; Sota Border Post



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Author Biographies

Nicholas Metherall

Nicholas Metherall is currently a PhD student at the University of the South Pacific and the Australian National University. He completed his Masters of Environmental Science at The Australian National University, majoring in hydrology, hydrogeology, climate change and environmental impact assessment, while working in the Climate Change Division of the Australian Department of the Environment and Energy.

Diego Romario De Fretes, Cenderawasih University

Diego Romario De Fretes is a lecturer in Politics and Government, Faculty of Social and Political Science at Cenderawasih University in Papua. He earned his Master’s degree from the Department of Politics and Government (DPP), Faculty of Social and Political Science, Universitas Gadjah Mada in 2015. Diego’s research interests focus on politics and government, border studies, local elections, and special autonomy in Papua  Province.

Feby Mandibondibo

Feby Mandibondibo completed her undergraduate study in the Department of International Relations, Faculty of Social and Political Science, Cenderawasih University, Papua, in 2017. Feby currently works for the Black Pearl Papua Foundation as an English Tutor (Teaching for humanity) based in Biak City, collaborating with Black Pearl Network Perth in Australia.

Talei Caucau

Talei Caucau is currently the lead research consultant for an Australian National University project related to Climate Change and Women in Fisheries. She is the Fiji Country Coordinator for Melanesian Women Today, Social Media consultant at Reverse the Trend Pacific and a Support Officer at UNDP. Talei is a graduate of a Bachelor of Commerce with a double major in Political Science and International Business & Marketing at the University of the South Pacific. Talei is also a Law student at the University of Southern Queensland and a Master's degree student.


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