Varirata National Park Rangers receive new lodge
UNDP oversaw construction of a new ranger lodge at Varirata National Park, with keys handed over to Conservation & Environment Protection Authority (CEPA). Photo: Kerrie Hall/ UNDP
Papua New Guinea’s protected areas were given a boost this month with the handover of a new Rangers’ Lodge at the Varirata National Park.
Supported by the Global Environment Facility, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) oversaw the construction of the new community rangers’ lodge at Varirata National Park with the keys to the lodge handed over to the Government’s Conservation and Environment Protection Authority (CEPA) at a ceremony on 18 December 2020.
In support of the Government’s efforts to promote Varirata National Park as a major destination for tourism, bushwalking and birdwatching, UNDP’s ongoing support to the national park’s improvement includes a new park entry office and the training of Park Rangers. The new lodge will allow the Rangers to spend more time in the Park providing services and overseeing maintenance.
Rangers critical in protection and conservation of natural and cultural heritage in national parks. Photo: Kerrie Hall/ UNDP
“We recognise the Rangers as critical in the protection and conservation of the natural and cultural heritage within the Park,” said UNDP’s Deputy Resident Representative to Papua New Guinea, Mr Edward Vrkic.
“This work is part of an initiative to upgrade the facilities in the Park to further support more sustainable operations for the country’s first and flagship National Park,” he added.
CEPA has and continues to work in close partnership with UNDP and the Global Environment Facility. This assistance supports CEPA’s systems and capacity for the effective management of Protected Areas, conservation and more sustainable natural resource management.
The event was also attended by the Varirata National Park Management Committee, as well as the Kae Association landowner group.
'Pharsa' the eagle released at Varirata National Park
Jorge Lozada (r) hands over young, rescued Pharsa the eagle to a Varirata National Park Ranger. Photo: Clive Hawigen/ UNDP
“An eagle belongs in the wild not in the city”
Jorge Lozada, from Philippines, is a resident of Port Moresby who recently rescued a suffering and helpless Papuan Eagle - also known as a New Guinea Harpy Eagle.
As he recalls, it was a dull and rainy day when he came across a street vendor on Reke Street in Boroko, selling it for K150 - he negotiated for K100. He knew straight away that the flightless eaglet was in its fledging stage, it looked vulnerable and uncomfortable, it needed to be rescued.
“The man was selling it and I had to save it, it was so tiny and not many feathers, it looked out of place there,” said Jorge.
Jorge named it 'Pharsa', after a character in a popular mobile game in the Philippines. Pharsa is a warrior, strong and resilient.
He took care of Pharsa for almost a month before deciding it would be best to handover the eaglet to the Rangers of Varirata National Park. Trusting their conservation methods, he felt this would be the perfect place for the young eagle to grow.
Currently Pharsa is still unable to fly due to an injured wing. Jorge is hoping that in the future it will take flight and become a major attraction, along with the other bird species that populate the national park.
Pharsa - believed to be a Papua Eagle or a New Guinea Harpy Eagle (Harpyopsis novaeguineae) - is an endemic to the island of New Guinea. They are a declining species, threatened by habitat destruction from logging and overhunting for its feathers.
Currently classified as ‘vulnerable’ by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the species grows up to a length of 90cm, has a wingspan of about 200cm, and can weigh up to 2.5kg. The New Guinea Harpy Eagle are mountain birds that nest in high forest trees.
Bougainville Socio-Economic Baseline Survey underway
BSEBS is part of the Bougainville Economic and Investment Summit scheduled for April 2021.
The Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG) is leading a Socio-Economic Baseline Survey for social and economic planning of Bougainville - and to inform the 2021 Bougainville Economic and Investment Summit.
Together with officers from the National Department of Commerce and Industry, the National Coordination Office of Bougainville Affairs (NCOBA), and the ABG Department of Economic Development, the Bougainville Socio-Economic Baseline Survey (BSEBS) was supported with technical and funding assistance from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
Ms. Julie Bukikun, UNDP Assistant Resident Representative for Papua New Guinea, said the BSEBS will inform planning for the Bougainville Economic and Investment Summit scheduled for April 2021.
"UNDP is proud to support this initiative. The findings will be relevant for development planning for Bougainville moving forward post-referendum, " Ms. Bukikun said.
UNDP’s Country Economist, Christopher T. Hnanguie, is the technical advisor to the BSEBS. Mr Hnanguie, who facilitated initial consultations with participants from relevant ABG departments including 60 District Coordinators, attended a consultation workshop on 11 December 2020. The workshop sensitized key stakeholders to the survey, outlined their roles and advised on the details of the BSEBS questionnaire.
Bougainville’s administrative structure comprises 13 districts, 33 constituencies and 444 wards. The BSEBS covers all the 444 wards in Bougainville. After the workshop, the team will continue towards completing the baseline survey.
UNDP was requested by the Joint Post Referendum Ministerial Task Force to provide technical support for the Summit, and the BSEBS, in March 2020. This was also part of recommendations made by the Joint Technical Team during discussions held between the National Government and ABG on 26th November 2020.
West New Britain sets up provincial GBV Secretariat
Committee members of the first West New Britain Provincial GBV Secretariat.
Work on ending gender-based violence (GBV) in West New Britain Province achieved a milestone with the establishment of the Province’s first ever GBV Secretariat endorsed by the Provincial Executive Council (PEC).
This milestone is a direct result of the first National Summit on Ending GBV in the country, held in Port Moresby, 8th- 10th November 2020. The Summit was attended by more than 700 participants from across Papua New Guinea and hosted by the National Capital District, UNDP and its sister UN agencies working on the European Union funded Spotlight Initiative.
Using the Summit as a catalyst, UNDP held the first provincial coordination workshop on 11-12 November, which enabled West New Britain along with other provinces to discuss how they can progress work on GBV prevention and response in their provinces.
Executive Manager for Community Development in the West New Britain Provincial Administration, and the Secretariat’s Ex-officio member Mr Philbert Vitata, said the province is committed to addressing gender-based and family and sexual violence.
“There are different stakeholders and partners in the province that have committed themselves to this work. I call on all human rights actors who have been addressing GBV issues silently to know that they are no longer alone. They now have the support of the Secretariat,” said Mr Vitata.
The GBV Secretariat has taken the role to work closely with partners to assist in establishing Case Management Systems and Referral Pathways so each stakeholder will be able to understand their roles and responsibilities involved in addressing GBV through the referral processes,” he said.
UNDP Assistant Resident Representative, Ms Julie Bukikun, commended WNB for establishing the GBV Secretariat.
“This is a direct result of the UNDP Spotlight Provincial Coordination Workshop. We are encouraged to see the development and progress by West New Britain. This shows their commitment to addressing GBV and other social issues. UNDP is proud to see that provinces are taking steps towards addressing GBV and family and sexual violence in their communities. Congratulations to West New Britain Province for taking the lead in initiating change,” Ms Bukikun said.