Newsletter December 2020

Christmas Message from Dirk Wagener, Resident Representative

After an unprecedented year, many of us are thinking about how to prepare for 2021 and continue responding to the events of the past year.

Despite the immense challenges of 2020, UNDP Papua New Guinea is proud of the work that has been done and we are thankful to our hardworking team and committed partners who made this possible as we head into a New Year.

COVID-19 has exacerbated pre-existing challenges, from inequality to poverty to lack of access to basic services, while extreme wildfires, drought and flood seasons have accelerated the urgency to address climate change.

With Christmas upon us, UNDP in Papua New Guinea is thankful for the support of the Government and our development partners as we work together toward necessary changes.

For a deeper look into the state of the world’s development challenges, the UNDP 2020 Human Development Report was launched this month. The report centres the need for bold steps to reduce the pressure being exerted on the planet. It introduces the notion of environmental sustainability into the measurement of human progress and development. If humanity is to thrive and survive, we need to deploy nature-based solutions, incentives, a change in our social norms, behavior and lifestyles to tackle today’s most pressing issues such as climate change, biodiversity decline, and inequalities.

In Papua New Guinea, the report showed progress on key social and economic indicators, such as in years of schooling, life expectancy and GNI. The country has made progress over the past 30 years. Despite improvements, it highlights the need to address gender and other social inequalities.

Despite its titanic impact on human development, the pandemic and planetary crisis can be an opportunity to choose a different route, one where the power humans wield is used to regenerate, not destroy, to live in harmony within planetary boundaries. For more information, read our press release.

Season Best and Happy New Year!


2020 Human Development Report: We must take pressure off the planet to survive

The 2020 Human Development Report highlights need to address gender & other social inequalities, and importance of pursuing a development path that reduces planetary pressures. Photo: IOM

December 15th marked the 30th Anniversary of the first Human Development Report and the introduction of the Human Development Index (HDI) – a simple measure of progress that assesses a population’s average longevity, education, and income.

This year’s report - The Next Frontier: Human development and the Anthropocene - centres the need to take bold steps to reduce the immense pressure being exerted on the planet. It includes a new index on human progress that takes into account countries’ carbon dioxide emissions and material footprint.

In Papua New Guinea, the report showed progress on key social and economic indicators, such as an increase in gross national income per capita, years of schooling and life expectancy. Despite these improvements, the report highlights the continued need to address gender and other social inequalities in the country and the importance of pursuing a development path that reduces planetary pressures.

To access the 2020 Human Development Report and about how Papua New Guinea fares in human development, please follow the links below.


A milestone was reached for the Papua New Guinea government. Photo: Kerrie Hall/ UNDP

Papua New Guinea Launches its updated Climate Pledge

A milestone achievement was reached for the Papua New Guinea national government, development partners and stakeholders with the launch of the country’s second Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC).

The Papua New Guinea NDC outlines key targets and climate actions that the country is taking under the Paris Agreement as part of the global fight against climate change.

Minister for Environment, Conservation and Climate Change, Hon. Wera Mori officiating at the launch of Papua New Guinea’s Enhanced Nationally Determined Contributions 2020, in Port Moresby on 21 December 2020, said "Papua New Guinea can be very proud that we’re taking proactive steps in mitigating impacts of climate change."

Papua New Guinea is one of six countries out of 196 that are signatory to the Paris Agreement to have reached this milestone.

“My Government, has shown commitment to fulfilling Papua New Guinea’s obligations under the UNFCCC through mainstreaming climate change into development priorities as per the Vision 2050, the National Development Strategic Plan 2010- 2030, and the Medium-Term Development Plan III," said Minister Mori on behalf of Prime Minister Hon. James Marape.

Papua New Guinea, as a signatory to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), ratified the Paris Agreement in New York during the 72nd United Nations General Assembly. Papua New Guinea is a member of the Small Islands Developing State (SIDS) and aligns itself with the Alliance of Small Island Developing State (AOSIS) within the UNFCCC negotiations. Papua New Guinea is also fortunate to be the current Chair of the Coalition for Rainforest Nations (CfRN).

Unveiling of Papua New Guinea NDCs: L-R) Acting United Nations Resident Coordinator, Mr. Lance Bonneau; Minister for Environment, Conservation and Climate Change, Hon. Wera Mori; British High Commissioner to Papua New Guinea, Mr. Keith Scott.

Acting United Nations Resident Coordinator, Mr Lance Bonneau, said there is no greater single-issue facing Papua New Guinea’s national development than climate change. “Taking urgent action on climate changes requires a collaborative effort by all stakeholders from affected communities, Governments, civil society organisations, the private sector and development partners,” said Mr Bonneau.

Mr Bonneau said Papua New Guinea has always been at the forefront of climate action in the Asia-Pacific.

“This is a key milestone, and we are proud to be part of this great achievement. The enhancement of the NDCs with concrete targets to reduce Greenhouse Gas emissions, within the Forestry and Energy sectors, reflects Papua New Guinea’s continued commitment to reduce emissions. To building resilient communities, Papua New Guinea has also included adaptation targets of NDCs,” Mr Bonneau said.

The NDC commitments were offered from the National Climate Compatible Development Management Policy (NCCDMP), under which Papua New Guinea aims to reduce its emissions to 50 percent by 2030 - and to be carbon neutral by 2050, while also maintaining a vibrant economy, and that the targets are conditional. The commitments for emission reductions are focused on the energy and forestry with targets of a carbon-neutral energy industries sector, a reduction by 10,000Gg of emissions from the forest sector through delivering a 25% reduction in levels of deforestation and degradation.

Minister Mori congratulated the Climate Change and Development Authority (CCDA) NDC Technical Team with support from various key stakeholders, development partners, and in particular, UNDP for its leadership and Climate Promise Initiative, FAO, USAID, GGGI, NDC Partnerships, GIZ, IRENA; UNEP, DFAT and the NDC Regional Pacific Hub, who worked tirelessly on revising NDC and providing support throughout the process.

Read: Papua New Guinea’s Enhanced Nationally Determined Contribution 2020 - See: Summary


UN Family Day: All fun & games at the Nature Park

It was all fun and games at the Port Moresby Nature Park for the annual UN Family Day year-end celebration, on 7 December.

United Nations in Papua New Guinea staff and family members took time out to participate, together as One UN, in the 16 days of activism activities - and to take stock of the UN's support towards gender equality efforts across the nation.

The United Nations Development Programme's Ms Michaelyn Wembi, gave an overview of UNDPs work in 2020 around highlighting the importance of ending gender-based violence in the country.

Ms Wembi highlighted the first national summit on ending gender-based violence held at the APEC Haus as an important event that UNDP was proud to play a leading role in.

UN Family Day, Port Moresby Nature Park. Photos: Clive Hawigen/ UNDP

The UN acknowledges the Papua New Guinea Government’s efforts in eliminating gender-based violence, through a number of key decisions and milestones this year, and will continue to support the Government in this effort in the New Year.


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.


Recover with integrity

Corruption is a complex social, political and economic issue that affects all countries. On 9 December 2020, International Anti-Corruption Day global campaign #recoverwithintegrity emphasized that inclusive COVID-19 recovery can only be achieved with integrity - that will focus on mitigating corruption and enhancing accountability in both public health sectors and the private sector - within emergency and economic responses to the COVID-19 pandemic.


#NextGen leaders ready to tackle climate change

Ellen Morgan (l) with next generation of Papua New Guineans addressing climate change.

Papua New Guinea can expect more frequent and intense storms, variable rainfalls, increased ocean acidification, saltwater encroachment into coastal freshwater aquifers, and land lost to rising sea levels.

The next generation of Papua New Guineans are the ones who will feel the impacts of climate change. Their voices need to be heard and incorporated into decisions that are made today to mitigate and address climate change.

Climate Change Activist, Miss Ellen Morgan said young people are motivated, keen and eager to address the issues of climate change in their communities.

“Being a generation that is about to take on these serious issues, we are motivated to create a better tomorrow,” she says.

Understanding how climate change affects them is only part of the solution. Young people need to have their opinions and concerns incorporated into policy dialogues and decision-making spaces.

Papua New Guinea’s revised Nationally Determined Contributions, submitted in 2020, incorporated youth concerns into its climate adaptation and mitigation commitments.

Chart a path forward in partnership with the next generation.

“This is an opportunity to chart a path forward in partnership with the next generation of Papua New Guineans. I feel that we, as young people, will need to have a bigger voice - and a bigger impact - on some of the decisions being made that will affect us.”

Contact us: info.png@undp.org