Newsletter June 2021

'We are playing with our very own future as the human species, and with it the future of our planet – Mother Earth'. Photo: Kerrie Hall/ UNDP in Papua New Guinea

#GenerationRestoration Decade on Ecosystem Restoration 2021-2030 in Papua New Guinea

Dirk Wagener - Resident Representative, UNDP Papua New Guinea

Launched globally on World Environment Day 2021, the Decade on Ecosystem Restoration 2021-2030 kicked off in Papua New Guinea at the Pacific nation's first National Environment and Climate Emergency Summit, delivered by UNDP in partnership with the Government of Papua New Guinea.

Our planet is facing a climate and biodiversity emergency. Biodiversity is declining globally at rates unprecedented in human history – and the rate of species extinctions is accelerating, with grave impacts on people around the world.

We are destabilizing the very systems upon which we rely on for survival at an unprecedented speed and scale. We are playing with our very own future as the human species, and with it the future of our planet.

The natural environment produces ecosystem services that are the very basis of human survival including clean air, water and food.

The United Nations Decade on Ecosystem Restoration represents a global mission to revive billions of hectares habitat from farmlands to forests, from the top of mountains to depths of the seas.

Ecosystem restoration means preventing, halting, and reversing damage to natural ecosystems – from exploiting nature to healing and restoring ecosystems, healing nature so we can continue to live.

Only with healthy ecosystems can we enhance people’s livelihoods, fight climate change, and stop the collapse of biodiversity that will lead to a collapse of humanity as we know it.


Elderly citizens encourage younger family members to relocate because they don’t see a long-term future, with limited access to clean water. Malai Island, Morobe Province. Photo: Ken Bensolo/ UNDP in Papua New Guinea.

'Climate Islands:' New podcast series by UNDP in PNG – Episode 1

Dr John Poulsen, a climate change and disaster risk reduction expert has worked across the world on the impacts of climate change on communities. On the islands of Morobe Province, in Papua New Guinea, the biggest issue is drinking water, among other stark challenges. Listen to Episode 1 of “Climate Islands” - a new series exploring climate change, coastal communities and the journey to find solutions.

In November 2020, on board a chartered sea explorer, a team of Climate Change specialists from the United Nations Development Programme in Papua New Guinea - with colleagues from the Climate Change Development Authority and representatives from Morobe Province - set sail on a three-month journey with the first leg off the northern coast of Papua New Guinea.

Morobe Province is the country’s most populous province – from islands to highlands. The mission was part of the Building Resilience to Climate Change (BRCC) project and aimed to conduct a Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment for each of four remote island atolls. The project is financed by the Asian Development Bank.

Dr Poulsen and his team undertook this climate change journey and here explains this first leg of a three-month long sea mission that would encompass 21 island and atoll sites in four provinces of Morobe, Manus, East New Britain and Milne Bay, and in the Autonomous Region of Bougainville - to help assess and improve the future of communities and their Pacific islands homes.

The mission confirmed that climate change is exacerbating already harsh conditions for island and atoll communities. The team visited the islands of Aromot, Mandok, Malai and Tami off the Morobe Province coastline. It looked at the future prospects for people on the two smallest and most densely populated islands Aromot and Mandok, which are present, seem particularly bleak.

"In fact, on some islands, elderly citizens encourage their younger family members to relocate because they don’t see a long-term future on the islands," explains Dr Poulsen.

In this first episode of ‘Climate Islands’, John and the team explored these fours islands of Morobe Province and found the most common challenge is clean water for drinking and sanitation.

It may surprise many how basic life is for the islanders:

On sanitation there are few, if any toilets, so often the islanders will use the sea for most sanitary purposes, including as a toilet. Births are even sometimes done in the sea.

• Access to fresh water is consistently a big challenge – there is a real lack of clean drinking water, particularly so on the smaller islands.

• Women’s conditions are even harsher, for example, in some cases whereas men have toilet facilities, women may not have access to toilets, because the men simply would not permit that.

• No electricity or power in some places, medium-size solar energy facilities had been installed for the communities, but often they lay rusting and not functioning for many years, typically because the technology was unsuited for local situations. The challenge for significant improvement in livelihoods usually requires access to power.

"On our sea journey of Morobe - over 9 days, a consistent pattern of significant climate change impacts emerged....," Dr Poulsen said.


Biodiversity and Climate Change crises need concerted effort #StrongerTogether

Officiating the opening of the first National Protected Areas Forum, Papua New Guinea's Minister for Environment, Conservation and Climate Change, Hon. Wera Mori (3rd r). Seated l) to r): UNDP Deputy Resident Representative Edward Vrkic, NCD Governor Hon. Powes Parkop, UNDP Resident Representative Dirk Wagener and Managing Director for Conservation and Environment Protection Agency, Mr Guntha Joku. Photo Clive Hawigen/ UNDP in Papua New Guinea.

Papua New Guinea's first National #ProtectedAreas Forum held at the Hilton Hotel Port Moresby, during 2-3 June, provided a platform for shared experiences, insights and collaboration in the battle against the loss of important ecosystems and the increasing impacts of climate change on people and nature.

Led by the Conservation and Environment Protection Authority (CEPA) with support from UNDP in Papua New Guinea, the forum enabled protected area practitioners, researchers, academics, private sector, donors, civil society, and local communities - who manage or support the country’s protected areas network - to share their experiences, insights and lessons learnt on factors impacting protected areas.

UNDP Papua New Guinea Resident Representative, Mr Dirk Wagener, in his opening statement said, "Papua New Guinea is blessed with a level of biodiversity only matched by the diversity of its people."

"Papua New Guinea is one of the 17 megadiverse countries in the world, and it hosts a staggering 7% of the world’s biodiversity on only 1% of the planet’s landmass. Nature is declining globally at rates unprecedented in human history – and the rate of species extinction is accelerating, with grave impacts on people around the world now likely. In the past 50 years we lost about 70% of our wildlife. Nature and the environment are the very basis on which our livelihoods depend," he said.

Papua New Guinea’s forests are recognized as one of the most significant areas of intact tropical rainforest in the world, significant for their biodiversity, and their role in absorbing and storing greenhouse gases and regulating regional weather patterns.

Minister of Environment Conservation and Climate Change, the Hon. Wera Mori, in officially opening the forum explained that the results of the Forum would contribute to the implementation of the Protected Areas Policy.

"The call to action will aim to galvanize strategic support and highlight the need for effective coordination in order to elevate the strategic importance of Protected Areas in the country. The Protected Areas Forum will be a continuing mechanism for communications and joined learnings amongst Protected Area practitioners," Mr Mori said.

The theme of the forum 'Konsevensen Wok Bung Wantaim' (working together for conservation) coincided with the 2021 World Environment Day theme of 'Ecosystem Restoration.'

"Our forests are the third largest tropical rainforests in the world and act as the lung for the earth. Nature provides the ecosystem services that are essential for survival. Water, food and all of the resources that we use. If we do not manage these resources sustainably, we threaten the world our children will inherit."

The forum was followed by the first National Environment and Climate Emergency Summit on 4 June. These events became part of global efforts to highlight biodiversity and climate action on World Environment Day 2021.

Participants at the first National Protected Areas Forum.

Both events focused on strengthening policies and their implementation to protect the country’s abundant natural assets and resources into the future.

The summit was a landmark event that gave participants the opportunity to discuss Papua New Guinea’s response to the global climate emergency and commitments towards the UN Biodiversity and Climate Convention Conferences of the Parties scheduled later this year.

High level participants discussed ways to consolidate national and international partnerships to build a platform for climate action and financing in the country.

Regional Member for Bougainville and Vice Minister assisting the Prime Minister on Bougainville Matters, Hon. Peter Tsiamalili Jnr taking about the impacts of climate change during the summit.

The Summit focused on climate change initiatives to progress the 30 climate actions identified as necessary under Papua New Guinea's SDG 13 Climate Change Roadmap, an initiative proudly supported by UNDP in PNG. The Summit's Call to Action reaffirmed Papua New Guinea’s commitment to its Enhanced Nationally Determined Contributions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to mitigate the impacts of climate change.


Papua New Guinea's Marine Protected Areas Policy and National Plan of Action for Sharks & Rays officially launched

Minister Mori officially launched Papua New Guinea's National Plan of Action for Sharks and Rays at the Protected Areas Forum in June. Photo: John Poulsen/ UNDP in Papua New Guinea

A milestone moment for the Conservation and Environment Protection Agency (CEPA) saw the launch of the Marine Protected Areas Policy and the National Action Plan of Action for Stingrays, Skates and Sharks during the Protected Areas Forum, in June 2021.

Director for Sustainable Environment Programmes, Ms Kay Kalim on facilitating the launch of both initiatives said, "Papua New Guinea is part of the epicentre of global marine resources and the launching of Marine Protected Areas Policy and the National Plan of Action on Sharks and Rays will strengthen the country's effort to protect its marine resources."

Minister Mori with CEPA Managing Director Gunther Joku and Ms Yvonne Tio, Executive Manager - Marine, launching the Papua New Guinea Policy on Marine Protected Areas.

Ms Kalim also highlighted the Protect Areas Policy produced with the support of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) through the United Nations Development Programme's Papua New Guinea Country Office.

Environment, Conservation and Climate Change Minister, Hon. Wera Mori thanked those that tirelessly worked on these initiatves.

"It is equally important that we pay attention to our marine protected areas," said Mr Mori.

Minister Mori added, that with the support of UNDP, Papua New Guinea can consider more innovative mechanisms such as green and blue bonds as a way to finance climate action.


National Adaptation Plan in the South #ClimateAdaptation

A mangrove island with a bird’s eye view of coastal and agricultural communities, the Southern Region workshop was held at Loloata island, Central Province. Photo: Kerrie Hall/ UNDP in Papua New Guinea

Integrating climate change adaptation into policy development and planning in Papua New Guinea is a complex challenge.

Rolling out to regions in 2021, consultations to advance Papua New Guinea’s National Adaptation Plan (NAP) this month were hosted on Loloata Island, in Central Province, for climate change practitioners in the country’s Southern Region.

Planning professionals from six Provincial Governments came together from Central, Western, Gulf, Oro and Milne Bay provinces, and the National Capital District, to build planning capacity for strengthening future resilience against climate risks.

UNDP with the Climate Change Development Authority (CCDA) led the initiative aimed at exploring how to reduce vulnerability to the impacts of climate change by building adaptive capacity and resilience, and to integrate climate change adaptation into relevant policies, programmes, and actions.

“In Papua New Guinea, the NAP is expected to be a strategic tool to support compliance with the provisions established, under for example, the Climate Change Management Act,” explained facilitator Ms Sarah Stocks, a policy and legislation specialist.

A guideline to establishing specific sectoral adaptation plans to adequately address climate impacts for four priority sectors in the Southern Region - agriculture, health, transport, and infrastructure - the NAP will aim to strengthen the resilience of communities and institutions, in a gender-sensitive way.

The 40 participants, among them provincial planners, finance experts, and environment specialists took a deep dive into sectoral and government gaps, vulnerability assessments, knowledge sharing, and exploring how national coordination can help build a financing framework for climate change adaptation actions for the medium to longer term.

“We do have a plan, but where is the money?” said General Manager of CCDA's Adaptation and Projects Division, Mr Jacob Ekinye. During the discussions, various options were considered, ranging from international finance to internal revenue, to meet demands for future climate resilience projects. These included for renewable power and energy infrastructure, roads and maritime transport, food and water security, and coastal erosion.

Facilitating adaptation planning processes is a key element of support targeted under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). It assists developing countries in their adaptation efforts. UNDP in Papua New Guinea together with the Green Climate Fund, is supporting the CCDA to develop the National Adaptation Plan for Papua New Guinea.

The Advancing Papua New Guinea National Adaptation Plan - Southern Region Capacity Building and Consultation Workshop was held on 23-24 June 2021.


Global Value Chains will be vital for economic recovery despite early setbacks during the pandemic

New York, 16 June 2021: Global Value Chains (GVCs) may have experienced a setback during the early phases of the pandemic, but it seems premature to diagnose a wholesale failure of the system, or to fore­cast a large-scale shift to other means of production, according to a new UNDP policy brief.

“Despite early pessimism, Global Value Chains as a predominant model of production and trade proved resilient, and remain key for medium-term economic rebound,” said Kanni Wignaraja, UN Assistant Secretary-General and UNDP’s Regional Director for Asia and the Pacific. “We must diversify and future-proof the supply chains based on the disruptions experienced during the pandemic.”

The Post-Covid-19 Future for Global Value Chains policy brief notes that the effect of the pandemic is far from negligible, but the analysis shows that it would be extremely costly to radically alter the prevalence of Global Value Chain trade. The general model of joining Global Value Chains, rather than devel­oping full domestic supply chains, still offers import­ant potential advantages.

“The smart join-up to Global Value Chains remains a winning development strategy, over full re-shoring. Countries that have invested in new skills, quality infrastructure and specialized services are better poised for recovery,” added Ms. Wignaraja.

Fairfax Harbour at Sunset, Port Moresby. Photo: Dirk Wagener/ UNDP in Papua New Guinea.


News from the field: Bougainville

Bridging Transition Dialogues facilitators at Hahela, North Bougainville. Photo: Serge Loode/ PaCSIA.

The Bougainville Referendum of 2019 saw 97.7 per cent of Bougainvilleans vote for future independence from Papua New Guinea. Now, the two Governments must consult and agree on the future political status of the Autonomous Region of Bougainville. The outcome of such consultations will then be presented to the National Parliament which is the final decision-making authority on any agreement reached. UNDP is playing a critical role in facilitating these discussions and delivering development assistance to Bougainville.


Voices of Gender Based Violence: Women on frontline at inquiry

Ms Jayne Kenny represented the National Council of Women at the historic Gender Based Violence inquiry in the nation's capital. Photo: Clive Hawigen/ UNDP in Papua New Guinea

Ms Jayne Kenny represented the National Council of Women (NCW) at the recently held Gender-Based Violence (GBV) inquiry in Papua New Guinea. She believes that the two-day inquiry has heard the voices of those working at the frontline.

A strong advocate for ending GBV, Ms. Kenny’s involvement with the NCW allows her to work alongside various government organizations and NGOs at all levels: national, provincial, district and ward – carrying out programs that support and protect human rights.

She acknowledged the Papua New Guinea Special Parliamentary Committee on GBV, strongly supported by UNDP, who have led by their actions in shining a light on the unacceptably high levels of gender, family and sexual violence in the country.

Ms Kenny at the nation's first GBV public inquiry, at Apec Haus in Port Moresby.

“The issues addressed throughout this inquiry need to be emphasized on, taken back to the parliament, discussed and generate solutions. GBV has plagued our society for many years now, we need to take ownership and improve our efforts. This inquiry has provided a platform where our opinions from the provincial to the district levels were heard at a national level,” said Ms. Kenny.

Ms. Kenny stated that there is hope now to curb GBV related issues in the community adding that the next step is to host a similar inquiry at the provincial or regional level outside of Port Moresby.

“Now they are addressing the issue at the national level, which is great, but I believe for real improvement we should target provincial or regional levels. This way, we identify the underlying and varying issues that exist in each area - when it comes to fighting GBV - and come up with some kind of structure that involves coordination, from all levels of Government.”

UNDP, along with all UN agencies in Papua New Guinea, remain strongly and proudly committed to eliminating all forms of gender, sexual and family violence.


"My family is my motivation": Nouata Inara

Nouata Inara is a dedicated member of the UNDP Papua New Guinea team, serving as Registry Clerk. Photo: Seru Kepa/UNDP in Papua New Guinea

Without the support of Nouata Inara, and others that work behind the scenes at UNDP, the smooth day-to-day operation of the Country Office would be difficult to achieve. Mr Inara is a dedicated member of the UNDP Papua New Guinea team, serving as the Registry Clerk.

He has various responsibilities and his duties include managing the Country Office's registry, oversighting asset inventories and managing office supplies.

“Logging in on my laptop to check my emails is the first thing I do when I come into the office, most requests for specific services are sent via email - mainly to assist staff with their inhouse needs,” he said.

Mr Inara is always ready to help and fulfills his duties with enthusiasm and a smile. He says the positive attitude towards his work is due to his family.

“My parents are my greatest role models, being subsistence farmers, they have worked all their lives to survive and sustain us. They have instilled the same work ethic in me and have always pushed me to work, emphasizing its significance and benefits,” said Mr Inara.

“Providing for my family is my constant motivation, they are the main reason behind my drive. I do this for them, so it is important to me that I am here every day so I can support them.”

On the job for seven years now, in his time Mr Inara has witnessed firsthand UNDP's contribution to development in the country.

“Compared to the early stages, I think UNDP contributions and support to the country have grown immensely. It is evident that we are really achieving some traction in terms of bringing development to the country for the people. I am truly happy about this,” he said.

“Our programme teams have been influential in working diligently towards the Sustainable Development Goals through projects, workshops, trainings, summits, forums and various other initiatives that have generated awareness, built capacity and enabled growth for the people and communities in Papua New Guinea.”

Mr. Inara grew up in Karekodobu village located in Kwikila, in Rigo District, Central Province. This is where he completed his early education before relocating to Port Moresby to finish his studies, where he now resides.


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