PETER S KINJAP
Images by Stella Wainetti
PORT MORESBY – A key pathway to combat climate involves building capacity and training locals to be climate change ready and resilient.
The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has taken the lead to provide the required training for people in Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu so they can better address climate change issues.
According to US Ambassador to PNG, Catherine Ebert-Gray, well over $80 million has been invested in Pacific environmental and climate change projects over the last few years.
The USAID climate ready project has been in PNG for nine years, with $11 million in small grants being disbursed.
The project was established so PNG and island nations could access the growing amount of international funds available specifically for Pacific countries to address the effects of climate change.
“We have setup a process to work very closely with the PNG Climate Change and Development Authority (CCDA) to ensure we have local people trained and [given] access to that funding,” Ambassador Ebert-Gray said.
Speaking to project management training participants at Crown Hotel in Port Moresby last Friday, Ms Ebert-Gray said the USAID climate ready project is also working with the private sector, civil society, non-government organisations and church-based organisations.
The 20 participants who graduated with 80-hours of project management training were from all these entities, which included Oil Search, PNG Power and PNG Ports.
In groups of three, the participants were required to design practical projects using the skills and knowledge acquired during their training.
There were four course components covering project scoping and quality management, budget and people management, procurement and stakeholder management, and communication and risk management.
The 20 participants formed groups of three to develop seven different practical projects which they will continue working on for possible funding.
These included a project to read and interpret spatial images for climate action by the infrastructure department of PNG Ports and a project to deal with soil erosion in Kokopo which will see hectares of land within the town planted with trees and reforested.
Another group developed a project, the Koge Tree Nursery, for Simbu Province to involve the community in reforestation while a fourth group presented a scheme to sustain indigenous forests using blockchain technology.
“We have already trained 170 Papua New Guineans in project management or project preparation related to adaption projects in their communities,” Ms Ebert-Gray said.
Many people might ask, they have undertaken training so what can they do now?
Well, according to the Ms Ebert-Gray, the people will return to their communities and mobilise what they need to address climate change and what they have learned about the international standards of writing project proposals which will be evaluated for funding.
Ms Ebert-Gray said there will be other workshops so interested people can contact the PNG Climate Change and Development Authority or the US Embassy in Port Moresby.
Last week USAID also signed a $US1.4 million agreement with the United Nations Development Program for small grants that will establish at least 5-6 more projects in PNG.
Peter S. Kinjap is a freelance writer and a blogger, email email@example.com