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Building PNG’s climate resilience

Community consultation at Karawara Island  East New Britain (BRCC)
Community consultation at Karawara Island,  East New Britain (BRCC)

PETER SOLO KINJAP

PORT MORESBY - Papua New Guinea was identified as one of the most vulnerable countries in the wake of global climate crisis.

Lack of basic government services in the most remote parts of the country have further deteriorated since then and the current coronavirus crisis may increase PNG’s vulnerability.

As such, PNG needs help and support in many areas including climate resilience action.

The impacts of climate change will grow. Among those already affected are PNG’s small island and atoll communities.

Despite the critics, much is being done by way of response. Led by the PNG government through the Climate Change and Development Authority (CCDA), partners like the Asian Development Bank (ADB) are doing their bit to support these efforts.

Based on the recommendations of an independent expert group, PNG was selected as one of the Pacific countries to participate in an ADB-funded project, Building Resilience to Climate Change in Papua New Guinea.

Focus group discussion  Kaileuna Island  Milne Bay (BRCC)
Focus group discussion,  Kaileuna Island ,Milne Bay (BRCC)

The goal of this program is to help countries transform to a climate resilient development path, consistent with national poverty reduction and sustainable development goals.

It seems there is nowhere left on the planet where the effects of a changing climate are not being felt. Unfortunately, these effects of climate change are hitting developing countries harder than most.

Across the Pacific, a changing climate is expected to have a significant impact on future yields of everything from fish to rice.

For PNG, action against climate change requires long-term commitment. The causes and consequences of climate change stretch far beyond the boundaries of individual countries.

They are long-term and pervasive. Effective efforts require local, national and international action. Most importantly, it requires country ownership and political commitment.

During the last 50 years or so, increasing pressures on resources have intensified PNG’s vulnerability due to extreme events such as natural hazards, including cyclones, droughts, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and tsunamis.

PNG’s rural coastal populations are particularly vulnerable to sea level rise and other weather-related manifestations of climate change.

Within the five target provinces of Manus, East New Britain, Bougainville, Morobe and Milne Bay, vulnerable communities have been identified on 24 islands.

Water tank at Piul Island in Bougainville (BRCC)
Water tank on Piul Island, Bougainville (BRCC)

The Asian Development Bank is providing K83 million grant to help PNG build its resilience and include climate resilience into development planning in these five provinces.

According to the ADB, PNG’s economy is likely to suffer the biggest losses in the Pacific from climate change impacts. It forecasts severe failures in sweet potato and other agricultural crops as well as land losses due to a rise in the sea level.

Peter S Kinjap is providing media and communication consultancy support for the ADB-funded Building Resilience to Climate Change in PNG project in conjunction with the Climate Change and Development Authority. Email: pekinjap@gmail.com

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