New Britain island is under threat from rapid forest loss due to agricultural conversion with over 450,000 hectares under permits for forest clearance
| United Nations Development Program
PORT MORESBY - A project has been launched in West New Britain to promote sustainable land-use.
New Britain island’s ecosystems range from dense lowland plains to a central mountainous spine with peaks of over 2,000 meters.
As the largest of all the Papua New Guinea islands, it contains the highest rates of forest cover and represents areas of high value biodiversity.
However, New Britain island is also under threat from rapid forest loss due to agricultural conversion with over 450,000 hectares under permits for forest clearance.
With the ever-present threat of biodiversity loss from unsustainable farming practices, the need to sustainably manage land usage is essential.
So how would this be achieved?
A new project, ‘Establishing systems for sustainable integrated land-use planning across New Britain’, was launched in Kimbe in late October, its main objective being to promote and support sustainable land-use management.
The six-year project is implemented by the United Nations Development Program working in partnership with key PNG government agencies, the private sector and communities.
Edward Vrkic, UNDP deputy resident representative in PNG, said:
“After several years of the project being in the development phase, we are very excited to finally be able to join our implementing partner, the PNG Conservation and Environment Protection Authority, to launch project activities.
“What is unique about the project compared to many others is the way it brings governments, private sector, and communities together.
“The project is one of 27 throughout the world that seek to transform the global food system by promoting eight sustainable, integrated landscapes covering beef, cocoa, corn, coffee, palm oil, rice, soy and wheat.
“The New Britain project will look at cocoa and palm oil.”
The project will address barriers such as knowledge gaps in sustainable production, the prevalence of unsustainable practices, unresponsive supply chains and limited access to finance.
“UNDP’s global strategy seeks to promote nature-based solutions for a sustainable planet; and scale up that these solutions for sustainable management of natural resources,” Vrkic said.
“The project will assist PNG with its post-pandemic dreams and aspirations towards sustainable economic development.”