Climate Change and Development Context
Papua New Guinea (PNG) is the largest country in the Pacific region both by geography and population.[i] The country is home to the one of the largest tracts of intact tropical forest in the world, and has been a leading proponent of an international regime for REDD+ as part of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Approximately 85 per cent of the population relies on subsistence agriculture in rural areas.[ii]
In 2010 the Government of Papua New Guinea made a conditional commitment to the UNFCCC to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 30 percent, or 50 percent from the business as usual (BAU) forecast, by 2030. The Office of Climate Change and Development notes that the bulk of this abatement comes from reducing emissions caused by land use, land-use change and forestry (LULUCF), which accounts for over 95 percent of emissions, and less than 20 percent of GDP. PNG believes that with related abatement measures, its economy can achieve the same 6-7 percent annual growth rate under a low-carbon growth path as under BAU, with over 20,000 additional jobs created and a more equitable income distribution.[iii]
The country is also a member of the Pacific Islands Greenhouse Gas Abatement through Renewable Energy Project, which aims at reducing the growth rate of GHG emissions from fossil fuel use in the Pacific Island Countries through the widespread and cost effective use of their renewable energy resources.[iv]
Key National Institutions, Policies and Initiatives
In 2010, the Government of PNG established the Office of Climate Change and Development (OCCD) as well as the National Climate Change Committee (NCCC), who take exclusive responsibility of climate change and environmental sustainability. OCCD is the lead coordinating institution in the area of climate change and as such has strong cross-sectoral mechanisms. The OCCD reports directly to PNG’s Prime Minister and through the NCCC. NCCC meets monthly basis to guide the country’s climate change work. It includes departmental heads of all government departments and authorities most concerned with climate change issues including but not limited to Forestry, Agriculture, Environment and Conservation Finance, National Planning and Monitoring. [v]
At a working level, the country has created multi-stakeholder Technical Working Groups and sub-working groups to focus on specific areas such as adaptation and REDD+. Sub-working groups are convened to focus on more detailed solutions such as the implementation of a coastal early warning system and community based mangrove planting projects.
Policies and Initiatives
Papua New Guinea Vision 2050 (2011) guides PNG towards being a “smart, wise, fair, and happy society by 2050”. One of the seven pillars of the strategy is environmental sustainability and climate change. Supporting measures include: develop appropriate adaptation and mitigation strategies, develop policies and organizational structures to address climate change, improve understanding on environmental sustainability and climate change with educational awareness on economic opportunities, and develop effective partnership and cooperation with the international community on climate change issues.[vi]
PNG will have two Development Strategic Plans under the Vision 2050, each covering a 20 year period. The Papua New Guinea Development Strategic Plan, 2010-2030 (PNGDSP) (2010) elaborates how PNG can become a prosperous, middle income country by 2030. One of the five objectives of the PNGDSP is to sustainably manage natural resources so that resource revenues focus on nation building, while protecting the environment.[vii]
The Interim Action Plan for Climate-Compatible Development (2010), a draft document for public consultation, offers practical steps towards reducing GHG emissions by 50 percent by 2030 (mainly through abatement in LULUCF), becoming carbon neutral by 2050 (through investment in low-carbon infrastructure), and reducing vulnerability to climate change-associated risks. The plan has been endorsed by the National Executive Council, signaling that economic development must be combined with climate change mitigation and adaptation measures.[viii]
[i] Source: “Papua New Guinea Overview”. Pacific Climate Change Portal (accessed 28 Nov 2013). http://www.pacificclimatechange.net/index.php/country-profiles/papua-new-guinea
[ii] Source: “Papua New Guinea Overview”. Pacific Climate Change Portal (accessed 28 Nov 2013). http://www.pacificclimatechange.net/index.php/country-profiles/papua-new-guinea
[iii] Source: Interim Action Plan for Climate-Compatible Development. Pacific Climate Change Portal (accessed 28 Nov 2013). http://www.occd.gov.pg/images/stories/documents/PNG_Interim_Action_Plan.pdf
[iv] Source: “Papua New Guinea Mitigation”. Pacific Climate Change Portal (accessed 28 Nov 2013). http://www.pacificclimatechange.net/index.php/png-mitigation
[v] Source: “Papua New Guinea Governance”. Pacific Climate Change Portal (accessed 28 Nov 2013). http://www.pacificclimatechange.net/index.php/png-governance
[vi] Source: Papua New Guinea Vision 2050. Pacific Climate Change Portal (accessed 28 Nov 2013). http://www.pacificclimatechange.net/index.php/eresources/documents?task=view&id=333&catid=105
[vii] Source: Papua New Guinea Development Strategic Plan, 2010-2030. Pacific Climate Change Portal (accessed 28 Nov 2013). http://www.pacificclimatechange.net/index.php/eresources/documents?task=view&id=329&catid=105
[viii] Source: Interim Action Plan for Climate-Compatible Development.
Population source: Source: World Development Indicators (accessed 28 Nov 2013). http://databank.worldbank.org/data/views/reports/tableview.aspx
Area source: Source: World Development Indicators
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