The United States’s Secretary of the Interior, Ryan Zinke, is the first cabinet secretary to visit PNG in nearly a decade.
Zinke who arrived yesterday, had high-level meetings with PNG officials, including Prime Minister Peter O’Neill. This highlights the importance of the PNG – U.S. bilateral relationship and continued engagement and support for development, defense and conservation efforts.
The U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) has a long history of ongoing work with PNG, including natural hazards cooperation and technical support through the U.S. Geological Survey Bureau (USGS) under a Memorandum of Understanding with Geoscience Australia.
The USGS Volcano Disaster Assistance Program (VDAP), which deploys rapid-response volcano crisis teams throughout the world, has supported four separate crisis responses in Papua New Guinea.
DOI’s International Technical Assistance Program or DOI-ITAP through the Office of Insular and International Affairs provides institutional support and protected areas management support to Papua New Guinea under the Coral Triangle Initiative. This six-country partnership focuses on sustaining marine and coastal resources in the Asia-Pacific coral triangle region.
DOI-ITAP also conducted a 2016-2017 assessment to characterize and identify threats to Papua New Guinea’s biological diversity to help inform USAID’s future conservation activities in-country.
In the larger Pacific Islands region, the U.S. Secretary of the Interior also bears responsibilities for the U.S. territories of Guam, American Samoa and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands and administers and oversees Federal assistance under the Compacts of Free Association to the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, and the Republic of Palau.
These responsibilities are coordinated through the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Insular and International Affairs and are also key to the President’s vision of a free and open Indo-Pacific.
Source: Press Release