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OCCD Explains Climate Change Bill

by Theckla Gunga – EM TV, Port Moresby

Executive Director for the Office of Climate Change and Development, Varagini Badira, says the Climate Change Management Bill will look at the impacts of climate change caused by current infrastructural developments in the country.

His comments follow recent debates by Civil Society Organisations who claimed the bill lacks consultation, and does not complement existing laws which relate to the management of the environment.

Mr Badira described the bill as sensible, saying it supports the government’s decision to pass the bill in parliament.

Mr Badira explained that the drafting of the Climate Change Management Bill involved legal consultations.

He says, since 2010, the bill underwent numerous drafting, but prior to that, the National Executive Council had approved a Climate Compactable Development Strategy that initiated the process of consultations between landowners and OCCD.

Seven provinces included in the Reduce Emission from Deforestation and Degradation Plus, or REDD Plus Policy, and Carbon Trade, underwent some form of environmental awareness since the policy drafting.

However, upon reviewing the Bill, Civil Society Organisations, including Transparency International, the PNG Eco-Forestry Forum, and other NGOs, said the bill lacks community participation and there was no clarity on the government departments who will be represented on the Board.

They described the bill as unfriendly and want more time to conduct awareness between land and forest owners before the bill can be passed as a Law.

However, OCCD said the introduction of the Bill will create the platform for the government, to finally have a legal instrument in place, to adequately address climate change for the benefit of our people.

Badira said, PNG will become the first nation in the Pacific region to implement a law that will look at minimising the effects of climate change as a result of infrastructural development.

The bill is yet to be tabled in parliament.

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