United Nations Development Programme in Papua New Guinea
A recent report by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), “Achieving Development Results in Asia and the Pacific” has found the Asia-Pacific region to be the most economically driven region of the world, in recent years.
The region’s global economic share has risen from 14 per cent in 2000, to 25 per cent in 2012.
The vast improvements, in the regional perspective, are evident in the reduction of poverty in a number of Asia-Pacific countries; and the improvements of human development and geopolitical influence.
The report takes a wider look at the region, covering results achieved in 36 countries and territories in the Asia and Pacific region; and illustrates UNDP’s support to poverty reduction and conservation of natural resources, strengthening democratic governance, building resilience and responding to crisis.
UNDP delivered US$2 billion in programmes in Asia and the Pacific during 2013-2014, to achieve the mutual aspirations of partner governments and donors in three main areas of development: inclusive development pathways, inclusive and effective governance and resilience.
Significantly, a number of countries in the region have moved up to middle-income status (MIC) in the last decade; it is predicted that by 2030, at least two-thirds of the world’s middle class will be from the Asia-Pacific region.
Papua New Guinea’s economic status has improved over the past few years and as a result, achieved the status of ‘lower middle-income country’.
The World Bank states: for the current 2015 fiscal year, low-income economies are defined as those with a GNI per capita, calculated using the World Bank Atlas method, of $1,045 or less in 2013; middle-income economies are those with a GNI per capita of more than $1,045 but less than $12,746. Lower-middle-income and upper-middle-income economies are separated at a GNI per capita of $4,125.
PNG has seen huge infrastructure improvements, the report says: “in many parts of the country, we have seen huge improvements in infrastructure and there is now more accurate statistics as well as evidence available to inform policy choices.
“The country is now better positioned to achieve improved development outcomes in future but needs to continue to make the best policy choices that will yield the best returns for the country and all its citizens.”
However, the report highlights that with all the progress, it is also crucial to note that the region has the greatest number of people living in poverty, in the world today. The report focuses on how Asia-Pacific can progress further, more efficiently and faster, in reducing poverty and vulnerability.
Key factors identified include:
- Polices that support broad-based equitable and sustainable growth;
- investing in women and girls
- improving the quality of education, training and jobs
- Investing in renewable energy
- Countering fraud and corruption
- Reducing conflicts and improving stability
- Strengthening capable, accountable and responsible national institutions and
- Supporting social protection for the most vulnerable.
For PNG, government representatives will meet to discuss the country’s development progress at the 2015 Leaders’ Summit in Port Moresby this week. The focus will be on improving the well-being of Papua New Guinea.
Roy Trivedy, UNDP Resident Representative in Papua New Guinea, says that PNG will have one of the fastest growing economies in the world in 2015 and with all the developments, the country is becoming increasingly assuming a bigger leadership role in the Pacific region.
“The PNG Government is working to improve delivery at the local level, advocating against corruption and promoting greater transparency and accountability.”
He says that for further improvements, tough decisions will be required, including a sustained focus on reducing poverty rates, addressing income and gender disparities, providing access to quality health, education and other services, investing in social protection for those most in need.
“As well as ensuring that the management of extractive industries lead to improved human development outcomes for all citizens,” says Trivedy.
He added that UNDP would continue to support the national and provincial governments in “these tasks.”
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