The Department of Environment Conservation and Climate Change should play a leading coordinative role within the Government of PNG in the implementation of the actions. This was the agreement reached between the European Union Ambassador H.E Jernej Videtic and the Minister of Environment Conservation & Climate Change Wera Mori, on 15th July 2021.
The discussion focused on the new framework of the EU-PNG Partnership under the new (soon to be adopted) EU-ACP Agreement.
Subject to the adoption of the new cooperation strategy, the bilateral cooperation between the EU and PNG for the period 2021- 2027 will address three priority areas: PA1 ‘Our Forest our future’ – climate change – biodiversity nexus, PA2 ‘Water is life’ – WaSH, and PA3 ‘Transparent and Accountable Governance. The PA1 is based on a Team Europe approach that envisages the participation of EU Member States.
The new partnership is fully aligned with the EU Green Deal global ambition for climate action and biodiversity preservation.
The Ambassador informed that the EU has the ambition to make Europe the first climate-neutral continent by 2050, boosting the economy, improving people’s health, and leaving no one behind.
The minister and the ambassador exchanged views on the respective activities the EU and PNG plan to accomplish at the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow that will begin on the 1st of November.
The Ambassador expressed the EU’s preparedness to support actions on adaptation and resilience. The EU is looking forward to working with PNG to achieve a good adaptation outcome at COP 26.
The Minister commended the efforts by the EU to effectively address and mitigate the impact of climate change in PNG saying it is time to take drastic actions.
He informed that the department is embarking on a number of projects to address the impacts of climate change in PNG. With the high concentration of carbon dioxide causing a rise in temperature, the department has started a tree-planting project with plans to plant 100 million trees over a period of 10 years.
Apart from that, the department is also implementing projects in the coastal areas and the low-lying islands of PNG that have been affected by the rise in sea level.
The Minister explained that they are “aggressively promoting the concept of growing mangroves around the coastlines because mangroves take in 10 times more carbon dioxide than trees.” This is one practical approach the department is taking and the EU’s preparedness to support climate adaptation is timely because this is an area that the minister says he would need help with.
He welcomed the continuation of the Water and Sanitation Hygiene (WaSH) related projects and proposed its improvement by using roofing iron to catch water. He expressed his disappointment about the damages caused by the new climate-induced sea currents that are eroding the coastline and this can negatively impact the food security of the islands.