by Benny Geteng – EM TV, Port Moresby
Eastern Highlands Provincial Government last Friday has signed a contract with Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) Papua New Guinea.
The signing has taken a step forward in consolidating its environmental development plans.
It was a significant milestone for WCS PNG and the province following Governor Julie Soso’s recent announcement of EHP as the ‘Green Province’ and the provincial government’s plans to counter climate change issues and conserve forests areas in the province.
The contract signed was for WCS PNG to carry out a provincial biodiversity assessment in the UN REDD+ project zone from Daulo Pass to Mt Gahavisuka and a wide overview of EHP biodiversity hotspots.
Acting Provincial Administrator Alvin Inammoi in his opening remarks gave a global overview of climate change trends and stated that climate change adaptation and mitigation is the way forward for the province.
A member of the EHP Provincial Executive Council (PEC) delivered Governor Soso’s speech and stated that the governor was glad that the signing had eventuated.
“We will continue to consolidate our efforts in partnership to develop this province. It is expected that the biodiversity study will surely add value to the REDD+ zone.”
“As we continue to strive for green development through nature conservation, preservation of cultural heritage and its diversity, preservation of flora and fauna, wildlife management and biodiversity conservation, we will in turn appreciate the benefits of eco-tourism,” stated Governor Soso in her written speech.
WCS PNG’s Country Director, Dr Richard Cuthbert, said WCS has worked in many regions of PNG from the islands to the highlands with its headquarters based in Goroka, however, it never had any engagement with the province.
“I am grateful for the trust that Governor Soso has placed in WCS and look forward to working together for biodiversity conservation in the province,” Dr Cuthbert said.
Governor Soso’s announcement of the ‘Green Province’ in June during the launch of World Environment Day had coincided with the appointment of the inaugural EHP Climate Change Committee (EHPCCC) of which WCS PNG’s Forest and REDD+ Policy officer, Bensolo Ken is a member.
The signing of the contract took place at the Bird of Paradise Hotel, Goroka, and was witnessed by PEC members, technical staff from the Office of Climate Change and Development, members of the EHPCCC and heads of partner institutions for ‘green development’ such as BSP and the University of Goroka.