A new UNDP report reveals concerning climate trends with potential impacts in Hela and Southern Highlands Provinces

UNDP has published a downscaled climate risk assessment, which predicts that Hela and Southern Highlands Provinces will suffer from increasing temperatures, rainfall and other extreme climate events in the future.

September 13, 2023

The report was launched at an event held at the University of Papua New Guinea

Juho Valta | UNDP Papua New Guinea

The report was officially launched in an event held at the University of Papua New Guinea in Port Moresby today.

The report was commissioned to the Regional Integrated Multi-Hazard Early Warning System for Africa and Asia (RIMES) to help guide the UNDP-IOM interventions under the joint “Preventing Climate-Induced Conflicts Through Empowered Women Leadership” project in Hela and Southern Highlands Provinces.

The project, which is funded by the UN Peacebuilding Fund, empowers local women and youth populations to prevent climate change induced conflicts by developing their capacities on disaster risk reduction, conflict prevention and other skills to building climate resilience and peace. The project also raises awareness of women’s rights and advocates for their inclusion in community decision-making processes.

The findings of the report indicate that rainfall, maximum and minimum temperatures, as well as landslides, floods and droughts will increase in both provinces in the near (2023-2048), mid (2049-2074), and far (2075-2100) future. As unpredictable weather patterns and natural disasters negatively impact agricultural production and access to water access, the findings have concerning implications for the local communities that still mostly rely on subsistence farming for their survival.  Local women and girls are at particular risk as they traditionally bear the responsibility of providing food and water to their communities by tending gardens, fetching water and performing other chores related to management of natural resources.  In addition, these developments pose a threat to regional peace, as food and water insecurity often results in the displacement of communities.  

“While the findings of the assessment are alarming, they will enable us to ensure that our focus is on building the resilience of communities that are most at risk of climate related shocks. UNDP is committed to work with both the national and provincial authorities to ensure that the recommendations the report outlines for mitigating the devastating impact of climate change in Hela and Southern Highlands are executed in the near future,“ UNDP  Deputy Resident Representative, Mr. Edward Vrkic, stated on the report.  

The findings and recommendations of the assessment will be utilized to draft provincial and sub-provincial strategic frameworks and plans to advance the climate security agenda at the subnational level, including Community Peace for Development Plans.  

Learn more about the findings and recommendations of the climate risk assessment by reading the full report here.