Those fortunate to set foot in Wabag, in Enga Province, may sense that it might become a hub of sustainability in Papua New Guinea. Change is coming, and Enga is leading this change.
A determined Engan Governor and Provincial Administration, and those at the helm of change in politics, policy and implementation have embarked on a new exciting programme supported by the European Union and the United Nations Development Programme.
In the streets of Wabag Town and the corridors of the “Green Haus” (the affectionate name given to the Provincial Administration building, the Ipatas Centre), the provincial slogan is: ‘Unity, Peace and Prosperity.’
One project implemented has the potential to change the approach to the management of natural resources, in particular.
The launch of this new project was witnessed by a range of dignitaries, including the Governor of Enga Province, Grand Chief Sir Peter Ipata, French Ambassador, His Excellency Mr Guillaume Lemoine, Head of the European Delegation, His Excellency Mr. Jernej Videtic and UNDP Resident Representative. Photo: Clive Hawigen/ UNDP Papua New Guinea.
On 19 July 2021, the United Nations Development Programme in Papua New Guinea with its partners, the Climate Change Development Authority and the Enga Provincial Administration, launched the EU-funded ‘Strengthening Integrated Sustainable Landscape Management Project’ at the Enga Take Anda Conference Centre, in Wabag Town.
The launch of this new project was witnessed by a range of dignitaries, including: Governor of Enga Province, Grand Chief Sir Peter Ipatas; Ambassador of the European Union, H.E. Mr. Jernej Videtič; French Ambassador, H.E. Mr Guillaume Lemoine; Minister for Fisheries and Marine Resources, and Member for Wabag Electorate, Dr Lino Tom; UNDP Resident Representative, Mr. Dirk Wagener; Enga Provincial Administrator, Dr Samson Amean; Climate Change and Development Authority Managing Director, Mr. Ruel Yamuna; and other senior officials from Enga Provincial Administration.
The project has three objectives. The first is to improve climate change mitigation and adaptation, the second, to strengthen food and nutrition security, and thirdly, to improve biodiversity, land and forest conservation.
Valued at 5.4 million Euro (EUR), the project will run from 2021 to 2026 to support community farmers and women’s groups to develop their sustainable agricultural practices through small grants. This is aimed at helping to improve their livelihoods, and gain access to local and international commodity markets, while conserving their surrounding environment and Papua New Guinea’s biodiversity for future generations.
Governor of Enga Province, Grand Chief Sir Peter Ipatas fully supports the project. Twenty-seven per cent of land in Enga Province is suitable for agriculture. Many locals are engaged in subsistence farming. Coffee is the main cash crop. Recent improvements to the Highlands Highway has increased markets for many and accessibility to the highway varies significantly across the province. The province hosts a very rich biodiversity that is yet to be fully surveyed.
“The project will fully strengthen and build capacity of community farmers, share knowledge and implement best practice of integrated sustainable landscape management in Enga Province. As we move towards the turn of the decade, it is crucial for our country to maintain key steps that need to be taken to address climate change and achieve its development goals,” said Governor Ipatas.
|The project will fully strengthen and build capacity of community farmers in Enga Province.|
Ambassador of the European Union, H.E. Mr Jernej Videtič, thanked the Engan Provincial Government and UNDP for witnessing the official launch.
“It is well known that food security, poverty alleviation, climate change, and biodiversity loss are the global challenges that have been at the forefront of international agendas during the last decade,” Mr Videtič said.
“One of the most attractive elements of this project is to support community farmers and women’s groups to develop their sustainable agricultural practices through small grants. It will help them to improve their livelihoods and economics and get access to local and international commodity markets while conserving environment and biodiversity for their children and the children of their children.”
The United Nations Development Programme's Resident Representative, Mr Dirk Wagener said "UNDP is proud to partner in delivering this project, made possible with the leadership of the National Government and, in particular, the Climate Change and Development Authority. We are deeply grateful to the European Union for funding this important project and we are honoured to have here with us today H.E. Mr Jernej Videtič - as well as H.E. Mr Guillaume Lemoine,” said Mr Wagener.
Overall, the project will continue to support Papua New Guinea in its effort to address climate change, by exploring innovative ways to mitigate carbon emissions and demonstrate the potential of green economies.