UNDP and the Government of Papua New Guinea advocate for sustainable land use on New Britain Island

This month, UNDP and the Department of Lands and Physical Planning hosted two roadshows in East and West New Britain to raise awareness of the the Government’s new National Sustainable Land Use Policy for 2022-2023.

November 27, 2023

Participants of the roadshow held in Kokopo on 21 November 2023.

Lorraine Basse | UNDP Papua New Guinea

The Government of Papua New Guinea launched its National Sustainable Land Use Policy for 2022-2032 earlier this September. The policy was completed with extensive support provided by UNDP through its now completed ‘Forest Carbon Partnership Facility’ project.

In recent decades, competing demands for land use for different socio-economic ends has given rise to unsustainable land management practices in various parts of Papua New Guinea. This has resulted in negative environmental and social outcomes for the local communities, such as land degradation and deforestation.

The new landmark policy aims to chart a course towards greener and more sustainable land management practices across Papua New Guinea by harmonizing the country’s need for both stronger economic development and environmental conservation. Among many things, the policy seeks to enhance the efficient and ethical use of the country’s vast natural resources, and strengthen mechanisms for protecting land rights and settling land disputes.

A diverse group of stakeholders participated in both roadshows.

Lorraine Basse | UNDP Papua New Guinea

The roadshows held in East and West New Britain provided an opportunity for representatives of the provincial administrations, the private sector, civil society, NGOs and community-based organizations to learn more about the policy. Residents from both provinces were also able to share their knowledge and concerns on land use in their respective communities.

In his remarks to the participants, the Deputy Chief Physical Planner of the Department of Lands and Physical Planning, Mr. Gibson Pitz, stressed that the policy aims to put an end to harmful land management practices in Papua New Guinea, while simultaneously improving the livelihoods of different stakeholders dependent on land use. “The success of this policy depends on all sectors and stakeholders coming together and implementing it in a cooperative and cohesive manner,” Mr. Pitz stated.  

The Deputy Chief Physical Planner of the Department of Lands and Physical Planning, Mr. Gibson Pitz (right), presenting the National Sustainable Land Use Policy to Mr. Marakan Uvano, the Deputy Provincial Administrator of Corporate Services of East New Britain Province. Photo credit: UNDP Papua New Guinea/Lorraine Basse.

Lorraine Basse | UNDP Papua New Guinea

In the coming years, UNDP will play an integral role in operationalizing the policy in West New Britain and East New Britain Provinces through its ‘Establishing Systems for Sustainable Integrated Land Use Planning Across New Britain Island’ project, which is funded by the Global Environment Facility.  The project seeks to reduce rates of agricultural driven deforestation and biodiversity loss in New Britain Island by introducing more sustainable and resilient Cocoa and Palm Oil farming systems among local communities. 

“Over 90% of Papua New Guineans depend on the country’s remarkable biodiversity for their daily survival. For Papua New Guinea’s economic development to benefit the majority of Papua New Guineans, it is imperative that the country’s land and other natural resources are managed in a sustainable manner. Through our various initiatives in New Britain and around the country, UNDP is committed to ensuring that Papua New Guinea’s development happens in harmony with nature, and not at her expense”, stated UNDP Resident Representative, Mr. Nicholas Booth, after the roadshows.