Mr. Dirk Wagener, UNDP Resident Representative, at the 3rd national Protected Area Forum

June 7, 2023

Mr Wagener at the opening ceremony of the Protected Area Forum at the APEC Haus.

Clive Hawigen l UNDP Papua New Guinea

Date: Tuesday 6th June

Location: APEC Haus, Port Moresby

Time: 9.15am (10 minutes)


  • Ms. Kay Kalim, Director, Sustainable Environment Programmes, Conservation and Environment Protection Authority. 

  • Members of CEPA, CCDA, protected area representatives, non-governmental organizations, and civil society.

  • Moning tru olgeta.

Thank you for the invitation to open the third national Protected Area Forum. 

UNDP has supported Papua New Guinea for the past four decades opening our office here in 1980. We will continue to do so to help achieve Papua New Guinea’s environmental aspirations. 

I would firstly like to convey my congratulations to the Government of Papua New Guinea for declaring World Tree Kangaroo Day. This is an important recognition of the conservation community – raising awareness of not just a specific species but of nature protection in general. 

World Tree Kangaroo Day places Papua New Guinea at the forefront of international conservation efforts, comparable with World Gorilla Day and World Jaguar Day to name a few. 

Protected Area Forum

UNDP is proud of our continued partnership with the Conservation and Environment Protections Authority to host events like the Protected Area Forum. 

This is an integral platform for protected area stakeholders to come together, share experiences and resolve common challenges. 

Papua New Guinea needs a strong civil society. The natural and cultural environment in PNG needs a voice. You are that voice. 

I, like many Papua New Guineans, have enjoyed following the watching the Protected Area Forum go from strength to strength. 

I have seen the participation grow. I have witnessed nature protection feature more prominently in the newspaper, in parliament and in our schools.

Every single person here should be commended for their commitment to the conservation of Papua New Guinea’s outstanding natural environment. 

I would urge you to maintain this momentum and ensure that PNG’s natural and cultural heritage remains a national priority. 

Environment week events

Every year, this week consists of a series of event celebrating Papua New Guinea’s achievements. 

Yesterday’s UN World Environment Day raised awareness on the pollution generated by plastic - from its creation, its use and its disposal. 

Our planet is choking on plastic. 

Today, we produce about 430 million tonnes of plastic waste every year. 

2/3rd of this are single-use plastics. 

Some 98 per cent of single-use plastic products are produced from fossil fuels. 

I urge everyone think about this every time you see, use or buy a plastic product. 

Their creation and disposal generate greenhouse gas emissions, further accelerating the impacts of climate change.

It is also destroying PNG’s marine environment because discarded plastic never fully disappears. It just breaks down into smaller and smaller pieces – we call these microplastics. 

Microplastics have been found in the food we eat - even in the water we drink.

UNDP and the blue economy

However – problems also present opportunities.

Opportunities to reduce, reuse, and recycle – creating a circular economy. We call them the 3 R. 

Opportunities to create new businesses that drives a new blue economic sector – a sector that creates livelihood opportunities for communities in Papua New Guinea that strengthens, rather than depletes the marine environment. 

UNDP is proudly supporting a new wave of blue economy initiatives with the hope this stimulate a new economic sector - a more environmentally conscious sector - a more inclusive sector.

Day three of the Forum is a blue day and I am excited to hear the discussions and proposed solutions. 


Finally, I would like to wish you all success in your discussions and deliberations over the next three days.

Engage with each other, challenge each other, and ultimately collaborate with each other. 

Together you are a stronger voice.

"UNDP is proudly supporting a new wave of blue economy initiatives with the hope this stimulate a new economic sector - a more environmentally conscious sector - a more inclusive sector."
UNDP Resident Representative, Mr. Dirk Wagener