Remarks by Mr Dirk Wagener at the occasion of the World Environment Day 2021 National Protected Areas Forum

June 7, 2021

Mr Wagener giving his speech at the opening of the National Protected Areas Forum

Remarks by Mr. Dirk Wagener, UNDP Resident Representative at the occasion of the WORLD ENVIRONMENT DAY 2021 NATIONAL PROTECTED AREA FORUM 2 June 2021


·       Hon. Wera Mori, Minister of Environment, Conservation and Climate Change

·       Hon. Powes Parkop, NCD Governor

·       Mr Gunther Joku, Managing Director of CEPA – the Conservation & Environment Protection Authority

·       Mr Ruel Yamuna, MD of CCDA – Climate Change Development Authority

·       Representatives of CEPA and CCDA

·       Representatives from Development Partners

·       Representatives from non-governmental organisations, civil society organisations, the private sector and community members.

Monin tru olgeta

     I am honored to be here today to open the 1st Papua New Guinea National Protected Areas Forum.

Importance of Protected Areas:

·       Papua New Guinea is blessed with a level of biodiversity only matched by the diversity of its people.

·       PNG is one of the 17 megadiverse countries in the world, and it hosts a staggering 7% of the world’s biodiversity on only 1% of the planet’s landmass.

·       Nature is declining globally at rates unprecedented in human history – and the rate of species extinction is accelerating, with grave impacts on people around the world now likely. In the past 50 years we lost about 70% of our wildlife.

   ·       Nature and the environment are the very basis on which our livelihoods depend.

·       Nature provides services that are essential to human survival - clean air, water, food, all resources we use for the built environment, but also cultural and recreational value.

    If we continue to destroy the environment, we remove the safety net and sabotage our own future, the future of our children.

    Protecting key areas of biodiversity is critical to preserve that global safety net.

     However, Protected Areas often face an issue of perception. Some still regard protected areas as “locking the country away”, this is not the case in a vast majority of protected areas.

    Protected Areas can - and do - offer both livelihood opportunities that do not negatively affect the environment - in fact – further strengthen biodiversity and climate resilience.

       We are not choosing between trees and development. We can only build a healthy and sustainable future if we protect that very basis we depend on – mother nature. Both goes hand in hand, it is not a tradeoff.

PNG Protected Area Network and Global Commitments:

Protection of nature is enshrined in the Papua New Guinea     constitution. It states that all necessary steps to be taken to give adequate protection to our valued birds, animals, fish, insects, plants, and trees.

    PNG has experienced a gradual growth of Protected Areas. To date, more than two million hectares are under protection, equating to four percent of land - and less than one percent of marine space in PNG.

    However, progress lags behind our international commitments in the so-called Aichi biodiversity targets of 17 percent of terrestrial land - and 10 percent of marine space - under legal protection by 2020. We need to aim to reach this important target here in Papua New Guinea.

        In October this year, countries will convene for Conference of the Parties of the Convention on Conservation of Biodiversity. Member states will highlight their commitment to the post-2020 Biodiversity Framework. This sets out a global commitment of 30% protection by the year 2030.

     PNG has a critical opportunity at this Forum to commit to expand and lead a call to action for development partners to support their aspirations.

UNDP’s long history of supporting Protected Areas:

·       UNDP has proudly 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.

·       Some of our key initiatives have included support to the drafting of the Protected Area Policy and currently the finalization of the Protected Area Bill.

·       UNDP has supported the establishment of more than two million hectares of Protected Areas and continue to support the gazettal of nearly three million hectares more.

·       Through our long-standing partnership with CEPA we have developed the first national Protected Area Finance and Investment Plan, which provides a pathway to achieve their expansion of the network.

We are also supporting the establishment of a national Biodiversity and Climate Fund. This will have a true PNG identity, registered - and operated in PNG.

·       The independent fund will a multi-stakeholder Board of Directors, ensuring that it is an example of global best practice to ensure it is able to attract, manage and disburse funds from a range of financing options.

Purpose of the forum:

·       Today, this forum is another excellent initiative that we are privileged to support.

·       Successful protected area management can only work if the experience at the local level informs the policy and decisions at the national level.

    ·       Equally, collaboration between protected areas is critical. The forum presents an opportunity to share experiences, jointly problem-solve and identify areas of partnerships.

·        I would urge you to find common solutions to shared challenges. Prioritize actions and work together with CEPA to resolve them. We are all stronger together.

·       This forum aims to support the move towards a systems and systematic approach to protected area management, away from an inefficient, fragmented approach.

·        I would like to leave you with one question to ponder over the next two days. When faced with a challenge, consider “what can be done that benefits all protected areas?”

·       This week, on World Environment Day, we also welcome the official launch of the United Nations Decade on Ecosystem Restoration (2021-2030) – to prevent, halt and reverse the degradation of ecosystems worldwide.

Support for action:

With that, I thank you once again Minister and Managing Director       for your continued support and UNDP looks forward to continuing the collaboration with your department.

Speech ends

 Tenk yu tru.    [END]