Blue Economy Incubation Facility launched in West New Britain Province

By providing financial and technical support to local blue micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises, the facility will aim to preserve the unique marine biodiversity of Kimbe Bay, which is home to the second most coral reef species in the world.

May 23, 2024

The six successful blue enterprises take a group photo with UNDP, KPMG, provincial and national government counterparts to mark the launching of the Blue Economy Incubation Facility

As part of its activities under the ‘Gutpela Solwara, Gutpela Bisnis’ project, UNDP and UNCDF have launched a Blue Economy Incubation Facility in West New Britain Province. The official launch of the facility was celebrated yesterday on 15 May 2024 during a ceremony held in Kimbe, West New Britain Province.

The Governor of West New Britain Province, Hon. Sasindran Muthuvel, MP; the Provincial Administrator, Mr. Leo Wapmani; Conservation and Environment Protection Authority’s (CEPA) Director for Sustainable Environment Programme, Ms. Kay Kalim; UNDP Resident Representative, Mr. Nicholas Booth; and the Country Lead of UNCDF, Mr. Wycliff Ngwabe, all attended the opening ceremony. 

Six blue enterprises in West New Britain have been selected as the first cohort of businesses to be supported by the new facility. These six businesses are LA Transport Services, Potou Women’s Resources Limited, Walindi Plantation Resort, Mahoina Na Dari, Conas Trading and Boge Investment Limited. Each of the blue businesses will be receiving small grants. Throughout the next 12 months, these six grantees will also receive continued mentoring and training to assist them in expanding their business operations.

Mr. Booth officiating at the launching of the blue economy incubation facility

“Papua New Guinea is not only one of the world’s megadiverse countries, but its location on the Coral Triangle also makes it one of the world’s most megadiverse marine environments. Kimbe Bay is the anchor of the Coral Triangle and thousands of people in the province depend on the local coral reefs and marine life for their livelihoods,” UNDP Resident Representative, Mr. Nicholas Booth stated at the ceremony. 

In the past decades, pollution, sedimentation from oil palm production and unsustainable use of marine resources has increasingly threatened this marine biodiversity, which has had concerning consequences for the local communities. By strengthening the province’s Blue Economy, the facility will seek to strengthen local livelihoods, which will enable people to make a living from the sea in a sustainable manner. 

“We need to help these reef positive enterprises to build an economy based on conservation. However, access to finance remains limited in Papua New Guinea and high interest rates often make it difficult for micro-, small-, and medium-sized enterprises to get started. To help sustainable businesses to grow, we must provide them access to skills trainings and financial products that will enable to take their operations to the next level and this is precisely what we hope to achieve with this Incubation Facility,” Mr. Booth explained. 

In his remarks, the Governor of West New Britain Province, Hon. Sasindran Muthuvel, MP, expressed his gratitude to UNDP for its long-term commitment to the preservation of marine life and economic development in the province.  “This is an excellent programme, which we are proud to be partnering with UNDP to improve the livelihoods of our people who depend on our marine resources for their daily survival.  On behalf of the West New Britain Provincial Government, we thank UNDP for your presence here and for helping us in preserving our unique marine environment. We will do everything in our power to sustain and build on the successful programmes we are running together,” Governor Muthuvel stated in his remarks at the launching ceremony.

Ms. Kalim pointed out that the government through CEPA is an implementing partner. She outlined the important work the government has done in collaboration with development partners and NGOs in marine conservation work in Kimbe Bay.

“The Locally Managed Marine Areas play an important role in the sustainable use of coral reefs and marine resources in the Kimbe Bay. All the businesses that were selected should play an important role within their communities to work towards marine conservation. In the next call for submission to the facility, more LMMAs should be considered,” said Ms. Kalim.

The Blue Economy Incubation Facility is implemented jointly by UNDP and UNCDF under the ‘Gutpela Solwara, Gutpela Bisnis’ Project with support from the National Government and the West New Britain Provincial Administration. The project is funded by the Global Fund for Coral Reefs and the Joint SDG Fund.