After completing their biggest education challenge yet – year 10 and 12 exams– the students of St. Paul’s Secondary School in Enga province Papua New Guinea this week turned their attention to even greater concerns – climate change and how it will impact the province.
EU Climate Diplomacy Week Raises Youth Climate Awareness in Enga Province
November 3, 2022
Students from grades 9 and 11 submitted short essays and drawings on climate change and a writing competition held as a part of the European Union (EU) Climate Diplomacy Week. The events were conducted by the UNDP’s Strengthening Integrated Sustainable Land Management (SISLaM) project, which is funded by the EU and operates across Enga Province.
Close to one thousand students and teachers were part of this one-day event that also featured activities such as tree planting. Awareness videos were screened and awareness talks on the EU’s and UNDP’s work on climate change in Enga Province were also held with the students & teachers.
“The Climate Diplomacy Week provides an opportunity to enhance our understanding on the crucial topic of climate change and accelerate action on adaptation in our communities as well as promote sustainability in PNG,” said Jacques Fradin, EU Ambassador to PNG.
During the EU Climate Diplomacy Weeks, EU Delegations around the world hold various events to foster dialogue and cooperation on climate change, showcase success stories and inspire further action. Climate Diplomacy Weeks is a global EU campaign that brings together key stakeholders to restore forests and protect oceans in the transition toward a more sustainable future. With 2022 as European Year of Youth, this year’s awareness-raising sessions sought to shine a light on young people’s role and contributions to building a greener future.
UNDP Resident Representative, Mr Dirk Wagener said; “Climate change will affect future and younger generations disproportionally, as its negative effects will increase throughout the coming decades. We must ensure that youth is well-equipped to both adapt to and to mitigate the negative impacts of climate change on their livelihoods. It is also important for those generations to understand the value of their stewardship over the land and its resources. The SISLaM project’s work on land management and agricultural value chains is one step in this direction but it needs to be sustained by collective action."
While distant from the world’s accelerating energy crises, the youth of St. Pauls Secondary School were given a first-hand briefing on the potential impact of climate change on their livelihoods and landscapes. Technical experts from UNDP delivered presentations on climate change mitigation and adaptation, food and nutrition security, and biodiversity and ecosystems conservation.
Even though the carbon footprint of Papua New Guineans has only a small impact on climate change, the people of PNG will not escape its impacts. Climate change is expected to have significant impacts on populations reliant on small scale agriculture – which is nearly all households in Enga Province. Highlands provinces such as Enga are expected to experience more intense weather patterns and hazards, increased crop pests, increased frequency and intensity of natural disasters and decreased food security. To mitigate these impacts the UNDP is implementing a range of activities – in coordination with local and district level governments – to enhance the climate resilience of households and their livelihoods.
The EU-funded SISLaM project worth US$5.7 million works on three levels. The first is to update the status of climate change mitigation and adaption by strengthening its integration into the development planning frameworks of provincial and district development plans. The second is a focus on strengthening food and nutritional security within Enga through improving connections between subsistence farmers and commercial value chains and helping integrate new crops and produce within production systems.
The third level enhances action on conservation, restoration, and sustainable land management through improving the capacity of environmental officers, as well as strengthening the coordination of provincial environment, climate change and forest management committees and establishing community conservation areas. By the end of 2022, the project will aim to provide funding to more than 40 local grantees to strengthen sustainable and inclusive economic development of the Enga Province of Papua New Guinea.
“Climate change will affect future and younger generations disproportionally, as its negative effects will increase throughout the coming decades. We must ensure that youth is well-equipped to both adapt to and to mitigate the negative impacts of climate change on their livelihoods. It is also important for those generations to understand the value of their stewardship over the land and its resources. The SISLaM project’s work on land management and agricultural value chains is one step in this direction but it needs to be sustained by collective action."UNDP Resident Representative, Mr. Dirk Wagener