Papua New Guinea signs agreement to protect 'megadiverse' Kimbe Bay

Posted March 30, 2022

Kimbe Bay lies on the northern side of the island of New Britain, in the province of West New Britain. Located within the Coral Triangle, Kimbe Bay hosts more than 400 species of hard coral and an estimated 900 species of fish.

In the face of Papua New Guinea’s extraordinary natural heritage, most of the country’s highly biodiverse marine and coastal ecosystems are not well protected or resourced. Until now, sustainable livelihoods opportunities linked to the marine environment were out of reach.

Building forward on the Blue Economy opportunity inherent in PNG, the Conservation and Environment Protection Authority has signed a Memorandum of Agreement with the West New Britain provincial government to support the establishment of a Marine Protected Area in Kimbe Bay – a renowned region of abundant marine biodiversity.

Identification and implementation of sustainable financing solutions are needed to support the effective management of the area. Key activities are intended to support processes that will build upon existing conservation and management activities while developing or upscaling sustainable revenue-generating activities within and surrounding, marine protected areas.

UNDP has entered into a partnership with Wildlife Conservation Society to support site-based consultation and implementation over four years. The Memorandum of Agreement also outlines both the commitment and financial contribution of both the national and provincial governments to support the success of the initiatives.

The Blue Economy model aims to improve human wellbeing and social equity with coastal states encouraging inclusive participation of all social groups and sectors.

This will protect, support and develop traditional cultures, carbon sequestration, and coastal resilience to help mitigate the effects of climate change. UNDP Chief Technical Advisor, Dr. Andrew Rylance, says it is extremely encouraging to see such commitment to marine conservation and the blue economy from both national and provincial governments.

“This project aims to complement previous investments to support the establishment of locally-managed marine areas and further strengthen management effectiveness of these areas. Experiences from Kimbe Bay can provide important lessons for other marine areas in the country,” Dr Rylance said.

 CEPA and West New Britain provincial government agree to protect Kimbe Bay.    

Kimbe Bay lies on the northern side of the island of New Britain, in the province of West New Britain. Located within the Coral Triangle, Kimbe Bay hosts more than 400 species of hard coral and an estimated 900 species of fish.

Many of the local communities are highly dependent on the marine resources for both sustenance and livelihoods. The proposed 1.33 million-hectare Marine Protected Area is supported by the UNDP Sustainable Financing project, financed by the Global Environment Facility.