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PNG seeks climate collaboration from industrialised nations

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Papua New Guinea's prime minister James Marape is to raise climate change and the threat to his country's biodiversity at the UN.

Marape has arrived in New York to speak at the United Nations General Assembly for the first time on Friday, when the prime minister said he would also speak on behalf of small island states.

Villagers have resorted to using tires and barrels for protection
 from the sea 
Photo: RNZ Pacific / Koro Vaka'uta

Marape said he hoped industrialised countries will help PNG to conserve its great biodiversity by mitigating the threat climate change poses.

He suggests that global climate fund institutions who repeatedly tell PNG to preserve its native forests should in exchange finance basic services in his country.\

Marape pointed out that although PNG has a large land mass, it has close to 600 outlying islands and was qualified to speak about climate change.

"We were the first country in the world to relocate climate change refigees, from the Carteret Islands.

"Papua New Guinea, including the 15 other smaller Island States in the Pacific, do not emit a lot of carbon into the atmosphere and yet they are paying the price," he said.

"Relocating the people of Kiribati, who are slowly losing their land to sea water to another land mass that is not a part of their own country is a plan that they are against as well.

"Their island is sinking but the people have chosen to stay. The world must do something. We should also cite the Caterets as well."

NG Prime Minister, James Marape (right) had a meeting with the UK's Alok Sharma, UNFCCC COP26 President Designate. New York, 21 September, 2021. Photo: PNG PM Media

"Since the Kyoto Agreement and now the Paris Accord, industrialised countries have never tried to push hard to implement the agendas agreed to in the agreements."

Marape is urging industrialised nations, to do more and to work together with communities affected by deforestation and climate change "to find a viable and sustainable way forward to achieve the SDG's as well as the Paris Accord, without compromising the development aspirations of developing country, especially the smaller Island States".

"Papua New Guinea has one of the last standing rainforests in the world and if you want me to conserve it, create an opportunity for my people and country to grow without affecting the conservation of the rainforest.

Landowners walking along a logging road in
an illegally logged forest, Metamin area,
New Hanover, PNG. Photo: Global Witness Media Hub

PNG has struggled to contain illegal logging over recent decades, but the government is seeking more benefits from licensed logging, with Marape recently telling foreign logging companies to start downstream processing activities in PNG or leave the country.

"Our rainforest is the oxygen factory of the world, therefore, it is a global asset. To conserve, we must all work together to find a balance that will preserve the rainforest while improving livelihood."

According to the PNG government, data taken from the Global Forest Watch Forest Monitoring programme has revealed that only 36 percent of earth's 14.6 million square kilometres of tropical rainforest remain intact.

The balance of 64 per cent is either degraded or completely gone.

Source: RNZ

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Climate Adaptation

Climate Change

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James Marape

PNG Prime MInister

South Pacific Islanders

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