PORT MORESBY, October 25, 2011—Today the World Bank and the Government of Papua New Guinea signed a US$1.7 million agreement to improve the resilience of PNG to the impact of natural disasters and climate change on the most vulnerable sectors of the economy.
The overall project, which has several components, will help PNG develop in-country capacity for Disaster Risk Management and Climate Change Adaption and support the integration of these topics across sectors, particularly by improving risk information for rural, coastal and highland areas.
The project will focus mainly in the agriculture and transport sectors, which are two of the sectors in PNG that are extremely vulnerable to natural disasters; the first grant agreement to be signed is for the work in the agriculture sector, with another grant upcoming for the transport sector.
“We know that natural disasters and climate change pose critical risks to Papua New Guinea's people, industries, infrastructure and landscape,” remarked World Bank Country Manager Laura Bailey. “Coastal and inland flooding cause damage to crops and harm the transport infrastructure needed to bring goods to market, cutting off farmers from their sources of income. That’s why it’s important for partners like the World Bank, who are committed to supporting the nation’s agricultural sector, to also consider risks associated with climate change and disasters.”
Severe and prolonged drought conditions threaten food and water security. In the past the 1997-1998 El-Nino influence droughts affected approximately 70 percent of the population and over PGK 80 million was spent as response.
Climate change will lead to new risks in the agricultural sector. About a third of Papua New Guinea’s Gross Domestic Product is derived from the agriculture sector which is vulnerable to climate change impacts. Among other things, it could lead to the emergence of new pest and diseases and more unpredictable weather impacting on yields. Understanding the overall impact of climate change and disasters in the sector is expected to help government and industry organizations design appropriate adaptation measures.
The road network in PNG is often disrupted due to natural disasters such as flooding and landslides. As a result both connectivity and accessibility get restricted, and movement of people, goods and services is hindered. Improving disaster resilience of the road networks in PNG is expected to ensure that roads are not closed for extended periods, and thereby to help improve rural access, market, and socioeconomic development.
The project will be implemented by the Office of Climate Change in association with the Departments of Agriculture and Livestock, and Works.