Newsletter December 2021

Season's Greetings 2021

Message from Papua New Guinea's Resident Representative, Dirk Wagener

It has been an incredible year for Papua New Guinea and around the world. As COVID-19 continues to present us with challenges, we continue to adapt to the new normal. As the UN, we hold a proud record of ‘stay and deliver,’ and we have demonstrated this. COVID-19 has not stopped us achieving impressive results in partnership with the Government and communities of Papua New Guinea, especially for the most vulnerable and those most in need. In 2021, the UN implemented a budgeted US$ 200 million in programmes – the largest-ever UN programme budget for Papua New Guinea. UNDP has made major contributions to this effort.

UNDP’s efforts have placed gender-based violence on the national agenda in a manner not previously seen. UNDP has led efforts to support a coalition of Parliamentarians draw the country’s attention to the impacts of this violence on families, the economy and national development.

UNDP has played a critical role in the national COVID response, procuring life-saving equipment and supporting the delivery of front-line medical services. This all comes as UNDP has coordinated disaster preparedness and response efforts generally for sudden and slow-onset events.

UNDP has facilitated ongoing dialogue under the Bougainville Peace Process between the National and Autonomous Bougainville Governments. This has been supported by our extensive programmes to lift economic development, strengthen institutions, promote human rights and mobilise youth.

UNDP has consolidated and coordinated development efforts in the Highlands, laying the foundation for a catalytic programme targeting the peace-humanitarian-development nexus.

UNDP continues to lead the way on climate action, biodiversity conservation and sustainable natural resource management in Papua New Guinea. These efforts were recognised publicly and globally by Hon. James Marape, Papua New Guinea’s Prime Minister, in his address to the UN General Assembly's s annual September meeting.

UNDP has facilitated flagship events, among them, the first ever Protected Areas’ Forum and Environment and Climate Emergency Summit. This has been complemented by work to progress the establishment of the Biodiversity and Climate Trust Fund, the finalisation of the Protected Areas’ Bill, and efforts to stimulate green economic growth.

UNDP has expanded its partnerships. For the first time, UNDP has entered into funding agreements with the Government of Korea, through KOICA to further peace efforts in the Highlands, as well as the SDG Fund and Global Fund for Coral Reefs. These latter partnerships will see the launch of a blue economy incubation facility adding a shade of blue to our commitment to supporting our green economy efforts.

Looking to 2022, UNDP will continue delivering critical interventions across its governance, environment, and peace programmes. We can expect challenges. I have however every confidence that we will overcome these challenges and continue to build, with our partners, on the impressive results we have achieved in 2021.

In closing, I wish you all a peaceful, safe, happy and healthy New Year.

SeaWomen of Melanesia: Champions of the Earth 2021

Presented annually, the Champions of the Earth award is the UN’s highest environmental honour.
To most people, fins, masks and neoprene wetsuits are recreational gear. But to the non-profit group SeaWomen of Melanesia, this year’s Champion of the Earth for Inspiration and Action, they are the tools of change.

Clad in diving gear, the SeaWomen’s 30-plus members chart the health of the fragile coral reefs that surround Melanesia, a grouping of island nations in the South Pacific. Their goal: teaching local women scuba diving and biology skills so they can monitor the health of coral reefs and create and restore marine protected areas.

“I remember the first time I went and talked to a fishing village to try and recruit some women to join our programme,” recalled Israelah Atua, a member of the SeaWomen. “They didn’t even want to hear us. But we convinced them that marine conservation is necessary to protecting all of our livelihoods.”

The SeaWomen work in what’s known as the Coral Triangle, which covers some 5.7 million square kilometres between the Great Barrier Reef and the island archipelagos of Melanesia and South East Asia. Brimming with marine life, it is one of the world’s premier destinations for underwater tourism and home to a major fisheries industry. It is also exceptionally threatened by surging human populations and waste levels.

SeaWomen undergo a rigorous marine science training.

Coral reefs the world over are under siege from climate change, overfishing and pollution. Since 2009 alone, almost 14 per cent of the world’s corals have disappeared, according to a recent report from the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). Many of those that remain are endangered.

Healthy reefs are critical to withstand climate change impacts, including ocean acidification and extreme events. But the report shows that, unless drastic action is taken to limit global warming to 1.5°C, a 70 - 90 per cent decrease in live coral on reefs could occur by 2050.

The good news is that coral reefs are resilient and can recover if the marine environment is safeguarded. The SeaWomen initiative, which is run by the Coral Sea Foundation, has since 2018 worked across the Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea to promote restoration of coral reefs and support the establishment of no-fishing areas. It also supports marine protected areas in both countries, to ensure there is abundant fish life for villagers to rely on in future.

For the SeaWomen, combining indigenous knowledge with science is central to their engagement with communities. Learning from community members about where fish are most plentiful at a certain time of year, or matching the color change in coral reefs with underwater survey data, or understanding how tides may shift as a function of climate change is important to the outreach they do to demonstrate the value of preservation and marine protected areas.

But equally, the SeaWomen say, they are challenging indigenous conventions about a woman’s role in her household, community and society.

“When you train a woman, you train a society,” said Evangelista Apelis, a SeaWoman and co-director of the SeaWomen programme based in Papua New Guinea. “We're trying to educate women, get women on board, so they can then go back and make an impact in their own families and their society as well."

The SeaWomen undergo rigorous marine science training, which is supplemented by practical training in reef survey techniques and coral reef ecology. Then they learn to dive.

“What I love most about my job is being able to experience the beauty of the underwater world,” said Apelis. “Before going down, you just imagine all sorts of things but the reality is even more mesmerizing – the fish, the shipwrecks… it’s like everything just came alive.”

Each of the SeaWomen is supported through internationally recognized scuba diving certification, and taught how to use GPS, underwater cameras and video to survey fish and coral populations on the Coral Triangle’s reefs. Their work since 2018 has led to proposals for more than 20 new marine protected areas in the waters of Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands.

Presented annually, the Champions of the Earth award is the UN’s highest environmental honour. The United Nations Environment Programme’s Champions of the Earth and the Young Champions of the Earth recognize individuals, groups and organizations whose actions have a transformative impact on the environment.

“Bel Isi” - Sustaining Peace the Melanesian way

Many will remember the outbreak of the civil crisis in 1988, and know of the Bougainville Peace Agreement signed in August 2001. The United Nations established an observer mission to help oversee the creation of the new Autonomous Bougainville Government and the implementation of the Peace Agreement. Fast forward to 2021, both Governments are negotiating peace the Melanesian way.

The successful conduct of the 2019 referendum on Bougainville's future political status was a milestone event.

The positivity and unity experienced in the lead up to, and conduct of, the referendum - and the response to the result of the referendum by the vast majority of Bougainvilleans, highlights what can be achieved by working together through an inclusive, informed process. It has been described by many in Bougainville as a key step in the healing process.

Dialogue of this nature in any community or country is challenging. In order to succeed and serve its purpose, there must be integrity and commitment to secure lasting peace in a manner that is respected by the Parties involved.

Behind the scenes was a team of experts from the United Nations Development Programme, both national and international, and other partners working around the clock to provide much-needed support leading up to the referendum. UNDP provided significant support alongside the national government and development partners.

Together, a concerted effort was made across Bougainville to support the peace process, remove weapons from communities, and for those divided by the conflict to reconcile. UNDP supported critical meetings to progress the political dialogue between the national government and Autonomous Bougainville Government, where key referendum-related resolutions were passed including formation of the Bougainville Referendum Commission, the appointment of an International Chair, and allocation of a budget to run the referendum.

Lessons from the past indicate that while information and communication about the referendum and Bougainville Peace Agreement is needed, what is just as important is for communities to develop their own, joint vision about what a peaceful and prosperous community will look like in the future, and the roles they can play in that vision.

Extensive investments in awareness campaigns - from local to national - with enrolment and polling opportunities, ensured the process was inclusive and understood. Special focus was given to women, youth, churches, veterans and communities to empower them to participate in the process. Considerable effort also was made to include the various outlier groups in the process. Instruments such as the constituency-level Referendum-Ready Decelerations, referendum checklists, and the Joint Weapons Disposal Secretariat, were used to guide local level interventions.

Fast forward to 2021, the United Nations Resident Coordinator was invited by the two Governments to Chair the Intergovernmental Dialogue. The UNDP Resident Representative, Mr. Dirk Wagener, assumed this role (as acting UN Resident Coordinator) following the departure of Mr. Gianluca Rampolla in July 2021.

In his opening address during the second Intergovernmental Dialogue, held in Wabag, Enga Province attended by Prime Minister, the Hon. James Marape and Bougainville's President, the Hon. Ishmael Toroama, Mr. Wagener said the United Nations is committed to bringing to this role the neutrality, impartiality and confidentiality expected of the UN.

He also reaffirmed the commitment of the participants to the principles of the consultation process adopted by the Joint Post-Referendum Ministerial Planning Task Force of the, “overarching principles of the post-referendum process.”

Mr. Wagener said the United Nations is committed to bringing to this role the neutrality, impartiality and confidentiality expected of the UN. Photo: UNDP Papua New Guinea

“In honouring the spirit of the Bougainville Peace Agreement, the consultation process will sustain peace in Bougainville through a collaborative engagement between Bougainville and the rest of Papua New Guinea, based on mutual trust, mutual respect, and mutual responsibility,” said Mr Wagener.

Mr. Wagener stated that the dialogue will be successful when we follow the Melanesian culture where “values and understanding as Melanesian sisters and brothers is key to dialogue. This includes integrity and honesty in our deliberations which contributes to reconciliation and to building trust and solidarity."

The Post-Referendum process and dialogue will continue in 2022. The successful processes since the signing of the Bougainville Peace Agreement and conduct of the Referendum demonstrates the true Melanesian approach to conflict resolution and peace building. The Peace Agreement is recognised as a successful agreement globally as there has not been a relapse back into conflict since 2001.

"Bel isi" in Melanesian tok pisin language means "peace." Photo: UNDP Papua New Guinea

‘Bel isi’ in tok pisin means "peace, agreement, or consensus between parties who are in dispute or conflict." The dialogues and negotiation between the two Governments have always demonstrated values, understanding and respect in a truely Melanesian way.

Pastor Ikupu's recipe for adapting to climate change

"Farming is one of my greatest interests in life” - Pastor Aihi Ikupu of Central Province. Photo: Seru Kepa /UNDP Papua New Guinea
Papua New Guinea's National Adaptation Plan is a recipe that can help farmers meet climate challenges and increase food security. UNDP toured Pastor Ikupu’s farm in Central province to find out how.

Pastor Aihi Ikupu lives in Hisiu, a small village dotted along the Hiritano Highway in Central Province 100km North-West of Port Moresby, the capital city of Papua New Guinea. A subsistence farmer, his two hectares of land produce crops to support his wife and five children, and the community of Kairiku district.

A leader of his local Christian Life Church, Pastor Ikupu faces many climate-related challenges that hinder his harvests. But he is learning to adapt. Papua New Guinea’s National Adaptation Plan, being developed with UNDP's assistance, is specifically focused on agriculture, health, transport and infrastructure to respond to challenging climate scenarios.

Recognized as an acute challenge for Papua New Guinea, UNDP is supporting the Government in their commitment to mainstream climate action in policy planning and delivery. The Advancing PNG’s National Adaptation project supports interventions to address climate change adaptation, particularly in rural areas frequently exposed to external shocks.

Pastor Ikupu shows how agricultural farmers are affected by climate change and how some of his adaptive solutions help to ensure the country’s food producers can adjust to climate impacts.

The pastor says rising temperatures is a major challenge that reduces the yield of his produce, encouraging weed growth and a rise in pests that damage his crops. He also sees changes in precipitation patterns. This increases short-term crop failures and decreases long-term production.

Pastor Ikupu farm's produce includes grapes and taro, however he is also well known for his rice production.

Pastor Ikupu is now well known for his rice production. Photo: Seru Kepa / UNDP Papua New Guinea

“In the beginning, I did not generate a large harvest. But after the Department of Agriculture and Livestock visited my farm, they could see I had established rice and other crops, so they supported me to travel to China with them to acquire new methods and skills in rice farming on a larger scale,” he said.

Pastor Ikupu was part of a 19-member, two-week delegation to Guangzhou, in Guangdong province, where he was able to visit rice fields to broaden his knowledge on rice farming under the China-Pacific Agriculture Technology Training Programme.

He learned new farming techniques to utilize when adapting to climate change - such as integrating livestock with rice production, improving soil quality and implementing effective irrigation practices.

The pastor was also selected by the Fresh Produce Development Agency as a village extension worker - a voluntary model farmer trained to help build capacities of local farmers to adapt to climate change.

“During the long drought periods I rely on mulching, meaning that I don’t weed around my crops, I let the weeds grow so they provide a canopy for shade, protecting the rice and other produce from sunlight,” said Pastor Ikupu, who constructed a small-scale irrigation system to water crops daily.

“I use my small-scale irrigation system in drought". Photo: Seru Kepa/ UNDP Papua New Guinea

In heavy rainfall, Pastor Ikupu uses flooding to his advantage as natural irrigation. He also adds chicken manure as fertilizer to flood water to produce richer crop yields. “The flooding is beneficial, we don’t need to pump water into the soil, we can just let nature run its course.”

The United Nations Development Programme, together with the Climate Change Development Authority, is developing the National Adaptation Plan for Papua New Guinea. The National Adaptation Plan aims to enhance adaptive capacity, strengthen resilience and reduce vulnerability to climate change.

Ending corruption is key to increasing prosperity

Papua New Guinea was one of the first countries in the Asia- Pacific to ratify the United Nations Convention Against Corruption, in 2007, and continues the journey of ending corruption to increase prosperity for all.

As Dirk Wagener, UN Resident Coordinator a.i. in Papua New Guinea, wrote on International Anti-Corruption Day 2021, it is very encouraging that Papua New Guinea has made visible progress in establishing key anti-corruption instruments over the past few years.

Corruption affects all of society by diverting funds from core basic services, resulting in inequality and undermining trust in public institutions. In particular, the key adoption of the Organic Law on the Independent Commission Against Corruption has enabled the establishment of the Independent Commission Against Corruption, and the adoption of the Whistleblower Act in 2020.

The latest achievements in Papua New Guinea’s fight against corruption and towards greater accountability and transparency has seen further work on the National Anti-Corruption Plan of Action (2020 - 2025) to implement a National Anti-Corruption Strategy (2010 – 2030). Preparations are also underway for the National Right to Information Policy aiming for the adoption of the Right to Information Law.

The United Nations Development Programme, jointly with the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, is implementing the Preventing and Countering Corruption in Papua New Guinea Project, funded by the European Union.

This Project aims to strengthen the Government’s commitment and capacities to address corruption in line with the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) and to effectively progress the Sustainable Development Goals for the benefit of all Papua New Guineans.

Key project partners include the Government of Papua New Guinea, the Department of Justice and Attorney-General and other key national agencies, civil society, and communities.

The Project will also direct specific support towards core anti-corruption institutions, particularly the new Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC), the Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary, national and provincial fraud units, and the Office of the Public Prosecutor to strengthen their capacities to investigate and prosecute corruption.

An integral part of the EU-PNG Partnership for Good Governance, the overall goal of the Project is to substantially reduce corruption. The key message of the 2021 Anti-Corruption Day was that every person has the right and responsibility to tackle corruption. Together with Government, civil society, the private sector, development partners, media, and youth - all citizens can contribute to combatting corruption in Papua New Guinea.

By doing so, Papua New Guinea can harness and steward its abundant natural and human resources for the benefit of all people across the country and ensure that development is inclusive, benefits all and does not destroy or unsustainably exploit the natural resources it depends on.

Your Right, Your Role: Say #NoToCorruption | #IACD2021 - More About UNDP's Work: Anti-Corruption efforts given critical boost with new project

Women making the change

In many parts of Papua New Guinea, fear of violence and harassment has caused a set back to the lives and small businesses of many women, but new candidates who now intend to enter politics aim to change this for the better.

“People within the community have approached me to stand for election - to revive the work and services my father had supported,” explains a local female candidate intending to enter politics.

This candidate says she may be privileged to use her father's name and legacy, but also is aware of the challenges she faces as a woman in her community and believes that she can bring more positives to make a difference.

“My father was the former member of the electorate I am intending to contest,” explained this candidate at the 2021 Southern Region Workshop on Women’s Political Participation. “I grew up enjoying the quality of services provided, and the safety in community. Today, I cannot access services and cannot walk freely in the community I call home."

2022 is set to be a big year as Papua New Guinea goes to the polls in June for the National General Election. It will also be a big year for the United Nations Development Programme and its partner - the Integrity of Political Parties and Candidates Commission (IPPCC) - to continue supporting aspiring women candidates and the political parties involved in work to address the gaps in women’s leadership roles within the parties. There are currently no women in Parliament.

2021 Southern Region Workshop on Women’s Political Participation.

The first major event of 2022 is the National Forum on Women in Political Leadership where sixty women leaders from across Papua New Guinea will meet with executives of political parties. This forum, to be held during 18-20 January 2022, will allow participants to understand issues faced by women candidates in past elections and approaches to address them.

The forum participants will also discuss strategies for common issues that arise during elections, including electoral laws and rules and how to deal with them, and identify entry points to engage political parties and to be supported by them.

The Women in Political Participation and Representation Training Manual for Women Candidates - a joint publication by the IPPCC and UNDP - will be launched at the forum. The manual provides practical guidance to help design and run smart and effective campaigns. Following this event, both partners plan to hold a practice parliament in February 2022 to support national awareness and advocacy on women’s participation in leadership roles and politics.

The National Forum and initiatives in support of women’s political participation and leadership roles are part of the Women Make the Change Project, funded by the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the New Zealand Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

UNDP supporting Enga's lands of opportunity

UNDP is supporting local smallholder farmers in Enga Province with Low Value Grants - as seed funding opportunities for community-based projects, under the Strengthening Integrated Sustainable Landscape Management in Enga Province Project.

Delegates from UNDP, the European Union, the Climate Change Development Authority, and key government partners recently visited one grantee’s project site an hour from Wabag town, the capital of Enga Province.

The Lagaip Poverty Relievers Association hosted this December delegation in Wonepap village, in Pilikambi district, to showcase the work they plan to do with their PGK90, 000 Low Value Grant. This seed funding is part of the Strengthening Integrated Sustainable Landscape Management in Enga Province Project - being delivered by UNDP and funded by the EU. The association aims to support community-based local projects to launch climate-friendly, sustainable economic development and inclusive livelihoods initiatives.

Set on five hectares of agricultural land, the proposed site will host a potato nursery to grow seedlings to supply the association’s 100 farmers and mass-cultivate the local organic potato varieties grown traditionally in the region.

Association Coordinator Mr. Tony Sulupin, said the Low Value Grant was a great achievement and opportunity that they have not been able to access before to kickstart the project.

“We are an active community, and we have many projects in the village. But funding has always been a major setback for our community,” Mr Sulupin said. “I would like to thank the UNDP and EU for this funding allocation, my association will be able to do a lot with this funding.”

Inland fish farming is another proposed project with 50 subsistence fish farmers in the association. Each farmer will require five small ponds on their land lots. The delegates visited one of the farmers’ fishponds which breeds freshwater tilapias.

Local food is grown without using any fertilizers or chemicals. Photo: Jamshed Khoshbeen/ UNDP Papua New Guinea

The visiting delegates also enjoyed a local market sampling fresh produce including potatoes, greens and strawberries and meeting local farmers. The delegates were impressed by the landscape and how naturally the local food is grown, without using any fertilizers or chemicals.

UNDP Deputy Resident Representative, Mr. Edward Vrkic said, “This funding will provide catalytic support to help recipients scale their efforts. We know that export destinations are growingly interested in accessing these products and there remains incredible opportunity to improve livelihoods."

The delegation also included the EU’s Deputy Head of Cooperation, Mr. Adrien Mourgues; CCDA General Manager and REDD+ and Mitigation Division, Ms. Gwen Sissiou; EU Team Leader Planet and Prosperity, Mr. Marco Arena; Innovative Financing Specialist for Forestry and Climate Change, Ms. Daisy Lepon; Principal Policy Advisor, Economic, Research, Policy, Planning Programme of the Department of Agriculture and Livestock, Mr. Timothy Lawton; Enga Provincial Administration; and the UNDP Project team.

Delegates discuss local culture and arts during a project steering committee meeting with Enga's Provincial Administrator, Dr. Samson Amean. Photo: UNDP Papua New Guinea

By 2022, the project will aim to provide funding to more than 40 grantees to strengthen the sustainable and inclusive economic development of the Enga Province of Papua New Guinea. It also aims to support local organisations to improve and support climate-friendly livelihood opportunities.

Femili PNG supporting women and families in the Highlands

Under the EU-UN Spotlight Initiative, local NGO Femili PNG works with Eastern Highlands Community Development Office to address family and sexual violence issues in communities.

In Papua New Guinea, disputes and issues in communities are usually resolved through mediations facilitated by community leaders. It is not always easy, but despite many challenges their mediation is fundamental to maintain peace and social order.

Family and sexual violence issues are often resolved by community leaders working with partners. A local nongovernment organization, Femili PNG identified a need to empower leaders to address these issues in their communities. With guidance from the Eastern Highlands Community Development Office, Femili PNG targeted areas with high rates of family and sexual violence, and child abuse.

With the support of the EU-UN Spotlight Initiative, Femili PNG sought to initiate a system of community committees, where respected leaders, service providers, officials and representatives took ownership of family and sexual violence as an issue affecting their villages.

As a first step to achieving this, Femili PNG’s Outreach team conducted information sessions for community leaders in Daulo and Lufa Districts. Aside from increasing awareness of family and sexual violence, the sessions allowed the participants to select ten individuals from each district to create the community FSV committees.

Femili PNG provided in-depth training on family and sexual violence, and related laws, child abuse, and trauma-informed care of survivors. The week-long training heightened the committees’ understanding of the broader context of gender-based violence and child abuse in Papua New Guinea and internationally. This included the laws that govern these acts of violence, and how they can help survivors in their communities to access assistance.

Through the training, some participants admitted to perpetrating past abuse without realising the impact of their actions. The training also opened many participants’ eyes to what survivors of violence go through, and the long-term psychological effects.

“We have learnt that that the words we speak have emotional and psychological implications,’’ said Lufa District Health Officer in Charge, Gabriel Wau.

Missy Kuku, a Council of Women’s representative, also spoke on the mental health impacts of family and sexual violence. “We are too concerned with the physical injuries of people who undergo abuse and violence and pay little attention to the emotional and psychological injuries inflicted upon these survivors,” she said.

For the committee members who also are village court officials, the training on related laws, such as the Family Protection Act, helped them to understand protection orders to assist them in their work. Committee members developed action plans including awareness-raising sessions and child safety within their communities, supported by Femili PNG’s Outreach team.

Femili PNG, and the community committees, are appreciative of UNDP’s support and continue to meet regularly to assist survivors. Femili PNG will continue to work with the committees to address family and sexual violence issues - one community at a time.

Tides turning on Gender-based Violence in Papua New Guinea

UNDP is proud to partner with government to ensure women and children can live safely and with dignity - Dirk Wagener. Photo: UNDP Papua New Guinea
2021 was a tremendous year for Ending Gender-based violence in Papua New Guinea. UNDP, with EU-UN Spotlight Initiative and 'Women Make the Change' teams worked with national and provincial partners to achieve significant milestones.

A successful year in Papua New Guinea for the prevention, response and advocacy of Gender Based Violence, 2021 saw the First Hearing of the Special Parliamentary Committee on Gender Based Violence in May with a tabling of its report at the August sitting of Parliament. Several recommendations were agreed to, with a successful push to establish the National GBV Secretariat with funding.

The National Government allocated, in its 2022 National Budget, for the first time funding to support a Secretariat and the implementation of the National GBV Strategy (2016-2025).

Chairman of the Committee, Hon. Charles Abel was happy to announce substantial funding to the National GBV Secretariat responsible for coordination of the national strategy. The recurrent budget for the Department for Community Development and Religion has an allocation of PGK 7.93 million to the National GBV Secretariat.

“The Public Investment Programme Budget has even more funding allocated – a massive 39 million Kina per year over 5 years, which amounts to 198 million Kina in total,” announced stated Hon. Charles Abel.

Mr. Jerry Ubase, Secretary of the Department for Community Development and Religion said he is committed to urgently establish the National GBV Secretariat to ensure proper prevention crisis response services are provided across the country.

“The allocation for GBV in the national budget is a first of its kind. I am truly thankful to UNDP for the technical advice and direct support to my office which made this possible,” said Mr. Ubase.

The United Nations Development Programme, through the EU-funded Spotlight Initiative, is supporting GBV activities across the country, both with Government and civil society.

First National GBV website launched with MoU signing

Secretary of Department for Community Development and Religion, Mr. Jerry Ubase (left) briefs development partners. Photo: UNDP Papua new Guinea

Papua new Guinea’s first ever national website on gender-based violence was launched this month, with support from UNDP under the EU-funded Spotlight Initiative. Speaking at the launch, the Secretary of the Department for Community Development and Religion, Mr. Jerry Ubase briefed development partners on the status of the National GBV Secretariat and commitment to achieve the goals set out in the national strategy for reducing violence in the country.

“GBV hurts the people of our country and it undermines our national development. We must do better to support provincial governments, civil society and communities to reduce violence,” Mr Ubase said.

A Memorandum of Understanding also was signed by Mr Ubase with UNDP and the Consultative Implementation Monitoring Council’s Family and Sexual Violence Action Committee (FSVAC) which aims to strengthen coordination of GBV activities between the three bodies.

On signing the MOU, the UN Resident Coordinator a.i. and UNDP Resident Representative, Mr. Dirk Wagener said the United Nations Development Programme is proud to partner with Government to ensure women and children can live safely and with dignity.

"This partnership with the Department for Community Development and Religion is central to our efforts. We are glad to have supported them to develop their national GBV website and look forward to working with DFCDR and the FSVAC team next year,” said Mr Wagener.

Representatives from the European Union, Australian High Commission, UNDP, UN Women, UNFPA and the Justice Services and Stability for Development Program attended the event. The Head of Cooperation of the European Union Delegation, Mr Rene Mally, stated that “no woman, no child, should experience violence, at home or elsewhere”.


“The European Union partners with the people of Papua New Guinea, the Government, the United Nations and civil society, to help eliminate Gender Based Violence. We need to act together.”

The new website is accessible at: www.ngbvs.gov.pg and will be managed by National GBV Secretariat, to drive implementation of the National GBV Strategy.

An ambitious dream

'Climate Islands' Podcast - Episode 4: Renewable Energy
In episode four of the 'Climate Islands' Podcast we feature Ms Karen Anawe, Project Manager of the renewable energy component of the ‘Support to Rural Entrepreneurship, Investment and Trade (STREIT) programme based in Wewak, East Sepik Province, Papua New Guinea.

Only five months into her job, Ms Anawe has been busy with key Government partners, especially the East Sepik and Sandaun provincial administrations, working to successfully implement renewable energy use in selected rural Government institutions in both provinces.

As the Project Manager of the Renewable Energy component, Karen has set herself an ambitious dream of creating a sustainable ‘satellite township’ that generates power using only renewable energy.

A dream that is also shared by Government colleagues in both provinces. If successful, Karen hopes that the model can be used throughout Papua New Guinea.

In this episode, Ms Anawe talks about the progress they’ve made so far and what the renewable energy component of the STREIT programme aims to achieve. Listen: Climate Islands Podcast 4.

Together we can do great things

Remote Moi and Kassai communities in Vanimo Green District, of West Sepik. Photo: Michael Sembenombo/ UNDP Papua New Guinea
“Do your work diligently and serve from your heart. Don’t worry if you are not recognized. You will smile when you are rewarded only from above” - Michael Sembenombo, UNDP Papua New Guinea

His work takes Michael Sembenombo on travels throughout Papua New Guinea, to the farthest reaches of the country. The remote Moi and Kassai communities in the Vanimo Green District in West Sepik is his most vivid destination so far.

“Here you are back in time. No communication, nor exposure to the outside world,” he recalls. “The struggle is real, and the people are resilient. Their survival depends entirely on their natural environment.”

On a mission. Photo: Michael Sembenombo/ UNDP Papua New Guinea

Mr Sembenombo works in monitoring, evaluation, quality assurance and compliance based at the United Nations Development Programme's country office in Port Moresby, with regular missions into the field on foot or by canoe.

Mr Sembenombo (left) proud to "serve the people of this great nation”. Photo: UNDP Papua New Guinea

“I work closely with project colleagues to ensure all their project management requirements are up to date in meeting the UNDP corporate standards and deadlines. I ensure that the project teams are fully supported based on their needs to deliver effectively in compliance with UNDP’s project standards and principles,” he explains.

He is proud to be a part of the vibrant UNDP culture working towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, and addressing development challenges ranging from Governance, Gender, Environment and Conservation, Climate Change, Disaster Risk Reduction to Renewable Energy.

“When beneficiaries smile and say thank you, it makes me proud of the great teamwork and passion we have to serve the people of this great nation,” he says.

UNDP’s contribution to the development of national policies and legislation, as well as reaching out to the most vulnerable people by working through local community service organisations and nongovernment organisations, also makes him proud.

On a mission. Photo: Michael Sembenombo/ UNDP Papua new Guinea

“It is, in a way, building local capacity to reach the masses out there who are unreachable,” Michael said.

Michael comes from Nuku, in West Sepik Province, and graduated from the University of Papua New Guinea with a Bachelor of Arts, majoring in Political Science and Social Work.

When he is not working, you find him attending church choir, singing at his local church. One place he would like to visit is Jerusalem, Israel because of its rich history. His favourite quote is by Saint Mother Theresa of Calcutta: “I can do things you cannot, you can do things I cannot. Together we can do great things.”

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