Disaster Risk Management
PNG is located in the ‘Pacific ring of fire,’ at the collision point of several tectonic plates. The geological and topographic nature of PNG is extremely varied across a total of 462,840 km2, ranging from vast tropical inland forests and plains, to miniature island atolls. PNG is one of the most disaster prone countries in the Pacific region. PNG accounted for 25% of all the natural disasters occurred in the Pacific between 1950 and 2008. As such, PNG is ranked within the top 6 countries in Asia-Pacific as having the highest percentage of population exposed to earthquakes, and ranked close behind the Philippines, Indonesia, and Vanuatu in having the highest percentage of population exposed to severe risks of volcanic eruption. Climate change is also likely to exacerbate the risk of natural hazards by causing extreme weather events more frequent. Over 80% of the country’s population are susceptible to extremes of climate related to the El Nino Southern Oscillation. Over half a million people living in 2000 coastal villages in the country are vulnerable to coastal erosion, king tides cyclones and storm surges which is likely to be exacerbated due to climate change cause the sea-level to rise thus magnifying the impact of storm surges and waves on coastal areas. The significant social and economic ramifications of this wide range of hazards are multiplied when overlaid with low human development indicators, growing levels of inequality, poor communication and infrastructure, high rates of rural and dispersed population as well as population growth and high levels of occupational vulnerability in the country. In PNG natural disasters have consistently affected key sectors of the economy such as agriculture, infrastructure and community livelihoods. In the period between 1997 and 2002, 63 major calamities were reported in PNG that affected 4.1 million people. These events combined have resulted in damage and losses amount to approximately of K 131 million.
Given the complexity of PNG’s development context it is encouraging to see that Disaster Risk Management (DRM) arrangements with respect to hazard monitoring, emergency response and relief are reasonably advanced. However, Coordination between Government agencies on the one hand and with non-Government partners, donors and internal/external development partners on the other continues to be a challenge. There is a need to strengthen the current institutional or governance arrangements for DRM so as to improve interaction and dialogue on matters of emergency response and as well on disaster risk mainstreaming into planning and budgeting in a manner that will be sustainable to PNG over the longer term. There is a need for a more comprehensive approach to disaster risk management at the provincial level whereby local stakeholders can be mobilized to identify the root causes of vulnerability and risk and to identify existing and additionally required capacities and measures to address these. There are gaps in the ability to carry out comprehensive risk assessment to support planning and decision-making by Government and non-Government agencies. There is also a corresponding challenge to ensure that a systematic approach is established to ensure that national/sectoral and other agencies are aware of the existence of this hazard and risk information and know how to act on this to strengthen advice in relation to the planning of development interventions
UNDP’s work in the area of Disaster Risk Management (DRM) is guided – and closely coordinated with other UN agencies - by the 4th pillar of the UNDAF 2012-2015, namely ‘Environment, Climate Change and Disaster Risk Management’, and the corresponding 4-year Strategic Plan and subsequent Joint Annual Work Plans for ‘Disaster Risk Management’.
In the above context UNDP provides strategic support to the National Disaster Centre (NDC), which is the lead agency for DRM in Papua New Guinea (PNG), to strengthen its position within the wider governance context of PNG. UNDP’s capacity building efforts at the national level is complemented by tangible risk reduction strategies in high risk provinces. In support of Provincial Disaster Offices, interventions include the development of multi-year DRM plans, establishment of provincial DRM coordination mechanisms, strengthening and capacity building of Provincial Disaster Offices through training, provision of equipment etc. The main objectives of UNDP’s DRM programme are:
Contribute to the enabling environment for effective disaster risk management (DRM) – including awareness, data collection, analysis, dissemination and utilization, legislative frameworks and mainstreaming DRM into planning/budgeting;
Enhanced governance structures and systems to manage disaster risks – including institutional arrangements and capacities; and
Translate national and provincial DRM efforts into improved DRM at the local level.
Area: Environment, Climate Change and Disaster Risk Management
UNDP CO: USD 500,000 (2012-2015)
Implementing Partner(S): National Disaster Centre
Participating Agencies: UNDP
Ø Through UNDP assistance, the Government of PNG (GoPNG) strengthened the current DRM governance arrangements through revision of the National Disaster Risk Management Plan (NDRM Plan) that provides an institutional framework for DRM at all levels and paved the way for the revision of the existing DM legislation;
Ø UNDP’s advocacy and technical support provided to the government on mainstreaming DRM in development processes, led to development of a Disaster Risk Management Policy for the Department of Education and inclusion of DRM concerns in the ‘Public Investment Guidelines’ of Department of National Planning and Monitoring and the ‘Physical Planning Act’;
Ø For the first time, with the assistance from UNDP, the GoPNG has reviewed its progress and challenges in the implementation of disaster risk reduction and recovery action undertaken at the national level, in accordance with the Hyogo Framework’s priorities;
Ø UNDP in collaboration with the Applied Geoscience and Technology Division (SOPAC) is providing support to the technical agencies in the development and dissemination of risk information including production of hazard maps;
Ø UNDP assisted NDC in the development of a five year DRM strategy and corresponding funding proposals for the NDC, resulting in GoPNG pledging 14 million Kina (approximately USD 7 million) for DRM for 2012-2015. Part of the funds will be used for Community Based Disaster Preparedness (CBDP);
Ø UNDP’s capacity building efforts at the national level is complemented by tangible risk reduction strategies in two high risk provinces, namely . In support of Provincial Disaster Offices, interventions include the development of multi-year DRM plans, establishment of provincial DRM coordination mechanisms, strengthening and capacity building of Provincial Disaster Offices through training and provision of equipment.