Extractive Industries and Sustainable Human Development


Revenue from extractive industries in PNG – both non-renewable (i.e. mineral and gas) as well as renewable (forestry and fishery) - has been soaring for years and has turned the country into a strong and stable economic performer in the region, cushioning it from the effect of the global economic and financial crisis, which has impacted other countries in the Pacific. Over the past decade, PNG’s economy has been robust averaging 7% growth annually.

However, growth has not been inclusive and the country remains off track to achieve the Millennium Development Goals by 2015. The country ranks 156th out of 187 countries on the 2012 Human Development Index (HDI) with persistent levels of poverty and social inequality.   It is estimated that 40 per cent of the population lives on less than one dollar per day, with a gross national income per capita of $2,227; that 75 per cent of households depend on subsistence agriculture. Life expectancy is 61.6 years and 25 per cent of children never go to school (21% male, 29% female).

This ‘paradox of plenty’ illustrates well that while economic growth is a necessary pre-requisite for poverty reduction and development, it does not guarantee that development benefits will trickle down equitably and in an inclusive manner to all Papua New Guineans.


In order to support the Government of PNG meaningfully in addressing the paradox of plenty, UNDP supports the publication of the 2013 National Human Development Report (NHDR) that looks at the varying degrees of translation of wealth from natural resource extraction into human development (HD) and to identify feasible options for the Government to address the wealth-HD nexus and progressively meet its obligation to provide a decent standard of living to all its citizens. The vital question for policymakers in PNG is not whether but how the Government - as the duty-bearer - can best promote and protect the rights of its citizens to a decent standard of living by effectively using windfall revenues from natural resource extraction to improve the standard of living of all Papua New Guineans.

The NHDR will undertake an in-depth analysis of the potential contribution of the management of natural resources to sustainable human development. In particular, the Report will demonstrate the value of improving the management of natural resources and windfall revenues by the Government so that as a duty-bearer, Government ensures the progressive realization of its people rights to a decent standard of living, welfare and livelihoods, thus fulfilling the social contract between the Government and its citizens.

In its aim to address the nexus between NRM and HD in a comprehensive way across sectors and from a whole-of-government perspective, the NHDR will strongly draw from lessons learned and best practices from around the globe in this area to inform policy options and recommendations. In addition, the consultative process of developing the NHDR will bring together divergent views, opinions and experiences, including from the communities, and contribute to a wider debate around effective use of windfalls from natural resource into HD.

Project Information


Democratic Governance


Pacific Center:                            

USD 75,000

USD 50,000

Implementing Partner(S):       

Department of Prime Minister and National Executive Council& Department of National Planning and Monitoring

Participating Agencies: 



Ø  Technical support to the Government of PNG helped develop the 2011 Report on ‘Extractive Industries and Human Development’;

Ø  A Government delegation participated in the Asia-Pacific 2011 conference on ‘Extractive Industries and Human Development’ in Mongolia and the 2013 Pacific Symposium on the same topic, feeding into the 2013 Human Development Report;

Ø  The Government expressed its commitment to hosting the 2014 Pacific Symposium on Extractive Industries and Sustainable Human Development in Papua New Guinea.

Ø  Elaboration of the 2013 Human Development Report in progress.

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