Enhancing Adaptive Capacity of Communities to Climate Change Related Floods in the North Coast and Islands Region of Papua New Guinea (2012-2015)
The impact of climate change-related hazards in Papua New Guinea has been increasing in intensity and frequency, which is particularly evident in increasingly frequent and impactful occurrences of tropical storms and cyclones able to produce significant natural disasters. Further impacts from climate change include the loss of food gardens (widely used for subsistence farming) due to extensive flooding (both in coastal and riverine areas) combined with extended periods of drought. The rising sea level is causing some of PNG’s islands to being gradually submerged. In addition, salt water intrusion is causing dropping limits of clean groundwater levels and loss of freshwater, particularly on islands and in coastal areas, which poses a challenge for innovative agricultural expansion. Communities in the highlands reported increasing episodes of hailstorms and frost have resulted in the destruction of gardens used for subsistence farming. Irregular rainfall patterns with periods of prolonged dry seasons have affect soil fertility and yield while increasing the spread of infectious diseases and pests, which are further decreasing agricultural productivity resulting in shortage of food in some areas of the country. With this drastic onset and multitude of climate change impact in the recent past, the country, its economy, environment and the people are more vulnerable and are at risk of not meeting basic human development needs. Clearly, climate change puts the achievement of the goals set out in PNG’s major development plans at risk.
Thus, this project is a joint initiative of UNDP and Office of Climate Change and Development (OCCD), aims to enhance the adaptive capacity of communities to the most pressing hazard with the largest potential for wide-spread damage – flooding. More than 2.3 million people are exposed to flood risks from the hinterlands of provinces in the North Coast (Morobe, Madang, East Sepik, West Sepik, Milne Bay and Oro Province) and the Islands Region (East New Britain, Manus, New Ireland, Bougainville and West New Britain). Major flooding events between 1990 and 2009 reveal that 22,000-26,000 people are affected annually by inland floods, and displacing roughly 6,000-8,000 individuals, as well as to resulting to deaths.
The coastal flooding is the most important climate change related hazard in the North Coast and the Islands Region, where it is not only threatening the people in the coastal communities but also important economic centers, as most provincial capitals and economic centers are situated along the coast, particularly the provincial capitals of East Sepik (Wewak), Madang (Madang), Morobe (Lae), and West New Britain (Kimbe).
This Programme seeks to enhance the adaptive capacity of coastal and riverine communities in North Coast and Islands Regions of Papua New Guinea to make informed decisions and to undertake concrete action to manage climate change-driven hazards. CCAF will focus on building and strengthening the resilience towards the occurrence of coastal and inland flooding events, including key economic centres such as Wewak, Madang, Lae and other coastal provinces of New Ireland and Northern Provinces
The project started this year and the expected outcomes include;
- Adaptation to coastal flooding-related risks and hazards for North Coast and Islands Region communities;
- Adaptation to inland flooding-related risks and hazards for river communities in East Sepik, Oro, Morobe and Madang Provinces;
- Institutional strengthening to support climate- and disaster-resilient policy frameworks; and
- Awareness raising and knowledge management.