In-depth

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In 2011, UNDP convened, brokered, advocated and developed the capacity for the most transformative events of the peace-building process since the BPA. Its efforts culminated in a ceasefire agreement between factions in the southern Konnou district. Since 2006, this area had suffered from a conflict between armed groups that had not participated in the BPA. The conflict claimed over 100 lives, displaced hundreds of Bougainvilleans, denied the population access to basic services, including health and education, and represented a major stumbling block for weapons disposal.

PNG faces high levels of crisis risks with particularly vulnerable groups such as women, children and young people.The combination of man-made disasters (social fragmentation, high levels of tribal/ethnic fighting, gender-based and armed violence, widespread and growing availability of small arms) - as well as natural disasters (droughts, tropical storms, volcanic eruptions, flooding, earthquakes, tsunamis and landslides) undermine hard won development gains and hamper equitable human development. These risks are exacerbated in urban areas, with the capital Port Moresby regularly selected as one of the world’s most dangerous and least livable cities.

Combined with compromised livelihood opportunities, the demand for arms, as a means of providing community or individual security and for the provision of livelihood opportunities in the form of criminal activity, continues to grow. The ‘normalization of violence’ has revived young men’s roles as warriors, giving the glamour, status, power and income. Guns and the perpetration of armed violence are forming parts of received patterns of manhood.

Despite significant investment by the State in national level law and justice sector coordination, security improvements are yet to be felt at the community level. Young people are facing significant hardships due to high crime rates, illiteracy and poverty and are particularly vulnerable to violence and crime, both as perpetrators and as victims. Generally, men are the perpetrators of violence and women, female adolescents and girls highly vulnerable to be victims. However, men are more likely to be killed in conflict situations and as such have particular vulnerabilities.

Between 1997 and 2010, natural disasters alone affected 4 million Papua New Guineans and caused damages and losses amounting to around K 200 million. The social and economic impacts of these many challenges are multiplied when overlaid with the high levels of occupational vulnerability due to the lack of infrastructure, low human development indicators, and a high population growth rate. As a result of their exclusion from public decision-making, planning and implementation processes, women are particularly vulnerable.

The differenttypes of risks are inextricably linked. For example, displacement due to natural disasters has caused conflict between displaced people and host communities. Inversely, conflict situations further weaken communities’ capacity to mitigate, respond to and recover from disasters. Climate change is likely to increase vulnerability to crises disasters as changing weather patterns can lead to increased destruction of livelihoods and more competition for increasingly scarce resources, such as land, water and food.

Challenges for a well-coordinated and gender-sensitive whole-of-government/multi-stakeholder (horizontal) and policy-community implementation (vertical) approach to CRM include:(a) insufficient levels of capacity at the level of individuals, institutions and the enabling environment, and (b) lack of comprehensive assessments and systematic data gathering, analysis, dissemination and utilization.

This being said, there is growing awareness and understanding that CRM is a development issue and that prevention is possible by addressing vulnerabilities and reducing risks. Also, Papua New Guineans have proved themselves to be a very resilient people, especially at the community level, using traditional support mechanisms and skills to recover.

The UNDP has a strong comparative advantage in the area of CRM, including its strong technical capacity and expertise at the national, regional and global level and its role as impartial convener and broker. These traits, combined with activities and lessons learned of past years allows UNDP to target its support to PNG effectively.