UNDP regional director concludes successful visit to PNG
United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Regional Director for Asia and the Pacific Mr. Haoliang Xu concludes his six-day visit to Papua New Guinea today with the signing of the new three year Parliamentary Support Project agreement between UNDP and PNG National Parliament.
Today, Mr Xu met with the Speaker of the National Parliament, Hon. Theo Zibang Zurenuoc, MP to witness the signing of an agreement between the Parliament and UNDP. The agreement launches a project that aims to strengthen the Parliament’s capacity to achieve PNG’s development objectives.
“The UNDP has today reinforced its support to the PNG Parliament and the people of this country,” said Haoliang Xu. “In the coming three years we will continue our support in areas such as sustainable development, addressing corruption, and helping to reposition Parliament to play a leading role in sustaining gains of the extractive industries.”
Mr Xu has commended Papua New Guinea’s efforts to improve governance in the country, in particular through Parliament’s endorsement of the Bill on the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC).
During his first visit to Papua New Guinea, Mr Xu has met with Ministers, government officials, development partners and private sector and civil society representatives to discuss progress toward achieving the country’s development goals, aid co-ordination and effectiveness, and ensuring development strategies that maximise PNG’s resource wealth to support socially equitable growth in the country while also protecting the country’s environmental resources.
“Papua New Guinea is on the threshold of major social and economic transformation,” added Mr. Xu. “The country’s economic growth provides significant opportunity for the nation through wise revenue management to significantly improve wellbeing and human development for all citizens,” said Mr Xu.
The policy discussions between UNDP and PNG leaders occurred ahead of the release of the National Human Development Report on Extractive Industries and Human Development which is scheduled to be released later this year. The report will focus on key choices and decisions that leaders need to make in the short and medium term to ensure that human development outcomes are maximized.
Mr Xu has this week reaffirmed to development partners that the key priority of the UNDP in Papua New Guinea is working to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDG), with a particular focus in areas including health, education and infrastructure sectors. During his visit to Milne Bay province, Mr Xu met with community leaders who are participating in projects to fast-track MDG achievement.
Mr Xu also visited a Provincial Capacity Building & Enhancement Programme training lab which has supported strong improvement in the financial management capacity of the 11 participating provincial treasuries. Mr Xu says the results of the lab’s training and research programmes can have a direct impact on speeding up efforts to toward achieving the MDG.
Acknowledging the importance of financial management at all levels of society, Mr Xu yesterday visited Gaire Village in Central Province where access to financial services is being made available through UNCDF/UNDP partnership with Westpac In-store Banking, a program designed to bring banking facilities to rural communities through local businesses which act as merchants. Through In-store Banking, remote communities have the opportunity to access basic banking services such as withdrawals, deposits, transfers and bill payments. Since launching in 2013, the program now has more than 100,000 clients, of which almost 40 per cent are women.
During discussions with partners working to eradicate gender based violence, Mr Xu reaffirmed UNDP’s support to the national response plan to violence against women and family sexual violence. During his visit to Milne Bay province, Mr Xu commended the work of the Family Support Centre and the Kedu Seif Haus.
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