Signing of Protected Areas Project

Nov 2, 2015

A first-of-its kind project will lead the way for protecting PNG’s unique and precious biodiversity.

The Strengthening Management Effectiveness of the National System of Protected Areas project was signed on 27 October by Conservation and Environment Protection Authority Managing Director, Mr. Gunther Joku and UNDP Deputy Resident Representative, Mr. Sukhrob Khosmukhamedov. The USD$55 million project will provide a framework for the implementation of PNG’s first comprehensive protected areas policy.

The project is the result of a partnership between the Conservation and Environment Protection Authority (CEPA), Tenkile Conservation Alliance, Woodland Park Zoo and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). UNDP and the Global Environment Facility (GEF) will support its implementation.

The project will improve conservation efforts at three important natural sites in PNG from 2015 to 2020.

·        Varirata National Park, Central Province: CEPA will promote public-private partnerships involving communities in protecting the area, whilst encouraging initiatives like recreational and research activities and exploring the area’s tourism potential;

·        The YUS Conservation Area, Madang and Morobe: led by Woodland Park Zoo’s Tree Kangaroo Conservation Program in partnership provincial governments. This is the first site in PNG dedicated to conserving the endangered Matschie’s tree kangaroo (Dendrolagus matschiei) and its habitats.

·        The proposed Torricelli Mountain Range Conservation Area, East and West Sepik Provinces: led by the Tenkile Conservation Alliance, and also involved in the conservation of Matschie’s tree kangaroo.

The Managing Director of CEPA, Mr Gunther Joku, said protecting the natural environment had always been a priority in PNG, with the country’s first protected areas established before independence.

“What makes these protected areas different is that their management is community driven, which empowers communities to lead the way, with the support of the Government and other partners,” Mr Joku said.

“We are working in partnership with local communities, non-government conservation organisations and the private sector to improve the co-management arrangements of protected areas, to improve people’s lives through the sustainable management of natural resources.”

UNDP Deputy Resident Representative, Mr. Sukhrob Khosmukhamedov, said the planned partnership approach would benefit both the natural environment and the communities involved.

“There is great potential for this project to support communities with some sustainable income-generating activities, like environmentally friendly cocoa and coffee production. I commend the Government on working together across all levels, and with private sector and civil society organisations to strengthen conservation initiatives in PNG.”

Karen Hall

Communications Coordinator

United Nations Development Programme

UN Hourse, Level 14 Deloitte Tower

Douglas Street

Port Moresby, PAPUA NEW GUINEA

kanren.hall@undp.org

Tel: +675-3212877+675-3212877

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