Monday, May 17, 2010

Papua New Guinea faces increasing threats to biodiversity

Papua New Guinea faces increasing threats to its bio-diversity through expansion of mining, logging, industrial and agro-forestry activities and an expanding population, and needs to take appropriate action, according to Secretary for Environment and Conservation Dr Wari Iamo.

He issued the call at a workshop on convention of biological diversity (CBD) held at Loloata Island Resort recently, which was held primarily for DEC and its stakeholders to prepare the 4th national report on CBD.

Dr Iamo said PNG was now faced more challenges and the onus was on DEC and relevant Government agencies and stakeholders to the necessary steps.

“The looming and threat of environment change is another serious challenge to face,” he said.

“PNG is a signatory to the CBD, which is an international convention that promotes ‘to conserve biological diversity, promote the sustainable use of its components, and encourage equitable sharing of the benefits arising out of the utilisation of genetic resources’.

“Such equitable sharing includes appropriate access to genetic resources, as well as appropriate transfer of technology, taking into account existing rights over such resources and such technology.”

Dr Iamo said PNG had already developed a national biodiversity strategy and action plan, and the national capacity self-assessment report.

It is working on the implementation of the programme of work of protected areas (PoWPA).

The workshop was attended by senior staff of DEC and representatives from Department of National Planning, Forest Research Institute, National Agriculture Research Institute, Papa Mama Graun Conservation Trust and University of PNG.

Dr Iamo said stakeholders must be mindful that the 4th national report had to be developed in the context of government policies and strategies including Vision 2050.

He said natural resources such as agricultural products, marine products and timber were the main provider in the PNG economy.

“The country’s 85% of the population is dependent on the forest resources, sea and freshwater for their subsistence needs and the ecosystems they provide,” Dr Iamo said.

“It is, however, important that there is consultation at all levels when attempting to establish and gazette protected areas.”

He added 2010 was the ‘international year of biodiversity’ and the two key objectives were raising awareness about the importance of biodiversity; and the role of the convention in ensuring its conservation and sustainable use, and the equitable sharing of benefits.

Dr Iam said DECO planned to launch this event later this month.

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