A drought resilient project for coastal communities in Papua New Guinea was launched by NARI and key stakeholders at Kiriwina Island in the Milne Bay province on May 16 2017. This new EU-funded initiative, entitled “Strengthening food production capacity and the resilience to drought of vulnerable communities”, will be implemented in 11 provinces over the next four years (2017-2021).
The objective was to contribute to achieving a greater resilience of smallholder farming and rural communities in PNG to abiotic stresses arising from seasonal weather patterns, climate change or natural disasters and impacting on their livelihoods.
The action will be implemented in coastal and island locations of East and West Sepik, Madang, Morobe, Oro, Milne Bay, Central, Gulf, Western, Manus and West New Britain provinces. They are some of the provinces which were severely affected by the El Niño induced drought between 2015 and 2016.
The launch was witnessed by His Excellency Ioannis Giogkarakis-Argyropoulos, Ambassador and Head of Delegation of the European Union in PNG; H.E. Simon David Tonge, British High Commissioner to PNG and H.E. Pascal Maubert, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the French Republic to PNG.
In his remarks, Ambassador Ioannis said: "We know that for sure the same climate change induced drought event will occur again; we therefore need and can prepare for it. This is the only way for the population not to experience the same distress again in the future. El Niño did not only affect PNG in 2015. It had an impact worldwide in the Caribbeans, Africa and in the Pacific.The European Union sourced EUR 145 million (PGK 517 million) to address the generated food security situation worldwide. PNG was allocated EUR 3million (PGK 10.7million)."
An estimated 1000 households will be direct beneficiaries of the project activities with a further 20 – 50,000 households indirectly benefiting. The launch proceedings were welcomed and supported by Kiriwina communities through the Council of Chiefs. The occasion was also witnessed by representatives of the provincial and local level governments, NARI, EU, women groups, local communities, and other stakeholders.
Project stakeholders acknowledged the people of Kiriwina Island and Milne Bay for accepting and indicating the willingness to participate and benefit from this important development initiative. NARI will work closely with local government administrations at provincial and district levels; as well as CBOs, NGOs and farmer groups in carrying out the project activities.
Meanwhile, the next phases will see identification of partner organizations and inception and planning meetings.