World Bank invests US$1.7 million for disaster risk management and climate change adaption in PNG

World Bank and the Government of PNG signed a US$1.7 million agreement to improve the resilience of PNG to the impact of natural disasters and climate change on the most
vulnerable sectors of the economy. The signing took place in Port Moresby on October 25, 2011.

Agreement signing in Port Moresby

The project will focus mainly on agriculture and transport, which are two of the sectors in PNG that are extremely vulnerable to natural disasters. The first grant agreement to be signed is for the work in the agriculture sector, with another grant upcoming for the transport sector.

The overall project, which has several components, will help PNG develop in-country capacity for Disaster Risk Management and Climate Change Adaption and support the integration of these topics across sectors, particularly by improving risk information for rural, coastal and highland areas.

“We know that natural disasters and climate change pose critical risks to Papua New
Guinea’s people, industries, infrastructure and landscape” remarked World Bank
Country Manager Laura Bailey.

“Coastal and inland flooding cause damage to crops and harm the transport infrastructure needed to bring goods to market, cutting off farmers from their sources of income. That’s why it’s important for partners like the World Bank, who are committed to supporting the nation’s agricultural sector, to also consider risks associated with climate change and disasters.”

Severe and prolonged drought conditions threaten food and water security. In the past, the 1997-1998 El-Nino induced droughts affected approximately 70 percent of the population and over PGK 80 million was spent in response.

Climate change will lead to new risks in the agriculture sector. About a third of PNG’s GDP is derived from the agriculture sector which is vulnerable to climate change impacts. Among other things, it could lead to the emergence of new pest and diseases and more unpredictable weather impacting on yields. Understanding the overall impact of climate change and disasters in the sector is expected to help government and industry organisations design appropriate adaptation measures.

The road network in PNG is often disrupted due to natural disasters such as flooding and
landslides. As a result both connectivity and accessibility get restricted, and movement of people, goods and services is hindered. Improving disaster resilience of the road networks in PNG is expected to ensure that roads are not closed for extended periods, and thereby help improve rural access, market, and socioeconomic development.

The project will be implemented by the Office of Climate Change in association with the Departments of Agriculture and Livestock and Works.

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