Newsletter DECEMBER 2023 & JANUARY 2024

Training a new generation of renewable energy experts in PNG

In December, UNDP joined the Papua New Guinea University of Technology in hosting a three-week training on renewable energy for over 30 electricians, engineers and PNG Power employees from East and West Sepik Provinces.

The participants learned about expanding access to renewable energy in rural and remato areas, particularly through the use of solar panels. Harnessing the potential of renewable energy is critical in Papua New Guinea, where only approximately 18% of the population currently enjoys regular access to electricity and where connecting communities to the main grid is often challenging due to their remote or mountainous location.

Mr. Bobby Tagen, a computer science teacher and a licensed electrician from Vanimo Secondary School, was among the participants of the training. In 2023, UNDP installed a solar photovoltaic system on the school grounds, thus ensuring reliable electricity access to over 800 students.

Electrician and teacher Bobby Tagen receiving his certificate at the end of the training.
“The system has been working perfectly since it was installed . This training taught me how such systems can be kept running for a longer period of time. This knowledge will help me maintain the system in our school and motivated me to continue promoting the use of solar power in my community,” Mr. Tagen said after training.
The training was held under the renewable energy component of the “Support to Rural Entrepreneurship, Investment and Trade” (STREIT) programme, which aims to expand access to renewable energy in the rural areas of East and West Sepik Provinces.

The British High Commission visits UNDP's initiatives in Kimbe Bay

This January, a joint delegation of representatives from the British High Commission, Blue Planet Fund, KPMG and UNDP visited Kimbe Bay to observe the work of UNDP's 'Gutpela Solwara, Gutpela Bisnis' programme in West New Britain Province.

The programme seeks to preserve Kimbe Bay's coral reefs and other marine biodiversity by bolstering West New Britain’s sustainable blue economy. Later this year, the programme will launch a Blue Accelerator, which will provide technical and financial support to local micro, small and medium sized women-led enterprises to help them expand their blue initiatives.

During the three-day the mission, the delegation learned about the threats facing local marine biodiversity and visited the businesses, which have been shortlisted for support from the programme.

The delegation met with local blue MSMEs, which have been shortlisted for UNDP's technical and financial support later this year.
"It's been fantastic to be in Papua New Guinea this week to meet with the communities that are going to benefit from the funding and technical support that they will receive through this programme proudly supported the UK. It's been inspiring to hear about their ideas for growing the blue economy, while simultaneously conserving the beautiful corals here in West New Britain," stated Morgan Riley, Development Counsellor from the Foreign, Commonwealth, Development Office of the UK in Fiji, at the end of the mission.
The "Gutpela Solwara, Gutpela Bisnis" project is funded by the Global Fund for Coral Reefs and the Joint SDG Fund. Through its Blue Planet Fund, the United Kingdom has contributed £33 million to the Global Fund For Coral Reefs.

UNDP assists the Permanent Parliamentary Committee to advance gender equality in PNG

Instances of gender, family and sexual violence remain unfortunately high in Papua New Guinea. Studies suggest approximately 2 out of 3 Papua New Guinean women have experienced gender-based violence in some form and the frequency of sorcery accusation related cases is increasing.

In 2022, the Government of Papua New Guinea elevated its commitment to address these issues by establishing a Permanent Parliamentary Committee on Gender Equality and Women's Empowerment. With UNDP's support, the Committee organizes public hearings, hosts mass events and prepares reports on the most severe issues impacting Papua New Guinean women and girls.

Watch the video below to learn more about the Committee and our biggest accomplishments in 2023!

The 'Strengthening PNG's Parliament' project is generously funded by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade of the Government of Australia.

UNDP hosts its first ever Youth Leadership Training in Hela Province

Climate change is increasing the risk of intercommunal conflicts in the Highlands of Papua New Guinea. As youth are particularly vulnerable to participating and being affected by conflict, UNDP hosted its first ever training on youth leadership in Hela Province this month. Over 30 youth from the province, including former youth combatants, learned practical skills to mitigate and prevent climate-induced conflicts in their communities.

Watch the video below to hear from some of the participants how the training changed their views on the role of youth in building peace and community resilience to climate change.

The training was conducted under UNDP’s “Preventing Climate-Induced Conflicts through Empowered Women Leadership” project, which is generously funded by the UN Peacebuilding Fund.

UNDP and EU award grants to community-based organizations in Enga Province

As part of their ‘Strengthening Integrated Sustainable Land Management’ project in Enga Province, UNDP and the European Union awarded small grants to 20 community-based organizations working on sustainable land management, climate change adaptation, and biodiversity conservation in the province this January.

The total value of the grants amounts to over US$420,000 and they will be used by the recipients to conduct initiatives to combat deforestation, improve food and nutrition security, and adapt to the impacts of climate change across six districts.

The Provincial Administrator, Mr. Sandis Tsak; the Provincial Director of Commerce, Culture and Tourism, Ms. Margaret Potane; and the Provincial Director of Agriculture and Livestock, Mr. Ronnie Tirone, attended the official handover of the grants at the Takeanda Museum in Wabag.

“The European Union is proud to support this project, which will help the provincial authorities in adapting to the challenges posed by climate change and increase public awareness of the importance of preserving the rich biodiversity of Enga Province. The low value grants that are made available by the project will play an instrumental role in mobilizing local communities to take action to protect their environment and enhance communal welfare in a sustainable manner," stated the European Union Ambassador to Papua New Guinea, H.E. Jacques Fradin, after the ceremony.

UNDP marks International Anti-Corruption Day with local journalists

To commemorate International Anti-Corruption Day on 9 December, UNDP participated in a workshop held by Papua New Guinea's Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) for local journalists. The workshop aimed to raise the participants’ awareness of the role of journalists in combating corruption.

As part of the activities of the workshop, UNDP Chief Technical Adviser on Anti-Corruption, Dr. Alma Sedlar, gave a presentation on investigative journalism. The presentation provided the participants with practical guidance on various aspects of investigative journalism, such as collecting and verifying evidence and protecting the anonymity of sources.

In his op-ed published for International Anti-Corruption Day, UNDP Resident Representative in Papua New Guinea, Mr. Nicholas Booth, highlighted how corruption continues to plague Papua New Guinea's forestry and extractive sectors.

In addition to the training, our UNDP Resident Representative, Mr. Nicholas Booth, wrote an op-ed for Post-Courier, where he highlighted the challenges that corruption continues to pose to the sustainable management of natural resources in Papua New Guinea and how UNDP is working on addressing the issue through the European Union-funded 'PNG Anti-Corruption project'.

Advocating for the rights of persons with disabilities

To commemorate International Day of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities on 3 December, our UNDP Resident Representative, Mr. Nicholas Booth, published a joint op-ed with the Co-Chair of PNG Assembly of Disabled Persons and Co-Chair of Pacific Disability Forum, Jacqueline Boga-Garoau.

In their piece, Mr. Booth and Ms. Boga-Garoau highlight the severe challenges that persons of disabilities continue to face in Papua New Guinea due to lack of adequate legislation to ensure their rights. They call on the Government of Papua New Guinea to adopt a Law on Disability and for data on persons of with disabilities to be collected for the first time as part of the 2024 National Census.