Climate Change impacts are real and showing its aggression in PNG currently, hence the increased climate variability through temperature and precipitation, coastal erosion, saline intrusion and inundation caused by sea –level rise and a greater intensity of tropical storms.
The effects of climate change are expected to affect agriculture, fisheries and forest which is approximately one fifth of the country’s GDP thus also providing for the livelihood of the majority of the country’s population.
Because of the effects of climate change, the Adaptation and Projects Division of the Climate Change and Development Authority has launched a National Adaptation Plan recently to tackle climate change issues at the provincial level. ‘
Mr Jacob Ekinye, General Manager for Adaptation and Projects Division in a brief meeting with the media today stated that the Adaptation Plan will focus on the Provinces and communities and it will go by phases.
The National Adaptation Plan will mainly focus on Agriculture, Health, Transports and Works.
“Basically we will be looking at this four sectors because every year, in our annual budget, a big chunk of money goes into addressing those key areas,” says Mr Ekinye.
With Agriculture about 80% of the population live in rural areas and rely on agriculture for their livelihood thus this is an important sector and Health is another important key area which is expected to see changes with increasing water borne and vector borne diseases that will arise because of climate change, the National Adaptation Plan is looking at addressing this too.
With Transport and infrastructure, Mr Ekinye stated that all roads and bridges, airports and wharves must be sustainable, built in a way that can withstand the effects of climate change.
“These are critical infrastructures were so much money is spent on, but we have to bring in the idea of climate change into these infrastructure developments so that they are sustainable and can withstand the climate impact,” said Ekinye.
Mr Ekinye further stated that other sectors will also be included as time goes and as more ideas come in they will grow on this and evolve documents to meet climate change effects on different sector as time goes.
The National Adaptation Plan is for 2022 to 2030 and by the end of 2030 Climate Change Development Authority (CCDA) hopes to see a climate resilient community.
“Because the on slot of climate change is immediate and if affecting everyone, you come up with different ways on how you can cope and adapt to the climate change effects so by 2030, everyone should know how to adapt and cope with changes brought by the impacts of climate change. ”
However Implementation is the biggest challenge right now, because climate change came in to the scene a little over a decade back, so traditionally climate change has not being around said Ekinye.
“It’s a new area for priority for government, so when we set it as priority we must allocate adequate resources to implement those priorities because we will need to come up with a budget, because in the objective of this plan we have networking, coordination, integration but most importantly we need to mobilize finance to get this on the ground.”
Mr Ekinye added that mobilizing climate finance is very important, and they have three sources; one is through the national budgetary process, where the Government of PNG must show ownership and commit funds to address this issue that is really affecting our country.
The second way to source fund is through the Public Investment Program (PIP), provinces support increment program, DSIP and PSIP, and this is where the local members and local government comes in to commit funds to help their local communities.
And the third source of fund for the National Adaptation Plan is help from the international community through the climate funds or adaptations funds and other facilities set by the international community’s to address climate change in small vulnerable countries.
Ekinye highlighted also that right now there are no climate change offices in various provinces to monitor and assess situation but by 2030, CCDA wants to see all sectors, from national and sub national level integrated climate change into their policies and plans.
And all plans must align with the National Adaptation Plan and must be incorporated into provincial development plan so that climate change is not only addressed at the national level but down to the provincial level, district and all communities.