Minister for Environment, Conservation and Climate Change Simon Kilepa has expressed concerns regarding recent media reports alleging many PNG delegation travelled to Dubai for COP 28, defying the Prime Minister James Marape’s order.
He stated that as the Minister responsible for climate change and the head of the delegation to the 28th United Nations Climate Change Conference of Parties (COP28), he feels compelled to address the misleading reports.
“First and foremost, it is disheartening to witness a daily newspaper company persistently publishing news without verifying facts from multiple sources.”
Minister Kilepa added this hinders the dissemination of accurate information; contributing solely to the instigation of public criticism and that such practice must be condemned.
“During my last press conference in the country before I left for COP28, we clearly stated that we had complied with the Prime Minister’s instruction to reduce the delegation size from 56 to 49 of which 29 are Technical Officials and 20 High Level Officials who have participated in Leaders and Ministerial mandated events.”
“They were all on different schedules and on different itineraries so precisely, PNG’s approved number of participants is 49.”
Minster further added that it is essential to clarify that additional participants, funded by private sectors, development partners, businesses in PNG, NGOs operating in PNG attend COP events under the UNFCCC.
“To access the venue, they must be registered under the PNG badge, and it must also be noted that NOT all are funded by the PNG Government.”
“Even more than half the number on the UNFCCC registration list did not actually attend COP 28.’’
He added that the registration list provides to secure interested person to access services associated to travelling to COP such as visa support and access to the blue and green zones of COP Venue.
“I question the basis for the dailies assertion of defiance against the Prime Minister’s instruction.”
Minister further clarified that currently on the ground are 29 participants attending the COP, representing key sector agencies such as Forestry, Environment, Agriculture, Transport, Energy, Health, Finance, Roads, Infrastructure, Women and Youths which have an active role in the country’s climate adaptation and mitigation efforts.
This annual event is budgeted for and is a crucial global event that demands our active participation as a country that is hugely affected by climate change but also has a lot to offer to the world in terms of climate change mitigation.
“It is disheartening to witness the 29 participants, working diligently to contribute to the negotiations at different levels and representing our country, face unwarranted criticism due to unverified reports such as this and I demand an apology for disseminating inaccurate information that detracts from the positive initiatives we have undertaken, including the French PNG country package of $100 million announced at the start of this Conference.”
“I urge media outlets to adhere to responsible journalism practices by verifying information before publication, as inaccurate reporting undermines the credibility of the press and the public’s right to factual and unbiased news.”