EU-STREIT PNG joins hands with students and teachers in Sepik region of Papua New Guinea to commemorate ‘EU Climate Diplomacy Weeks’ with a message to promote the use of renewable energy sources to reduce global warming.
The EU-STREIT PNG Programme in collaboration with students and teachers from three schools in East Sepik Province marked the Climate Diplomacy Weeks on Friday 21 October 2022 with highlights on the importance, benefits and practical functionality of renewable energy solutions to save the planet from global warming.
Led by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the EU-STREIT PNG Programme brought together 60 students to take part in learning activities that improved their knowledge and understanding of greenhouse gas emissions that have already increased temperatures and are drying up water sources, raising sea levels and threatening lives and livelihoods around the world including Papua New Guinea and the Pacific Region. Participating schools were Passam National School of Excellence, Nagum Secondary and Hawain Technical High.
Explaining the purpose of the EU Climate Diplomacy Weeks’s event and the topic of climate change, the EU-STREIT PNG Programme Coordinator, Dr Xuebing Sun, in his official remarks said: “Extreme weather events like intense rain, dangerous storms and prolonged droughts affecting lives and livelihoods are challenges posed by the climate crisis that can undermine human security and increasing the risks of conflict and instability among other things. Addressing them requires global-level strategic and coordinated response and this is where climate diplomacy comes in.”
“Climate diplomacy encompasses the use of diplomatic tools to support the ambition and functioning of the international climate change regime and to attenuate the negative impacts climate change risks pose to peace, stability and prosperity.”
He added: “Climate diplomacy also means prioritising climate action with partners worldwide – in diplomatic dialogues, public diplomacy and external policy instruments.”
Dr. Sun also told the students and their teachers including the local media to share this message with all, “caring for the environment is not only our responsibility, but also a question of survival, as millions of human beings all over the world including in Papua New Guinea and the Pacific are under threat”.
In her intervention, the UNDP Project Manager for Renewable Energy under EU-STREIT PNG, Ms Karen Anawe explained to students how the Programme in partnership with PNG stakeholders is installing mini grid PV Solar Systems in selected remote public facilities like schools and community health centers in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)-7 which is “Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy” and UN SDG-13 which is “Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts”.
It was an exciting and fun day for the students who learned the basics as well as the different kinds of renewable energy sources suitable for rural areas/farming communities explained by the Programme’s national experts. A short video was also presented on renewable energy solutions.
Female and male students took part in a quiz competition and drawings as well, depicting the benefits of renewable energy for the Planet, Country, Province and Village.
To encourage youth involvement along nodes of the agri-food value chains, prizes were awarded to the students/schools by the Programme for their participation: six wheelbarrows, six spades and three 50 meters long shade cloths.
The students were also taken on a tour of the Programme’s green/solar-powered office building. “We’re excited to participate in this event because it helps us to understand greenhouse gas emissions and how it affects the environment and our lives,” said a female grade 11 student Joycelyn Siteseneve of Nagum Secondary.
The event was equally exciting for teachers. “We’re privilege to attend this EU Diplomacy Weeks’s event here in Wewak. This is an eye-opener and I believe it will be a good learning curve for all schools in East Sepik if all of us could participate,” said Mr Nelson Sangisi of Passam National School of Excellence.
Concluding the event, the Programme’s Gender and Youth Inclusion Specialist, Ms Patu Shang in her remarks reminded the youths: “You are the future of tomorrow and we rely on you to develop alternative energy solutions for your villages and households. In the next one year, we look forward to your renewable energy innovative solutions proposals that have been inspired by your presence here today, we are waiting.”
The EU-STREIT PNG Programme as part of its comprehensive packages of interventions to foster sustainable agri-business development in the Sepik, supports development and improvement of renewable energy solutions to create an enabling environment which will embrace development of the three targeted value chains (cocoa, vanilla, and fisheries) that thousands of rural communities in the Sepik Region depend on to sustain their livelihoods.
In this framework, the Programme, among other interventions, also works on setting up solar power generation in six select facilities in the Sepik Region to promote awareness of sustainable and renewable energy.
The EU-STREIT PNG Programme Office Building in Wewak, currently co-resided by the Programme and provincial agricultural bodies which will be transferred over to the East Sepik Provincial Administration at the end of the Programme, is a good example to showcase how renewable energy solutions – in this case, solar panel generated energy – is an efficient way to provide reliable energy for public, and other private, business and educational facilities.
This office building is powered by 189 solar panels, which significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions and reduces the collective dependence of around 90 experts, technicians and extension service officers on fossil fuel and can support staff’s operation for 36 hours.
The EU-STREIT PNG Programme, being implemented as a UN Joint Programme (FAO as the leading agency, and ILO, ITU, UNCDF and UNDP as partners), is the largest grant-funded Programme of the European Union in the country and the Pacific region.
The Programme aims to help improve the lives of the people from East Sepik and Sandaun provinces, by focusing on increasing sustainable and inclusive economic development of rural areas through improved economic returns and opportunities from cocoa, vanilla and fishery value chains while strengthening and improving the efficiency of value chain enablers, including the business environment, and supporting sustainable, climate-proof transport and energy infrastructure development.