The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Papua New Guinea today launched a new initiative with the Government of the Republic of Korea to support critical peace building interventions in the Southern Highlands and Hela provinces of Papua New Guinea.
The initiative is embedded in the larger peace and development efforts of the United Nations through its Joint Highlands Programme.
The project marks the first partnership in Papua New Guinea between the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) and UNDP, with a US$ 3,000,000 investment to fund the ‘Addressing Conflict & Fragility in the Highlands in Papua New Guinea’ Project.
A ceremony at the UNDP Country Office in Port Moresby to launch the project was attended by the Ambassador of the Republic of Korea to Papua New Guinea, H.E. KANG Ho-Jeung.
“I am pleased to be here for the launch of the project in the Highlands. The Project for Addressing Conflict & Fragility in the Highlands will contribute to sustainable development by supporting durable solutions for peace led by the people living in impacted communities.
On behalf of the Government of the Republic of Korea, we look forward to the implementation of the Project and the advancement of peace in the Highlands as part of the larger joint United Nations efforts in Hela and Southern Highlands Provinces” said H.E. KANG Ho-Jeung.
UNDP Resident Representative, Mr. Dirk Wagener said the new partnership and the resulting project represents the opportunity to work further to strengthen enabling and stabilising conditions for peace in the Highlands.
“With the support of the Republic of Korea, through the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA), UNDP will work to implement urgently needed and critical peacebuilding interventions to prevent further conflict and address existing issues,” said Mr Wagener.
“KOICA’s investment will contribute toward achieving the Sustainable Development Goals in the Highlands and support local aspirations for inclusive peace.”
The Southern Highlands and Hela Provinces in Papua New Guinea, with violent conflicts intensifying and increasing in frequency over the last 10 years, have seen more than 300 deaths and an estimated 100,000 people displaced as of 2017.
There have also been cases of human rights abuses, including gender-based violence and sorcery accusation-related violence that have further exacerbated the marginalisation of women and youth.
The KOICA investment will contribute to peacebuilding activities in line with the Hela and Southern Highlands Provincial Governments’ endorsed priorities to ensure critical peace interventions are carried out in communities affected by conflict in the Highlands.
Peace building needs that the project seeks to address include capacity building for leaders including women, men, and youth in conflict resolution, faith-based organizations in community mediation and improved community access to government and state services.
Hon. Philip Undialu, Governor of Hela Province attended the launch and expressed his gratitude to the Government of the Republic of Korea for its support in the Highlands.
“On behalf of the people of Hela, I want to thank the people of the Republic of Korea for their desire to support peace in the Highlands of Papua New Guinea. We can’t achieve peace alone – we need strong partnerships, like the one we have with the Republic of Korea and UNDP.”
UNDP’s Project for Addressing Conflict & Fragility in the Highlands in Papua New Guinea leverages off the United Nations Highlands Joint Programme, which brings together seven UN agencies (UNDP, FAO, IOM, UNCDF, UNFPA, UNICEF and UN Women) to jointly foster humanitarian response, development, and peace in the Highlands.