Forests are central to Papua New Guinea’s climate change fight
Papua New Guinea’s lush forests boast some of the greatest plant and animal diversity on earth.
From high-altitude montane forests to jungle and mangroves, from flying foxes and ‘forest dragons’ to thousands of species of orchid, they are living, life-saving treasures that are key to securing our future.
Slightly smaller than Spain, but with a population of just 8.6 million, nearly 75% of the South Pacific nation remains forested, but is coming under increasing pressure from logging, mining and agriculture.
Globally, around one-third of all carbon dioxide released from burning fossil fuels is absorbed by forests and efforts to protect and sustainably manage them offers crucial opportunities for countries like Papua New Guinea to meet their carbon emission reduction targets in the Paris climate agreement.
Along with the energy sector, agriculture, logging and mining made up 38% of Papua New Guinea’s carbon emissions in 2015, and in its new five-yearly contribution to the Paris agreement, known as its Nationally Determined Contribution or NDC, the government set out plans to halve greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, while also maintaining a vibrant economy, and to cut forest degradation by 25% by 2030.
The plan also includes efforts to boost tree-planting, to ensure 70% of the population can access early warning information on extreme weather events, 10% of the population enjoy better water and food security and that 1.7 billion US dollars' worth of transport, building and utility infrastructure and assets is built or remodeled in line with climate resilient codes and standards.
“The time PNG invested in developing its National REDD+ Strategy (2017 – 2027) and the corresponding REDD+ Financial and Investment Plan proved critical as they identified REDD+ policies and measures in the LULUCF sub-sector that will not only contribute towards emission reductions, but also provide significant economic, social and environmental co-benefits. REDD+ is very much front and centre in PNG’s plan to achieve its ambitious NDC targets” said Celina Yong, UNDP Climate & Forests Regional Technical Advisor for Asia & the Pacific.
The government will also establish a National Climate Change Coordination Committee to bring together key sector agencies and central government bodies to lead the country’s response to climate change.
Papua New Guinea, an early partner country to the UN-REDD Programme, has always been at the forefront of climate action in the Pacific Region. As a signatory to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), PNG ratified the Paris Agreement in New York during the 72nd United Nations General Assembly. PNG benefitted from National Program and technical assistance from the UN-REDD Programme partner agencies since 2010 to advance its national REDD+ process. Among others, it also received support from FCPF, JICA, GIZ, Australia and USAID.
As one of the 10 most affected countries by climate change, Papua New Guinea has already seen more extreme weather and temperature changes. Putting an urgent emphasis on protecting and sustainably managing forests is a simple, powerful way to unleash the power of nature to fight climate change