Papua New Guinea’s Climate Change and Development Authority (CCDA) together with the Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI) published the Green Growth Potential Assessment of Papua New Guinea on July 01, 2019. The report shows that there are ample opportunities for green growth in Papua New Guinea, that support the country’s efforts to cope with climate change.
The Green Growth Potential Assessment (GGPA) of Papua New Guinea provides valuable analysis to support the ongoing efforts toward that aim. The GGPA is a diagnostic tool combining data analysis and stakeholder consultation in order to identify a country’s opportunities for green growth.
The assessment identified four priorities for green growth in Papua New Guinea:
- Increasing Papua New Guinea’s resilience toward the adverse impacts of climate change, given the country’s high vulnerability.
- Deploying renewable energy as an opportunity to increase the country’s low electrification rate.
- Improving agricultural productivity, due to the high importance of agriculture for the country’s mostly rural population, as well as food security and Papua New Guinea’s economy.
- Conserving the country’s extensive forests, due to their global significance for carbon storage, the role they play in sustainable agriculture, their provision of ecosystem services, and their economic potential.
The report is built around a set of recommendations to address each of these priorities, supported by a robust analysis to capitalize on existing opportunities.
First, given the breadth of areas involved in addressing Papua New Guinea’s vulnerability to climate change, this report provides a systematic overview of the phenomena the country is exposed to and their potential impacts. The assessment concludes that PNG is highly exposed to climate change, as evidenced in a rise in temperature and sea levels, increase in rainfall and ocean acidification, and decline in frequency but increase in intensity of droughts and cyclones. The report also shows that Papua New Guinea’s economy is very sensitive to these phenomena, given its dependence on sectors that experience considerable impacts from climate change—such as fisheries and agriculture—and its lack of essential infrastructure—including transportation, health, electricity, water, and sanitation.
Second, the report provides a detailed assessment of the potential for electricity generation from renewable sources in Papua New Guinea. It concludes that renewable energy appears to be most relevant for (1) increasing access to electricity in remote rural areas to support basic applications and (2) generating electricity for energy-intensive extractive industries and agricultural processing.
To support the deployment of renewable energy, the report recommends designating areas for off-grid electrification, given the high costs of grid extension to remote areas. For that purpose, a focus on solar energy is suggested, with solar home systems showing clear advantages compared to mini-grids. The report sees a decisive role for the private sector in off-grid electrification. It recommends for the Government of Papua New Guinea to support the private sector by introducing consistent legislation and providing regulatory certainty for the (off-grid) electrification, facilitating access to finance for private sector players, and strengthening quality control of off-grid renewables equipment sold in Papua New Guinea. Finally, it is recommended for the administration to strengthen its capacity to collect, compile, verify, and disseminate data relevant to the energy sector in order to conduct reliable analyses to develop relevant policies, monitor their impacts, and evaluate their effectiveness.
Third, the report provides recommendations for improving the sustainability of the agriculture and forestry sector in Papua New Guinea. It recommends for the Government of PNG to strengthen the administration’s capacity to collect, monitor, and verify agriculture and forestry data in order to strengthen conservation efforts, provide regulatory certainty for legal commercial activities, and obtain carbon payments for reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the context of REDD+.
Furthermore, the report suggest changes in agricultural practices and the forestry sector are required in order to reduce deforestation and forest degradation. This includes for the government to monitor that commercial logging and agriculture businesses adhere to existing regulations and internationally recognized certification schemes and to sanction non-compliance. It also includes for the government to strengthen extension services, providing support to communities to adopt sustainable agricultural practices at a time when the traditional practice of shifting cultivation has become unsustainable due to a rapidly growing population. Finally, to reduce demand for fuel wood as a driver of local deforestation, the report recommends for the government to support the sustainable production of fuel wood and the use of clean cooking technologies.
The report recognizes the central role that the country’s Climate Change and Development Authority can play in achieving the government’s aspirations and in implementing the recommendations outlined in the report. The authority can act as a coordinator between different government branches to foster a shared approach for sustainable development. In the areas under its auspices, it is in a strong position to strengthen regulatory certainty and enforcement to attract investment and promote conservation. Beyond attracting finance and technical support from development partners for specific initiatives, CCDA can engage with relevant actors—including producers, business federations, buyers, processors, and financial intermediaries—to explore how business opportunities can be aligned with conservation efforts and a more equitable distribution of wealth.
GGGI has delivered the GGPA tool in nine countries, including Cambodia, Colombia, the Lao PDR, Mozambique, Myanmar, Nepal, Papua New Guinea, Peru, and Qatar.