The Sustainable Development Goals in Papua New Guinea
The Sustainable Development Goals are a global call to action to end poverty, protect the earth’s environment and climate, and ensure that people everywhere can enjoy peace and prosperity. These are the goals the UN is working on in Papua New Guinea:
02 March 2022
Empowering communities to improve livelihood and promote peace
Hoiebia Village acts as a sanctuary for communities affected by conflict in the Hela Province. Councillor Maureen opened her home to her community and those displaced by conflict back in 2013 when she first became the councillor. She first started backyard farming because she observed that the community planted only sweet potato and were not exposed to growing other garden foods such as potato, carrots, cabbage and broccoli. “I lived for 30 years in Mt Hagen, and I saw they planted a lot of variety of vegetables. I wanted to do something similar in my village, so I came back, and mobilized mothers and youths and we started our backyard farming. This was in 2013. We started changing the practice of planting sweet potato mounts to creating plots for different vegetables,” she said. Her backyard plots have now become a multiplication site and she is supplying seeds, providing training in farming, sewing and horticulture to both the host and displaced communities in Hoiebia. Her ambition is to supply the whole of Hela Province with seeds from her multiplication site and ultimately improving farming practices. Councillor Maureen said that they initially lacked the skills and knowledge, but persevered. The perseverance paid off when their first partner, the Fresh Produce Development Agency (FPDA) stepped in to assist with basic agriculture training. Fast forward to 2022, other partners have come on board to assist the community. The United Nations in Papua New Guinea, through its agencies FAO, IOM, and UN Women are supporting Councillor Maureen to help her community. “I saw that a lot of mothers, their husbands had left them, and they struggled with their children to put food on the table and pay school fees. I’m also a single parent who struggled to put my six children through school. This has motivated us, and we are all working towards a better livelihood for us and our children,” she said. Councillor Maureen said the UN have given her community a lot of training. “IOM provided us with a water catchment, FAO trained us on how to plant sweet potato, potato, wheat and rice, UN Women provided baking training and GBV training, Peace training. The National Agriculture Research Institute have also provided farming and animal husbandry. When these trainings came, I noticed that there is change in the community,” she said. “When we empower women and youth in the community with life skills, there will be peace.” Councillor Maureen aims to build a training center for her community. In 2021, with consent from her community, she invested a ward development grant of K15,000 to co-finance the establishment of a UN-supported community resilience resource centre. This centre will also be equipped with water catchment and storage capacity with the community in Hoiebia having free access to clean water. On the change she would like to see in four to five years, Councillor Maureen declared, “I would like to see farming practices in Hela change, women and children to be healthy and to have good clothes. Children to go to school.”
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20 March 2022
Provincial GBV Focal Points Leading Community-level Implementation of National GBV Strategy
“Everyone in the Highlands region, they grew up in that kind of environment. I say it's in the DNA.” continues Robin Yakumb. Robin is the interim GBV Focal Point for Western Highlands Province, one of several individuals around the country appointed to connect families and individuals to government services and legal protections that assist women and children experiencing violence. In Jiwaka, GBV Focal Point Mary Tol highlighted that local resource constraints have led to perpetrators being set free. “Sometimes the murderers of women and girls are being set free because the police say that there's insufficient evidence to bring them to court.” These perpetrators are then free to reoffend, leaving women and children vulnerable and communities hesitant to report violence. On paper, the right of women and children to live free from violence is assured in Papua New Guinea, with protections outlined in the Family Protection Act and Lukautim Pikinini Act, in addition to the Criminal Code. In practice, however, the country has one of highest rates of violence against women and girls in the region. A persistent challenge for policy-makers and advocates working to end violence against women and girls in Papua New Guinea is ensuring that protections and services established at the national level are available at the village level; that individuals are reporting cases of violence to police, that police have the resources to respond and the appropriate documentation to present to the court, and that village court magistrates apply the law appropriately and do not permit negotiations for compensation. The National GBV Strategy was launched in 2016 and is a blue print to guide the work of all agencies across the national government, as well as provincial government bodies, civil society organisations and development partners. The National GBV Strategy is underpinned by the understanding that addressing GBV will require strong leadership, a holistic and coordinated approach supported by ongoing monitoring, evaluation, and research. Responsible for implementing this strategy is the National GBV Secretariat (NGBVS) which, through lack of funding, has faced significant roadblocks. The NGBVS has an interim Director and is not fully staffed. The Spotlight Initiative, launched in 2020, aims to address the challenges in putting the National GBV Strategy into practice, and key to this is operationalising the National GBV Secretariat. In Eastern Highlands Province (EHP), Siviri Lalave has been appointed as the provincial GBV Focal Point. She was also a member of the province’s Family and Sexual Violence Action Committee. “That committee has been like a meeting on ad hoc basis up until 2021 when National Parliamentary Committee on Gender-Based Violence was set up,” said Siviri. “That's the time that the provincial government has seen the importance of having those committees in the provinces set up in addressing this issue.” “When the government supports, we will see that it will help deliver the services that the people need and women and children, and those who are affected by gender-based violence, get the justice that they need.” Provincial GBV Focal Points are now developing strategies and plans to address local gaps in institutional capacity to prevent and respond to violence against women and children. “I'd like to see bringing in all the districts together to come up with their own district strategies,” said Robin. “We need these plans as to how we can address these issues at the district level or the community level.” “I want funding to be very consistent over five years to ten years,” says Mary. “We don't need a strategy that sits at the corner and collects dust.” The Spotlight Initiative has supported the appointment of provincial GBV focal points as part of activities to operationalise the National GBV Strategy. Support has also included the development of a National GBV Secretariat website to keep provincial contacts and the general public updated on activities and materials.
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18 March 2022
Milne Bay Provincial Disaster Risk Management Strategy and Standard Operating Procedure Launched Through IOM, USAID Support
The Provincial DRM Strategy and SOP for Milne Bay received technical inputs from the International Organization for Migration (IOM), and funding assistance from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance in its development. This DRM Strategy and SOP is a living document that promotes the localization of the Sendai Framework (2015-2030) principles, contributing to strengthening resilience and reducing disaster losses. It defines the roles and responsibilities of the provincial government and its stakeholders in preparing for, and responding to disasters, including implementing recovery actions following a disaster. “It is great news for Milne Bay to have its Provincial DRM strategy and SOP to better coordinate disaster risk reduction interventions and emergency response,” said Milne Bay’s Provincial Administrator, Ashan Numa in his remarks at the launch. He highlighted that there had been lack of coordination in DRM matters in the past and launching the DRM Strategy and SOP will improve coordination in in the province. “The DRM SOP is a guide to help us better respond to emergencies and disaster with the support of our partners, and also provides a leverage to the Milne Bay Integrated Provincial Development Plan,” noted Steven Tobessa, Milne Bay Provincial Disaster Coordinator. The launch was attended by various stakeholders including Papua New Guinea Red Cross Society, National Airports Corporation, and the National Broadcasting Corporation. IOM in partnership with the National Disaster Center, continues to support provincial governments to strengthen capacities in DRM, through the Provincial Disaster Centres. IOM recognizes inadequate funding and insufficient human capacity as a challenge during the implementation, and it remains committed and pro-active to supporting the province in risk management and disaster response.
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20 March 2022
Community Outreach Combats Violence Against Children in Western Highlands Province
Many children in Western Highlands province face multiple forms of violence. In addition to family violence, children are directly and indirectly affected by sorcery accusation related violence. “When the parents are accused of sorcery, those children are affected very badly because they believe these things they’re told about their parents,” explained Issac Keru from the Archdiocese of Mt Hagen child protection team. “There’s almost no hope for children when their parents are accused.” Issac also noted the rise in kidnapping and ransom of children in the province. “They get these kids and then later they expect some payment and then the kids will be returned,” he said. The Archdiocese utilises networks of parishes and schools to raise awareness of violence against children and provides a safe house that provides temporary accommodation to children in need. Issac shared that prevention remains the most important part of the team’s work. “We have child protection officers and a total of 27 parishes within Western Highlands and Jiwaka where we can offer parenting programs and family programs,” said Issac. “I see the parenting program is important because we have to address childhood development early. When they reach middle age we can’t really do anything because they are grown up and it is difficult for them to change.” The programs include workshops and community outreach and Issac has noted that demand is high. “From interviews we’ve done with parents, they say that they regret this program didn’t come about earlier.” This same sentiment has been shared by facilitators from the Highlands Youth Rehabilitation and Training College in Banz, Jiwaka Province, which is also implementing a positive parenting program that engages parents in Jiwaka and Simbu. “Through the Spotlight Initiative the parenting program has reached many parish communities and we’ve seen they go back to their communities and villages and make changes,” said Issac. “I think with the support of Spotlight Initiative, we can reach many more.” Through the parenting program, the Archdiocese is also promoting other services and programs that seek to address the issue of violence, including counselling and family violence programs. The Archdiocese of Mt Hagen is supported by the Spotlight Initiative to provide community outreach programs to end violence against children.
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09 April 2021
UN Agencies Continue Support to COVID Prevention and Control Across PNG
UN support to the COVID-19 response in Papua New Guinea has been led by WHO and UNICEF, who are assisting the PNG Government in emergency and humanitarian coordination, clinical management and procurement, risk communications and community engagement, protection and secondary impacts, and socio-economic impact and recovery. In 2021 we will be welcoming the arrival of COVID-19 vaccines and work with our partners to set a path for recovery, including socio-economic assessments and support to the hardest hit populations. The weekly COVID-19 National situation report, jointly published by NDOH and WHO, details the scope of the pandemic in PNG and the national response effort. More information on UN assistance provided in 2020 is available at papuanewguinea.un.org. Here is a look at what we've been doing around the country in March. Kiunga, Western Province IOM Installs Handwash Stations at Kiunga Airport, Improves Toilet Facilities in Western Province IOM completed a comprehensive rehabilitation of the toilet facilities at Kiunga Airport, creating a safer environment for travelers. The team installed a handwash station on entry. The team installed latrines in several locations including schools, health facilities and local communities, benefitting at least 8,949 people. Installations of solar panels and accessories across several communities has improved lighting of common areas around latrines. This additional light improves the safety especially of women and girls when accessing the facilities at night. IOM estimates this initiative will improve the safety of over 30,000 people in Western Province. UNFPA Delivers PPE to Kiunga Hospital, Customised Dignity Kits With the given surge of covid 19 cases, UNFPA supplied various essential PPE to Kiunga Hospital, Western Province and Port Moresby General Hospital. These include 500 reusable face shields, 500 long sleeve gowns, 15,000 examination gloves, 2000 surgical gloves, 30,000 disposal facemask, 300 protective goggles and 44 thermometers. UNFPA locally procured 600 customised Dignity Kits enroute to Kiunga, Western Province. IOM Provides WASH Supplies to Communities and Defence Personnel in Western Province IOM distributed soap and water containers to 1,203 people in Western Province, with additional wheelie bins (25), dust bins (14), hand gloves (24) and rubber boots (24). The team supplied collapsible water containers, tents and sleeping bags to the PNG Defence Force Forward Operating Base in Kiunga that is responsible for monitoring points of entry along PNG’s Western Border. Tari, Hela Province UNFPA Supports Emergency Response, Provides PPE and Dignity Kits UNFPA procured and distributed 400 Dignity Kits to displaced women and girls that were affected by the inter-clan violence in Tari Pori District. UNFPA procured 800 PPE to support the participants of a Gender Based Violence in Emergency training and staff at Tari Hospital. Through the emergency response projects, UNFPA, in partnership with PNG Family Health Association and Hela Provincial Health Authority, established sexual and reproductive health mobile clinics at four sites in Tari, Hela Province to support and provide services to internally displaced women and girls as well as the host community who cannot access the main hospital freely due to ongoing insecurity. Currently the team is conducting training on Minimum Initial Service Package in Tari to 9 males and 8 females with plans to conduct Clinical Management of Rape Training in April. Providing PPE ensures these essential services can remain open and operate safely. “On a daily basis, we check if the IDP [Internally Displaced People] have any sexually transmitted diseases (STIs), rape cases, pregnant mothers or injuries," sais Sister Mae Lohis, team leader of one of PNG Family Health Association's mobile clinics in Tari. "We are providing the necessary care that they should receive during this time of crisis, including awareness raising on safe sex, family planning, and teenage pregnancies.” Support to People Living with HIV UNAIDS works with COVID19-HIV Crisis Group on Support to PLHIV Together with the COVID19-HIV Crisis Group, including WHO, NDoH, World Vision, USAID, and FHI360, UNAIDS is ensuring services for PLHIV continue to operate during the growing COVID-19 pandemic. The team is also working on messaging surrounding the vaccine for PLHIV and key populations. With high level of COVID 19 vaccine hesitancy and misconceptions among PLHIV and key populations, UNAIDS have developed a short vaccine acceptability survey deployed by the KP consortium in late March. From the results, the current FAQs will be revised and targeted for this population. Support to Emergency Services UNDP Procures Additional Ambulances, Delivers Training to Frontline Medics UNDP is partnering with the national ambulance service, St John’s Ambulance, to upgrade of a number of ambulances across the country with support from the Government of India. Progress the procurement of new ambulances which will be greatly strengthen the capacity of Papua New Guinea’s health system to respond to COVID’s impacts. A funding agreement with UNDP has also supported training of frontline medics and the procurement of additional medical equipment to support an expansion of services. This will also contribute to broader strengthening of the health system. UN agencies have secured funding from Australia, India, Japan, New Zealand, United States and the World Bank. Additional support was provided through the UN Secretary General’s Multi-Partner Trust Fund for COVID-19 which ensures UN activities can reach the most at-risk populations during this pandemic. The UN is also engaging with donors to re-programme funding where relevant.
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22 December 2021
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