22 June 2021
EU-STREIT PNG modality is a way forward to serve the rural communities and address gender-based violence in the Sepik Region: UN Resident Coordinator
UN Resident Coordinator Gianluca Rampolla spent five days in East Sepik Province on his third visit to the staff and communities engaged in the EU-STREIT programme. The EU-STREIT PNG, as a UN joint Programme, is the largest grant-funded Programme of the European Union in the country and the Pacific region, which focuses on supporting smallholder cocoa, vanilla and fish farmers in East Sepik and Sandaun provinces. During the visit, the UN Resident Coordinator met with Provincial Governor of East Sepik Province, Mr Allan Bird, and had a townhall meeting with EU-STREIT PNG team members from 5 UN partner agencies. Underscoring the contribution made possible by the Programme to the Sepik Region in his meeting with the Governor, Mr Rampolla emphasised that the modality of EU-STREIT PNG is the way forward provided that the government take a serious stance toward reviving its economic base and focusing on fisheries and other business. He also added that gender-based violence is another issue that the EU-STREIT PNG Programme addresses to involve women and youth under three value chains of cocoa, vanilla, and fisheries. “We’re really pleased with the partnership with the European Union and the United Nations agencies. This Programme is critical in terms of job creation for our people, and we already see some results,” said the Provincial Governor Mr Allan Bird in appreciating the efforts put forward by the EU-STREIT PNG. In outlining the way forward for this joint endeavour, the Programme Coordinator, Dr Xuebing Sun, also stated that “while there are many challenges, with the support of local partners and professional staff on the ground, the EU-STREIT PNG can proceed to deliver its envisaged outcomes.” The UN Resident Coordinator visited several deliverables and running activities being implemented by the EU STREIT PNG Programme during this mission. The new office building to host the EU-STREIT PNG Programme implementing agencies, together with the provincial chapters of Department of Agriculture and Livestock, Cocoa Board, and the National Agriculture Quarantine and Inspection Authority; cocoa rehabilitation sites in the remote Karawari area along the Sepik River; and cocoa training program at Kaningara Village were among the implementation sites that the UN Resident Coordinator surveyed. Besides FAO as lead agency, the EU-STREIT PNG is implemented by four UN partner agencies, including the International Labour Organization (ILO), International Telecommunication Union (ITU), United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) and United Nations development programme (UNDP). This five-year programme is being implemented in close collaboration with the Government of Papua New Guinea, civil society organisations, and private sectors at national and sub-national levels.