Conservation and Environment Protection Authority (CEPA)*
*CEPA is officially renamed in January 2015 from the Department of Environment and Conservation (DEC).
2015/6 ~ 2020/6
PNG is proud of being one of the countries with the richest biodiversity in the world. It is said that PNG has over 5% of the world's biodiversity in less than 1% of the world's total land area. The people in PNG have been living in this rich biodiversity for thousands of years. Today, over 80% of the 7.3 million people in PNG are in rural areas and are still directly dependent on the natural environment for their subsistence and livelihoods. Therefore, we all recognize that protection and conservation of PNG's biodiversity is a life-and-death matter to the people in PNG.
The Conservation and Environment Protection Authority (CEPA) and JICA work on the project titled ‘the Project for Biodiversity Conservation through Implementation of the PNG Policy on Protected Areas' from June in 2015 and will be implemented over the next 5 years.
The overall goal of the project is to set up effective management of the Protected Areas Network by applying the models of protected areas management. To achieve this goal, the project aims to achieve four outcomes; (1) to strengthen institutional framework including formulation of PPA Action Plan and establishment of the National Conservation Council; (2) to enhance the terrestrial PA management model at Varirata National Park and the surrounding Koiari area; (3) to develop a model of establishing a new marine PA; and (4) to raise awareness of the people about biodiversity conservation.
The people of the communities where the project is sited are important partners in this project. The CEPA-JICA team will consult with the local community members to seek their voices on issues related to biodiversity conservation, aiming at raising their awareness on how best all the stakeholders can work together to protect PNG's biodiversity and at the same time improving the livelihood of the people in and around the protected areas.
Varirata National Park and the surrounding Koiari area are one of the focuses of the project. The rehabilitation of the Variata National Park is one of the top priorities in in the first half of the project period. The current run-down visitors' center will be renovated so that the Park can be revived as the major recreational and educational park for the people in Port Moresby City, National Capital District and Central Province as it once used to be so.
JICA's concern is not only protection of natural environments but also improvement of livelihood of the people surrounding the protected areas. For this reason, the JICA team plans to give a hint on how the people and the environment can live harmoniously. The people can protect the environment while improving their livelihoods. One such idea is a program called the Man and Biosphere Program or MAB promoted by UNESCO. The MAB idea divides the designated area into three zones; the core zone for strict protection of environment; the buffer zone for scientific and educational activities; and the transitional zone for the people to engage in sustainable economic activities. However, more discussions need to be done with the people in Koiari, who are the main stakeholder in this project, to think about if such an idea is viable in their land. Our concern is twofold; biodiversity conservation and the current and future generations of the people living in such beautiful and precious natural environments.
The CEPA-JICA team also plans to raise awareness of the people on the importance of protecting PNG's invaluable biodiversity through consultation meetings, workshops, and other various events and means including disseminating information through internet and various media outlets. The team also appeals to the private sector for their participation, because we value their ongoing contribution to protecting the environment and supporting the people in PNG. Our team embraces advice or contributions in any form to this project.
Mr. Shigeru Sugiyama (left end), Chief Representative of JICA PNG Office, Dr. Motohiro Hasegawa (centre), Senior Advisor, JICA Head Office, and Mr. Gunther Joku (right), Secretary, CEPA, agreed on the frame work of this project on 3rd November 2014. Later on 10th December 2014, they concluded the Record of Discussion (R/D).