Sunday, December 28, 2008

King Tides in Papua New Guinea

Recently this month many eastern facing coastal low lying areas of Papua New Guinea had experienced some form of flooding and inundation by the sea as surges of higher spring tides affected these areas. Whilst the media reported them as King tides many may probably wonder what actually causes such tides. I have provide a link here where most of these questions can be answered. Below is a report from the Papua New Guinea PostCourier today.

King tides expected to hit PNG shores

By Simon Eroro

SPRING tides or king tides are expected to occur throughout the country towards the end of this month and early next month.
The Director of the National Disaster Centre (NDS) Martin Mose said according to the National Weather Service’s (NDS) warning issued yesterday, the spring tides are expected to occur throughout Papua New Guinea’s coastal waters.
Mr Mose said this is expected to occur from January 7 to 14 and urged communities along the coastal areas to take extra precautions during this period.
He said the people living along the coastlines should identify and high er ground and safest routes to the higher grounds when the high tides are experienced.
“Make it a habit to listen to radio or watch the television for any warnings that may be issued by authorities such as the NDS Office,” Mr Mose said.
He said if the warning is issued, people must move inland or to higher grounds immediately, adding young men and women must have the courage to help children, older people and the disabled to move with them.
He also warned people to stay away from beaches until authorities had declared them safe.
Mr Mose said learning from all the disasters that occur, people must take with them an emergency kit which should include spare clothes, canned or fried food, water, water containers, candles, a torch with spare batteries, matches or lighter and a lamp with kerosene.
“Although the authorities will continue to discharge current updates on the spring tides and king tides occurrence, communities must also take up the responsibility to confirm before taking the necessary steps to evacuate to safer areas,” Mr Mose said.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Sinking Atolls On Agenda

SINKING Carterets Island and the political situation on Bougainville will be among the highlights of a series of topics to be discussed during the ACP/EU meeting this week by the Government.

It will be part of the Climate Change discussion and the impact on small island nations which will take the lead on Thursday when regional experts take to the floor.Trade and RD Tuna processing and health, malaria and TB and HIV/AIDS in PNG will also be discussed.

Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare, who is currently in Peru, Lima in his welcome speech to the members and leaders of the ACP/EU counterparts in the country said that the success of the political situation on Bougainville would be highlighted to the members at the meeting.

“As you arrive on our shores, I have good news for you all,” he said.
“During the 2006 ACP Council meeting and 31st Session ACP-EU Council of Ministers hosted in Port Moresby, the people of Bougainville and Papua New Guinea suffered a civil unrest for almost a decade,” Sir Michael said.
“Many countries and organisations in the region including ACP and EU offered assistance for the rehabilitation and restoration of services on the island province.

“Today we are witnessing the fruits of this work and an autonomous government is in place on Bougainville,” he said.
Details of this success will be outlined at the political seminar on Thursday at the Holiday Inn.

Acting Prime Minister Dr Puka Temu will be expected to address the formal opening ceremony of the joint ACP/EU meeting with a major plenary session today followed by dinner hosted by Dr Temu at the State function Hall at Parliament tonight.

Source: Postcourier 25-11-2008)


Checkout my earlier posting on the Carterets Island below.


Friday, October 31, 2008

Good Luck to PNG Kumuls in the Rugby League World Cup

I wish Adrian Lam (Coach) and the Telikom PNG Kumuls the best of luck when they take on the New Zealand Kiwis in Gold Coast, Queensland Australia this Saturday. PNG Kumuls have in the past beaten the Kiwis and they can do it again!

Photo source: The National (31-10-2008)

Time to celebrate ... Kumuls Neville Costigan, Jason Chan and Paul Aiton celebrating Chan’s try last weekend. They and their teammates’ performance tomorrow against the Kiwis will have a major bearing on their future in the game. – AAPpic

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Hero’s welcome for Francis Kompaon in Goroka, Eastern Highlands Province, Papua New Guinea

Torchbearer Francis Kompaon displays the torch during the Beijing 2008 Paralympic torch relay in Beijing, capital of China, Sept. 6, 2008.

(Photo credit: Xinhua)

Francis Kompaon (centre) at a rousing welcome in Goroka.

Hero’s welcome

PARALYMPIC silver medallist Francis Kompaon was treated to a rousing hero’s home coming in Goroka yesterday after he touched down at the Goroka airport.
Staff of the National Sports Institute (NSI) and the University of Goroka (UOG) where Kompaon is a second year pre-service student, turned up at the airport in large numbers to receive him and his coach Peter Aglua.
Staff and students of UOG arranged a motorcade and took Kompaon and Aglua around the main streets of Goroka town before going to the campus.
At the campus, Pro-Vice Chancellor (Academic) Dr James Yoko told Kompaon that he had set a milestone for Papua New Guinea to better his achievement at the Olympic level.
“UoG is happy you made us proud by being the first to receive an Olympic silver medal,” Dr Yoko said.
He said the university would organise a formal gathering to comprise interested stakeholders to recognise the achievement of the disable athlete.
In a brief welcome luncheon at NSI, acting director Kaylie Martins said for Kompaon to train on grass track and go on to win silver on synthetic tracks was a milestone achievement.
She said it was the dividend for the dedication of coach Aglua, his support staff and Kompaon himself.
“Everyone was involved in one way or another towards getting Kompaon to achieve this milestone.
“He had been running on the grass track and to win a medal on synthetic track sends a message that despite of disabilities, dedication and commitments can pay off,” Martins said.
Kompaon said he was overjoyed when he finally knew that he had won a medal for his country.
He said whether he won gold, silver or bronze, it would not have mattered but he was overwhelmed because at least he won an Olympic medal for PNG.
“I already knew that I would win a medal because others were way behind the Australian (Heath Francis) and me.
“He was in lane seven and I was in lane three when we got to the finish. I celebrated wildly and that confused the Australian who thought I won gold,” he said.
He said he was the first person in the Pacific to win a silver medal at the Olympic level and described it as a great feeling.
His coach Aglua said Team PNG went as unknowns but were recognised after winning a medal in the T46 class 100m sprint and raising the PNG flag at the Bird’s Nest Stadium in Beijing.
“The win was not only for PNG but also for three-quarters of the black African nations, who did not win any medals at all at the Paralympic Games,” Aglua said.
Celebrations in Goroka are likely to continue for sometime this week before Kompaon is taken to his home province in East New Britain, where a bumper provincial celebration to be hosted by the ENB provincial government is planned.

Source: The National Newspaper [23rd September 2008]

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Sea-Level Rise In Papua New Guinea - The Carteret Islands

In one of my previous posting I highlighted the problem of sea-level rise in Papua New Guinea. The video below shows the impact of sea-level rise on the Carteret Islands of the Bougainville Province of Papua New Guinea.

[Video Source: Journeyman Pictures ]

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Papua New Guinea (PNG) Olympics Dream 2008 and Beyond

[ Photo: Ryan Pini leading the PNG Team in Beijing 2008 Olympics. Photo Source: The National Newspaper]
Papua New Guinean athletes currently in Beijing for the 2008 Olympic games deserves some kind of official recognition from the government of Papua New Guinea whether they win any medals or not. Without doubt the few Papua New Guinean athletes in Beijing have done their best by giving their time, talents and effort to make it to the Olympics representing the country they love. It will be shameful if the country they are representing has not invested and given them the best available opportunities to complete at the highest possible level internationally. What saddens me and probably a number of other Papua New Guineans too, is that, Papua New Guinea as a country has not made any serious impact on the Olympic scene. Since 1974 when the PNG Sport Federation (PNGSF) became affiliated to the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Papua New Guinea had its first Olympic game exposure and opportunity in 1976 in Montreal, Canada. Up until recently, through the work of the PNGSF, many Papua New Guinean sportsmen and women have had the opportunity to compete internationally with some success especially in the Commonwealth and the South Pacific games but, what Papua New Guinea needs now is to focus in making some kind of breakthrough in the Olympic games in 2012 and beyond.

Interestingly, one only needs foresight to realise the immense opportunities that exists to improve Papua New Guinea's tourism potential and its international image abroad. Papua New Guinea as a country needs to improve its image abroad and sports can play a significant role in that endeavour. When many Papua New Guineans are given the opportunity to train and compete abroad, it can only work for the good of the country. When we begin to see Papua New Guineans making the necessary breakthroughs around the world in sports, it can only bring more positive media coverage of Papua New Guinea as a country.

As one look beyond the Beijing 2008 Olympic games, one can only hope that the government of Papua New Guinea and the PNGSF, as partners in nation building, will seriously evaluate the funding, management and development of sports in Papua New Guinea in a more pragmatic, determined and proactive manner with the view of promoting sports within the country and abroad. It is through evaluation that mistakes of the past can be rectified for the collective benefit of the future. I am predicting that one day, Papua New Guineans will say that Olympic golds are no longer dreams but realities.....for now, good luck to Ryan Pini and the Papua New Guinea athletes in Beijing for the Beijing 2008 Olympic games.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Reviewing of the Dual Salary System in Papua New Guinea

From the National Newspaper [02 July, 2008]

Time to review pay structure, says PM
PRIME Minister Sir Michael Somare told Parliament yesterday it was time to review the dual salary system adapted during the colonial era.
Sir Michael said after the review, a single and equal salary structure would be proposed.
This, the Prime Minister said, would hopefully lure back PNG professionals now working abroad.
He said the dual structure was adapted before Independence when PNG did not have specialised and qualified people in the workforce. Expatriates were then recruited on a higher salary package to train Papua New Guineans.
He said Papua New Guineans have excelled and it was time to review the salary system.
“The time has come for PNG to have an equal salary structure. We can afford it.” The single salary structure is across the board for locals and expatriates alike in the both the public and private sectors.
The Prime Minister was responding to queries in Parliament by Western Governor Bob Danaya.

The Dual Salary structure in Papua New Guinea has forced many professional Papua New Guineans to work abroad where conditions are far better. It surely has taken a while for Sir Michael to realise that professional Papua New Guineans cannot be treated as second class citizens in their own country.

There are many other issues in Papua New Guinea that also need urgent attention. Most importantly, Sir Michael must work hard to create more jobs for many unemployed people in Papua New Guinea. When there are many people in employment, crime rate will certainly decrease and the living standard of many ordinary Papua New Guineans will improve. Things can only get better for the country when there is political will and determination by the leaders of the country to work for the collective good of its people.

The current standard of living and economic climate in Papua New Guinea is not conducive to stimulating economic growth and prosperity of the country and certainly many ordinary folks and citizens of the country are struggling to make ends meet for their families. What is really disheartening is that for many years qualified and highly skilled Papua New Guineans were discriminated against by a colonial salary system that is still in existence to this very day and age!

However, what Sir Michael is now proposing is something worth commending even if it is long over due. Lets just hope that his proposal will become law and reality.
[John B Nirenga- 02 July, 2008]

Friday, May 23, 2008

Papua New Guinea Gas Project Deal

[Report from the PNG National Newspaper 23rd May, 2008]

K38 billion gas project sealed

With a consortium that includes one of the world’s largest companies, Exxon Mobil, placing PNG on the global commercial scene.
The project will underpin the PNG economy for the next 40 to 50 years, as it has the potential to earn more than K130 billion in income for the Government and landowners over a 30-year period once LNG export begins.
The gas agreement was signed by the Governor-General, Sir Paulias Matane, and Petroleum and Energy Minister William Duma and the project’s joint venture participants which include ExxonMobil, Oil Search, Santos, Nippon Oil, MRDC and Eda Oil.
The agreement outlines the fiscal and legal framework by which the LNG project will be regulated through its lifetime.
The agreement was formally presented to the Prime Minister, Sir Michael Somare, at a ceremony in Parliament yesterday where executives of the joint ventures, members of the diplomatic corp, Members of Parliament and invited guests attended.
The Prime Minister said the agreement is a major achievement and provides a clear indication of the Government’s commitment to the project.
Sir Michael said its potential impact is significant as it could double the GDP of PNG and provide a big boost to the average income of the PNG workforce.
“Papua New Guineans should be proud.
“We have now become the 16th nation in the world to have a substantial LNG project in place,” Sir Michael said.
He said the PNG LNG project is of world class and will show the global community that PNG is an ideal place to invest and do business.
ExxonMobil project executive Peter Graham said the gas agreement has set out the fiscal regime and legal framework by which the PNG LNG project will be regulated.
Mr Graham said ExxonMobil, which has a 41.5% interest in the project, is pleased to have the gas agreement executed.
“We look forward to working with the PNG Government and our joint venture participants to maximum the value of the resource and long-term sustainable benefits to the community,” Mr Graham said.
The project is set to enter front end engineering and design (FEED) stage.
The FEED team will comprise personnel from ExxonMobil, the joint ventures and the FEED contractors based in PNG, Australia, the United States and Japan.
The FEED stage will pursue LNG sales agreements, secure necessary permits and licences, and undertake the financial planning necessary for investment decision.
Oil Search managing director Peter Botten said they were happy that the agreement has been executed. Oil Search has a 34% stake in the project.
The PNG LNG Project includes all development components including the processing facilities, pipelines and LNG plant facilities.
Other stakeholders are Santos 17.7%, AGL 3.6%, Nippon 1.8%, landowners 1.2%, and Eda Oil 0.2%. Interests will change when the PNG State’s nominee join as an equity participant at a later date.

Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare opens a gift box watched closely by ExxonMobil project executive Peter Graham and executives of joint venture partners and government officers at the presentation ceremony at Parliament House yesterday. – Nationalpic by WILLIAM WILLIANDO

Comments from J.B. Nirenga [May 23, 2008]

The signing of this gas deal between the government of Papua New Guinea and joint venture partners of Exxon Mobil is clearly historic but Papua New Guinea as a country, and more so the landowners from which this natural gas is located may not benefit a great deal in terms of infrastructural and socio-economical development. I may not be absolutely correct here, but I perceive that many of these so called resource development deals and agreements are done by the government of Papua New Guinea without any of its own tangible long-term plan for the country for creating an economy within the country that will create jobs and improve the standard of living of its people. After over thirty years since independence from Australia, Papua New Guinea has a growing population with high illiteracy amongst its population, and the standard of living has consistently dropped over the years. Crime and criminal activities are on the rise simply because there are no jobs for school leavers and many young people are just frustrated of a system that is working against them and their aspirations. I am hoping that when politicians and bureaucrats start thinking less of themselves and begin to serve their people, and their country maybe, just maybe..... the future will be bright again for Papua New Guinea.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Papua New Guinea and Australian governments yesterday agreed to preserve Kokoda

[Article from the Papua New Guinea National Newspaper, Dated: 24 April, 2008]

Kokoda to be preserved
THE PNG and Australian governments yesterday agreed to preserve Kokoda, putting an end to plans by an Australian company to develop a gold mine there.
Environment Minister Benny Allen announced that a Government task force had managed to convince the landowners to place the benefits to the nation and Australia above their aspirations.
He said the landowners will be given all infrastructure including schools, clinics and roads.
They will also be helped to sustain their livelihood, he said.
Mr Allen was speaking with his Australian counterpart Peter Garrett by his side.
Garrett said that the Kokoda trail had lured tourism from a mere 50 to 80 people a year to more than 1,000 in the last five years.
He said it was hard for Australia to see a heritage of iconic war-time value lost.
Under an agreement signed between the two governments, no mining will take place in Kokoda and the Owen Stanley Ranges of the Central and Oro provinces.
Mining Minister Dr Puka Temu told The National from Madang yesterday it is unlikely that the exploration licence currently held by Australian mining company, Frontier Holdings, will be renewed now that the agreement has been signed.
Dr Temu said he will be advising the mining advisory council against further mining exploration activities in the area.
Dr Temu, who is also deputy prime minister, described the agreement as well negotiated and “good news” for the landowners.
He said he will be meeting landowners of Kodu to explain the long-term benefits that will be gained as a result of the agreement.
Australian minister for environment, heritage and the arts Peter Garrett said in a statement after the signing that the Australian government has committed A$14.9 million to assist the PNG government in its efforts to improve the livelihoods of local communities along the track.
Garrett said Australia and PNG have agreed to preserve the historic values of Kokoda Track and maintain the integrity of the track.
He said the fund will assist to establish effective management arrangements so the track is protected and delivers increasing benefits to local people.
“Those funds will also be used to conduct a feasibility study into a world heritage nomination,” Garrett said.
He added that the department of veterans will administer A$1million of funding to develop educational materials to increase awareness of the special importance of the track.
“The Australian government is committed to following through with real resources and real action to assist the government and people of PNG in their efforts to protect the Kokoda Track and Owen Stanley Ranges while improving the people’s livelihoods.”

I view this landmark agreement between the governments of Papua New Guinea and Australia as truly significant and historic. Developing countries like Papua New Guinea at times succumb to the pressures of resource developers under the guise of creating "development" in remote and isolated communities and I may add that sadly such "developments" carries huge human and environmental costs. Kokoda may be a special case however, it is worth pointing out that Papua New Guinea is a country blessed with bountiful natural resources but careless exploitation of its natural resources will be at the expense of its future generation. Exploitation of resources can be done in a more pragmatic and sustainable manner. It only needs the government and its leaders to have a realistic long-term developmental plan for the country that requires foresight and takes into consideration the future needs and aspiration of the next generation. [John Nirenga, 24 April, 2008]

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

El-Nino blamed for poor harvest in Papua New Guinea

[Article from the Papua New Guinea National Newspaper - Wednesday April 23, 2008]

El-Nino blamed for poor harvest

DESPITE PNG recording low agriculture outputs during past national election years, election and politics are not to be blamed for these poor crop harvests, an Australian academic has said.
Dr Roderick Duncan, a marketing lecturer at the Charles Sturt University in Australia, in a recent Pacific Economic Bulletin issue, said his study has found that there had been declines in the production for PNG’s four main tree crops coffee, cocoa, oil-palm and copra during election years.
The election years covered in the study include 1977, 1982, 1987, 1992, 1997 and 2002.
However, based on calculations using models with data from PNG sources, Dr Duncan found that the four tree crop harvest declines in those years were not related to politics and the national elections, but were coincidently caused by the weather phenomenon known as the El Nino-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) during those election years.
ENSO results from the seasonal air pressure difference between Tahiti and Darwin, Australia, with high air pressure over Australia and low air pressure over Tahiti.
This brings weak trade winds resulting in droughts to countries in the Pacific like PNG.
Major ENSO episodes, he said, occurred in those years, which resulted in low rainfall during those years, affecting coffee, cocoa, oil-palm, and copra harvests.
“By estimating the supply functions of PNG cash-crop producers, what was discovered was that blame more likely lay with the ENSO episodes that occurred recently and coincided with low values with the elections of 1982 and 1997,” Dr Duncan said.
“It is this coincidence that could have led some observers to believe that harvests and elections were linked,” he said.

The above claim by Dr Duncan is quite interesting as reported in the Papua New Guinea National Newspaper today [Wednesday 23 April, 2008].

Where there is a lingering high atmospheric pressure system over an area, drought conditions can easily develop. One would most likely observe that air moisture and humidity will tend to decrease or is reduced dramatically. Furthermore, the sky usually have less cloud cover so there will be increased evapo-transpiration [evaporation from ground surfaces and from plants and vegetation]. Ground surface temperatures also increases during the day as insolation [incoming short-wave solar radiation] from the sun is not hindered by cloud cover. In the night, especially in areas like Kandep in the Enga Province of the Highlands of Papua New Guinea and other high attitude areas such as Togoba area of the Western Highlands of Papua New Guinea, night time temperatures will drop quite dramatically giving rise to early morning frosts which can be quite severe at times. As moisture in the air and soil continues to be reduced over an area by a lingering high atmospheric pressure system, one would generally observe that in such an area droughts can become established. [John Nirenga, April 23, 2008].

Monday, April 14, 2008

Climate Change and Papua New Guinea: Some Biological and Geographical Senarios

Global Climate Change can impact countries both positively and negatively in a variety of ways. But for now, I will consider broadly its biological and geographical implications as it relates to Papua New Guinea.

(1) Biological. Whilst it may be subtle in other geographic locations around the world, it can be quite pronounced in some. There may be species of plants and animals uniquely adapted to certain localities in Papua New Guinea that may not be able to migrate quite easily to newer ideal environments as their localities changes in response to the changing prevailing environmental conditions. Consequently, these plants and animal species can easily become extinct. For those plants and animals that are able to migrate, they will most certainly do and can become established in new territories. We may also find an increase in the population of bacteria and other micro organisms progressively from the coastal areas of Papua New Guinea inland upward towards the highland areas in response to increased surface temperatures. As a general note: bacterial activities and population tends to increase in warmer temperatures.

We may also find many new colonies of warmer aquatic life in upland streams and rivers as water temperature increases in response to warmer air and surface temperatures.

(2) Geographical. It is now an accepted fact that sea level is rising globally. The obvious impact of that will be the inundation and drowning of low lying coastal areas and the landward intrusion of saline water, hence contaminating the fresh water tables. Also, the global increase in temperatures has already impacted weather patterns around the world and it has influenced the severity of many weather and climatic events such as the monsoon rainfalls of South-east Asia and the prolonged drought in other parts of the world like the Ethiopia's southern Borena region.

The increase in temperatures means increases in the sea and land surface temperatures. Land and sea surface temperatures affects the air temperature which influences atmospheric pressures and working in concert with the Coriolis effect can influence the intensity and possibly the frequency of severe events such as tropical cyclones. Areas which are already dry can easily become more drier as drought conditions become established through prolonged dry periods.

Papua New Guinea is uniquely placed in the Southern hemisphere and like Australia is also influenced by other climatic events called the El nino and La Nina. It is highly likely that global Climatic change will only increase the severity and magnitude of these natural events.

Furthermore as we experience a global climatic change, the vast areas of high altitude land in Papua New Guinea once uncultivated because of the frosts and cold temperatures, may now become useful agricultural lands. This certainly will be good for the vast population of the highlands areas of Papua New Guinea.

Lastly, as areas of higher altitudes like the highlands of Papua New Guinea, will gets more warmer there will be health implications as I read from the article in the Papua New Guinea National Newspaper today. Below is the article in the Papua New Guinea National Newspaper.

[Article from the Papua New Guinea National Newspaper, Dated: 14th April, 2008]
Climate change poses real threat, says WHO
CLIMATE change has the potential to impact on a big scale on health of people, World Health Organisation representative to Papua New Guinea Dr Eigil Sorensen said.
Dr Sorensen said many lethal global killers like malaria, diarrhoea and malnutrition were sensitive to climatic conditions and together were responsible of three million deaths each year.
“WHO calculates that climate change and variability may already be the cause of an increase in the number of deaths ñ now at more than 150,000 annually ñ from malaria, diarrhoea, malnutrition and injury from floods, with half of those deaths occurring in Asia and the Pacific,” Dr Sorensen said in his speech delivered during the 12th National Health Expo.
He said the health scenario was changing and new challenges such as climate change was emerging which have implications for international public health.
“More and more people are exposed to common diseases such as malaria today than before due to climate change,” Dr Sorensen said.
Rising temperatures and increased rainfalls would result in mosquitoes being found in abundance in cooler climates, he said.
For Papua New Guinea, this could mean that that malaria would be more widespread in the highlands. People currently living in low-risk, or no-risk areas of malaria could in the future be at increased risk of malaria transmission, he said.
Dr Sorensen said the evidence for climate change was now clear and convincing.
“The Earth’s surface has warmed by more than 0.8 oC over the past century and by approximately 0.6 oC in the past three decades.
“This warming has been linked to more extreme weather conditions such as intense floods and droughts, heavier and more frequent storms, and a possible increase in frequency and intensity of the El Nino Southern Oscillation.”
Dr Sorenson said these changes were largely caused by human activities, mainly the burning of fossil fuels releasing carbon dioxide (CO2) that traps heat within the atmosphere.
“These CO2 emissions continue to rise, and climate models project the average surface temperature will rise by 1.1 oC to 6.4 oC over the 21st century if nothing is done about it,” he said.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Sea level Rise: A Problem in Papua New Guinea.

Rising Sea level is a problem faced by Papua New Guinea and many other countries in the world. It is often low lying coastal areas which are prone to the devastating impacts of sea level rise. I have witnessed first hand in Papua New Guinea whilst as an undergraduate student of geography at the University of Papua New Guinea in the late 1980's and as the Physical Geography Lecturer there in the 1990's. I had the opportunity to travel around some of the coastal low lying areas of Papua New Guinea including the Gulf and Western Provinces and it was not surprising to see the sea actively eroding and drowning huge chunks of the coasts. Many villages had to be relocated further back inland as the sea shore migrates inland. The problem is further exacerbated by increased salinity. Fresh water areas and estuaries are being drowned by progressive migration of saline water inland thus affecting local freshwater supplies. I can also perceive that there might be other complicating issues such as land tenure and ownership around coastal communities that could be a cause for concern in the future as portions of land including villages are being drowned by the sea and people are being forced to move elsewhere inland.

Today I read in the Papua New Guinea National Newspaper about the sea level rise threat to Manus Island of Papua New Guinea (see map; island description). Certainly, the government of Papua New Guinea has the political and moral responsibility to make sure that long term developmental plans for the country must consider the present as well as the future socio-environmental and economic interest of its people at heart in trying to manage this global phenomenon.

[Article from the Papua New Guinea National Newspaper -Dated: Friday 11 April,2008]
Rising sea level threatens Manus
A PROPOSAL is currently being worked on to relocate the villagers of Ahus island in Manus because of a rise in sea level.
Provincial administrator Wep Kanawi said negotiations are going on between the Ahus people and Laip, a close by village on the mainland, for the relocation.
Their food gardens and water sources have been affected. There is ongoing erosion making it difficult to build houses, make gardens and fish.
Mr Kanawi said the administration has set up a committee to help with the negotiations.
Similar problems are also being experienced in the other outer islands and coastal villages.
He said originally Manus had 218 islands. Seven have been covered by sea and between 50 and 60 villages affected.
The governor’s office is aware of the problem and said rise in sea level is a global issue and everybody’s concern.
An officer said they are aware of the negotiations between the two groups of people.
However, he did not disclose any immediate plans to relocate the people, but said the government is concern and would address it.
Asked if there was enough land on the mainland for the relocation exercise, he added: “There is enough land to relocate the people.”

Friday, March 7, 2008

Dawn of A New Era for Papua New Guinea and Australia

Papua New Guinea and Australia have come a long way. There is a lot of history between these two countries and I see this first official visit by the new Australian PM Rudd to Port Moresby this week as a significant boost towards a better working relationship between Port Moresby and Canberra. The front page of the Post Courier Newspaper in Papua New Guinea captivated a light moment between the two Prime Ministers. See below.

Below is also an article from the Post Courier Newspaper [March 7, 2008]

Somare and Rudd sign greenhouse gas deal

Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare yesterday signed an agreement with Australian colleague Kevin Rudd to lay the groundwork for the two nations to work towards reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
The agreement would enable the creation of a framework aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions in PNG from deforestation and forest degradation, improve the livelihoods of forest-dependent communities, and promote the protection of Papua New Guinea’s biodiversity.
“If you look at the overall challenge of climate change, the big source of emissions is coal-fired electricity generation around the world; a second big challenge for the overall climate change dynamic is what happens with deforestation and avoided deforestation. How do we best manage that into the future? And it is in this area where countries like Brazil, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea have such a significant role to play. That’s why in this Papua New Guinea-Australia forest carbon partnership, we’ve outlined a new framework to work together on this, a regular dialogue on how we can advance this agenda within the international forums of the world,” said Mr Rudd, after signing the PNG-Australia Forest Carbon Partnership Agreement with Sir Michael.
As part of the agreement, PNG and Australia will engage in policy dialogue on climate change issues, mainly focusing on how emissions from deforestation and forest degradation can be reduced using provisions of the Kyoto Protocol and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
Mr Rudd said a private carbon market scheme could be created as part of the agreement, which would enable PNG to make revenue from such a scheme.
“On the basis of them (PNG) engaging in programs to reduce deforestation,” he added.
A recently released report on climate change, produced by Mr Rudd’s climate change advisor Professor Ross Garnaut, recommended that Australia signed partnership agreements on greenhouse gas emissions with Indonesia and PNG.
Prof Garnaut said such an agreement, if built around a framework utilising large revenue flows for the sale of emissions permits for development purposes (including cash and development opportunities for village communities currently enjoying cash and services from forestry operations), could be advantageous for PNG.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Australian Prime Minister Rudd Official Visit To Papua New Guinea

The new Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd's official visit to Papua New Guinea today can be viewed positively as a means to mend strained relationship with Australia. Papua New Guinea's relationship with Canberra over the last few years was not good at all and most of the blame is on the previous Australian government under John Howard and its poor handling of issues affecting Papua New Guinea.

Below is a report [March 6, 2008] from the Papua New Guinea Post Courier

Red carpet rolled out for Aust PM Rudd

AUSTRALIAN Prime Minister Kevin Rudd will receive red carpet treatment when he arrives in Port Moresby this morning. Mr Rudd, who has visited the country and walked the Kokoda Track three years ago, is arriving for the first time as the new Australian Prime Minister. The colourful reception includes huge banners with his picture and traditional dancers from the four regions of the country. Mr Rudd arrives at the Jackson’s International Airport on an Australian Defence Force jet accompanied by a 20-member delegation.
The delegation will be welcomed by both leaders including the Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare, ministers and the singsing groups. A similar reception is planned
for Mr Rudd and his delegation when he visits the Highlands town of Goroka tomorrow where he will visit two Australia-funded projects.
He will meet his counterpart, Sir Michael today after making a courtesy call on the Governor-General Sir Paulias Matane at Government House. He will also meet with the Opposition Leader Sir Mekere Morauta and his deputy Bart Philemon. The Prime Minister who is here for a three-day tour, will visit Bomana War Memorial and lay a wreath before returning to the hotel awaiting the dinner at Parliament House hosted by Sir Michael. Mr Rudd is visiting on an invitation by Sir Michael at the Bali climate change forum late last year.
He was then newly appointed Prime Minister after defeating John Howard. His visit is expected to boost bilateral relations between the two countries which had been on a sour note before he became the Prime Minister.


Below is another report [March 6, 2008] from The National Newspaper

Welcome to PNG, Mr Rudd

AUSTRALIAN prime minister Kevin Rudd arrives today on an official visit, and is expected to discuss a wide range of issues with his PNG counterpart Sir Michael Somare.

Foreign Affairs, Trade and Immigration Minister Sam Abal said told The National yesterday that this is the first such visit in 11 years, and it underlines the importance of the relationship between the two countries.
“The visit is an important statement by the Rudd government in terms of our relationship,” Mr Abal said. “It shows PNG is right back on the radar.”
Mr Rudd will land at the Jackson Airport at 10am on an Australian defence force jet. He will be welcomed by Mr Abal and singsing groups, and inspect a guard of honour before heading to Government House to meet the Governor-General.
A planned protest to be staged by 500 Koiari landowners over the Kokoda Track issue was aborted when the National Security Advisory Committee warned them against it, the president of the Koiari local level government Willie Wavi said yesterday.
Intelligence sources reported a foreigner was involved in instigating the protest, but the situation has been contained.
Mr Wavi said the landowners were to protest over the plan to block a proposed mine and move to list the area on the World Heritage listing.
Mr Rudd may also be presented with a petition from news organisations in PNG and other Pacific Islands regarding the deportation of Fiji Sun publisher Russell Hunter.
The news organisations are expected to press Mr Rudd to oust members of the Fiji military from Ramsi duties in the Solomon Islands.
As of last night, discussions were still underway among news organisation from the Solomon Islands, Samoa and PNG to finalise the petition.
PINA president and NBC managing director Joseph Ealadona is expected to present the petition or make known the position of the Pacific media if given the chance to speak to Mr Rudd.
Meanwhile, the Australian media reported yesterday that Mr Rudd would canvass support from PNG and the Solomon Islands to impose further sanctions against the Fijian military government including sports boycott to force rugby obsessed military leader Commodore Frank Bainamara to respect human rights and return the country to democratic rule.
After paying a courtesy call on the Sir Paulias Matane, Mr Rudd will meet Sir Michael and his cabinet ministers in a conference and later will meet Opposition leader Sir Mekere Morauta and his deputy Bart Philemon.
In the afternoon he will visit the Bomana War Cemetery to lay wreaths on the Cross of Sacrifice, and later attend a State dinner in his honour hosted by Sir Michael.
Tomorrow, Mr Rudd will attend a breakfast co-hosted by the Australian-PNG Business Council and the PNG Business Council in association with the Australian Alumni Association, before flying to Goroka to tour the Institute of Medical Research and meet with NGO’s including Save the Children and Appropriate Technology Projects.
Mr Rudd will later be escorted by the CEO of the Coffee Industry Corporation Ricky Mitio through a coffee-tree-to-cup display, and to view a traditional mumu.
He then visits Goroka Base Hospital, the Eastern Highlands provincial administration headquarters and the Daulo district administration before returning to Port Moresby.
He leaves Port Moresby early on Saturday morning for the Solomon Islands.


Monday, February 4, 2008

Papua New Guinea Minister for Environment and Conservation Benny Allen MP Speaks Against Bribery

I read this article today [Monday February 4, 2008] from one of Papua New Guinea's Newspaper [The National] and found it quite interesting. Taking a stand against bribery is very courageous and I would like to commend Benny Allen MP, the Minister for Environment and Conservation for his stand against bribery.

Allen speaks against bribery

A GOVERNMENT Minister has revealed that he had been offered three bribes in his first five months in office by three different foreign companies of which he refused.
“If multinational companies can make inroads to the highest office to solicit their interest, others down the rank should be very careful,” Minister for Environment and Conservation Benny Allen said when calling on the newly sworn in members of the Environment Council to be wary of such unscrupulous approaches.
Mr Allen was using his experience to point out to the newly appointed members of the council for the need of transparency and for the members to practice professionalism and maintain a high degree of independence.
He called on the council members to help him build up the department together.
“I would not accept the bribes offered because I did not apply to be a minister of Parliament and a minister subsequently,” Mr Allen said.
“I did not have the qualification, however, the people have the trust in me and put me there. I made the decision for the good of the people, the children of this land and the country.”
When pressed about the bribe, Mr Allen without disclosing much detail, said the three firms were investors who wanted to go into business through shortcuts.
“Sorry, I will not accept what you are offering,” was what he told the investors.
He said he wanted to operate with principle.
“I am appealing to all staff of the department to do the same,” he urged.
The Department of Environment and Conservation issues environmental permit licences to developers engaged in developmental projects on both the land and sea. [The National Newspaper, February 4, 2008]

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Liverpool is the European Capital of Culture 2008

January 11th and 12th weekend was the start of the European Capital of Culture celebrations in Liverpool. There were more than 1,300 performers - from schoolchildren to ex-Beatle Ringo Starr at the launch of Liverpool's year as European Capital of Culture.

According to the Liverpool City of Culture Company website [] , they will be hosting a year- long programme of more than 350 events. Many of these events will be free and are set to attract an extra two million visitors to the city. Good news for the City of Liverpool in terms of the much needed economic boost!