Side Events at the 28th SPREP Meeting - Effectiveness of Papua New Guinea's Protected Areas

Better understanding of protected areas management and priorities were some of the key outcomes from Papua New Guinea's (PNG) Protected Areas project highlighted during a side event at the 28th Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) meeting, in Apia, Samoa.

PNG currently has 58 gazetted protected areas, both marine and terrestrial. Under PNGs new Protected Areas Policy it will regularly evaluate management effectiveness of these areas. The evaluation of the effectiveness of management within these protected areas was the main objective of the project SPREP was engaged to undertake as part of a larger initiative funded by the Global Environment Facility – Pacific Alliance for Sustainability (GEF-PAS) and implemented by the Conservation and Environment Protection Authority (CEPA), and executed by UNDP.

During the evaluation process, a globalManagement Effectiveness Tracking Tool (METT) was adapted to fit PNG's protected area context where there majority of areas are owned and managed by customary landowners, rather than government. The PNG-METT assessed the management effectiveness of protected areas including identifying important values, threats, status and trends.

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Ms Amanda Wheatley, Mr Stuart Chape, Ms Kay Kalim, Mr James Sabi and Ms Fiona Leverington. Photo: SPREP 
"The process of visiting the provinces, talking and listening to the communities and landowners is in essence more important than the actual assessment tool itself – it is important to listen to the people," said Mr. James Sabi, Manager-Terrestrial Ecosystems,CEPA.

Outcomes of these assessments showed that despite low levels of management capacity within protected areas, the majority of protected areas in PNG are estimated to be in good condition, and that the landowners value having a protected area on their land.

Ms. Kay Kalim, Director for the Sustainable Environment Programme, CEPA said during the consultations "Communities did not expect the government to do everything – they came up with many actions themselves but expressed the need for sustainable support, advice and some resources."

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SPREP's Ecosystem and Biodiversity Officer, Ms Amanda Wheatley. Photo: SPREP

"The evaluation of protected areas willassist PNG to identify priorities for their current process in improving management effectiveness within these areas, and also assists them in meeting global commitments of the Convention on Biological Diversity," said Ms. Amanda Wheatley, Ecosystem and Biodiversity Officer, SPREP.

For more information, please contact Ms. Amanda Wheatley at amandaw@sprep.org.

Presenters: Ms. Kay Kalim, Director for Sustainable Environment Programme, PNG, Mr. James Sabi, CEPA, Ms. Fiona Leverington – Consultant for Protected Area Solutions, Ms. Amanda Wheatley, SPREP
Partners: SPREP, Conservation and Environment Protection Authority - PNG, United Nations Development Program.
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