PNG ‘not ready’ for climate change

National

By PERO SIMINJI
The National Research Institute (NRI) says that PNG is not well equipped to manage adverse impacts of climate change even with lessons learnt from past incidents.
Senior research fellow and programme leader Prof Eugene Ezebilo told a group of participants in a research presentation in Port Moresby yesterday that government agencies responsible for managing natural disasters were not prepared well enough to adapt to climate change.
“As Papua New Guinea already witnessed drought and frost incidences in 1997 and 2015, it is expected that the country would have developed a sustainable adaptation and management strategy to cope with the drought and frost issues,” he said.
“The latest (2015) drought and frost incidences revealed that government agencies responsible for managing natural disasters in PNG were also not well equipped and prepared to tackle the problems faced.”
Ezebilo said more than two million people at the time were reportedly hard hit and as a result it led to food and water shortages in several provinces.
“Papua New Guinea has been a witness to many droughts and frost but despite this reality, the agriculture sector in the country has not been able to develop a climate adaptation strategy.”
“It was unable to develop an effective and efficient system for managing disasters associated with climate change.”
If the intention of the country is to re-associate with the effects of the climate change, such as droughts and frosts, it is important to create more public awareness on climate change, Ezebilo said.
“Support agricultural extension services for food and cash crops and make drought and frost-tolerant crop varieties accessible to more farmers, promote agricultural systems that combine crop production with forestry (agroforestry) and provide irrigation facilities,” he said.”
“In order to improve effectiveness in disaster management, it is necessary to improve funding of provincial disaster offices, train more citizens on planning and management of disasters and improve long-term monitoring and forecasts of climate change events,” Ezebilo said.

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