‘Copenhagen trip won’t cost K2.5m’

National, Normal

ENVIRONMENT and Conservation Minister Benny Allan has denied claims that PNG will spend about K2.5 million on a trip to Copenhagen, Denmark next month.
“The delegation to Copenhagen is still being finalised and costing is still under consideration,” Mr Allan said last Thursday.
He said the costs would include receptions hosted by the PNG Government.
Mr Allan also said he had no knowledge of the planned media event organised by a United States-based public relations firm at a reported cost of US$80,000 (K216,000).
He, however, confirmed that the UN-REDD board had recently earmarked US$3.8 million (K10.27 million) funding for PNG to undertake REDD readiness activities, subject to submission of a national joint programme that has been through country consultation process.
Mr Allan was responding to allegations raised in a series of questions by Eastern Highlands Governor Malcolm Kela Smith during Question Time in Parliament last Thursday.
He said the Government was preparing an interim low carbon development strategy to take to Copenhagen which was being coordinated by a technical team from a number of government agencies.
He said the studies cover a wide range of issues including among others: drivers of deforestation and degradation, development of a model for developing national greenhouse gas estimates for forestry and oil palm sectors and analysis of renewable energy opportunities for PNG, in particular hydro-power and greenhouse gas abatement opportunities.
Meanwhile, Mr Allan urged MPs not to make unsubstantiated allegations that would only make things difficult for PNG.
“I urge the MPs not to play politics or raise questions on carbon trading because Government does not have a policy or legislative framework in place,” he said.
Mr Allan said negotiations in Copenhagen would determine the outcome of whether PNG will be compensated for preserving its rainforest.
“It would not be easy to convince the United States and Australia if we continue making baseless
He warned landowners against rushing into agreements with “middlemen” as there was no law in place to safeguard their interests.
“It is risky for people to engage middlemen. My advice is to wait until a policy and legislation is put in place,” Mr Allan said.