I REFER to your report yesterday “Blame EU for spread of cholera, says Zibe”.
It quotes Minister for Health Sasa Zibe talking about the EU-funded water and sanitation projects, which, according to the minister, were based on “the European Union (EU) … working with foreign aligned ‘non-state actors’ to implement its multi-million kina projects”.
The minister commented that “it would have been better if the Government system is also included in the European Union’s programme …”.
I would like to point out there are currently three initiatives funded by the European Commission (EC), which aim at supporting the improvement of water and sanitation situation in Papua New Guinea, with a total allocation of K124 million.
Out of this support, only one project, with a budget of K1.15 million (less than 1% of the total), is implemented outside the PNG Government delivery systems.
Indeed, following the principle of national ownership, the Ministry of National Planning and Monitoring is the contracting and supervising authority of EC cooperation.
Therefore, the Department of National Planning and Monitoring is the “owner” of two major on-going projects supported by the EC – the rural water supply and sanitation programme (RWSSP), with a budget on K104 million and the district town water supply, with a budget of K21.7 million of which K19 million was granted by the EC.
These initiatives are aimed at providing improved water supply and sanitation to more than a quarter-of-a-million people in 600 rural communities across Papua New Guinea.
Incidentally, the success of the first phase of the RWSSP was presented in an article in The National (June 1, 2009) entitled “Rural water project a success”.
With 134 village schemes, 76,738 beneficiaries, 2,207 improved toilets, 57 gravity-fed systems, 455 tanks, three hydro-ram pumps, 27 shallow wells and boreholes, the programme has already significantly contributed to an improved the health status in the country.
The only project which is not directly implemented by the GoPNG is a third, smaller activity (with a total budget of K1.15 million), supervised by Unicef and aimed at reducing the incidence of water and hygiene-related diseases by increasing sustainable access to safe drinking water supply and basic sanitation rural population in the target areas.
It must be noted that Unicef works in close coordination with the national authorities.
Based on the declaration of state of public health emergency” in Morobe province by the Ministry of Health on Sept 9, the European Community Humanitarian Office (ECHO) sent a mission to the affected area and, in coordination with the authorities, decided to allocate €650,000 (K1.5 million) to help the victims of cholera, dysentery and A-type influenza.
The funds will provide much needed help to those who are suffering most and will aim at stopping the spread of the diseases further; it will be implemented by UN agencies that assist the GoPNG in the emergency.
Ambassador – Head of the European Commission delegation to Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu