The National, Thursday July 12th, 2012
DATA used in the state of Coral Triangle report on Papua New Guinea is outdated, an expert says.
World Bank environment department senior coastal and marine specialist Dr Marea Hatziolos said the PNG data was 20 years out of date.Hatziolos made the comments while analysing a presentation by PNG National Coral Triangle Initiative coordinating committee representative Vagi Rei.Rei had highlighted the work of the PNG team during a symposium, “Science and governance in the global centre of marine biodiversity” at the Sebel Hotel in Cairns, Australia, on Saturday.While happy with the effort put into the PNG report, Hatziolos was concerned about a number of things, including the outdated data used, particularly socio-economic data.She said there were many legislation and regulatory frameworks and an incredible wealth of customary and traditional knowledge that were taking the place of formal legal structure in terms of helping communities manage their resources and that needed to be captured.“The report made a pitch for capturing that traditional knowledge, documenting, cataloguing it before it is lost as it’s so important. We need to bring it back,” she said.Hatziolos highlighted that a gap in the regulatory structure in PNG was the absence of strategic environmental assessment.“There is no way to assess the cumulative impacts or to plan in a way that will take into account impacts over time of industries that are expanding,” she said. Hatziolos said that created a huge risk and needs to be managed. Rei admitted the data was outdated, saying the report was still in draft form as inputs from partners and other stakeholders had not reached them yet but would be captured once they got it.
“The presentation was to stimulate feedback as well as make our people contribute what they were supposed to contribute eight months ago,” he said.