K32.1m to help rural people

National, Normal

The National, Thursday, May 12, 2011

THE European Union is providing €9.2 million (K32.1 million) over four years to Papua New Guinea to start the first phase of a €41.5 million (K150 million) programme to develop the rural economy and improve livelihoods in the rural communities.
Planning and Monitoring Minister Paul Tiensten said at the signing yesterday that the European Union had done great work in the development of PNG and this was another great example.
“The partnership between the EU and PNG is an excellent example of effective joint effort towards development.
“This programme will help improving livelihoods and reduce poverty through business investments where it is most needed in our country’s rural areas,” Tiensten said.
He said EU funds had to be specifically recognised and not diluted with funds from other donor agencies like AusAID.
 “We want to specifically use these funds to localise and identify areas where there is a major need, especially poverty pockets and hot spots that exist in the country,” he said.
“How does that money effectively translate to every citizen? Now this is a question that we, as a department and government, have to see carefully so it helps us with monitoring progressively,” Tiensten said.
He thanked and acknowledged EU’s contributions in helping develop PNG.
The EU head of delegation in PNG Martin Dihm said: “the EU-funded rural economic development programme will go on a longer term, enabling rural district administrations to implement their district development plans, thereby stimulating and increasing economic development in rural areas.”
This first phase of the programme aims at: 
* A comprehensive con­cept for supporting district administrations and the private sector in order to achieve an improved  enabling environment for economic activities in rural areas;
* A limitation of the negative impact of the cocoa pod borer disease on the cocoa industry;
* On-going assessments and monitoring of PNG forest cover, forestation and deforestation and provision of genetic resources for teak plantations, with a view at paving the ground towards reduced emissions deforestation and degradation funding; and
* Lessons from village level trials on how millennium development goals can be achieved.
He said in the spirit of country ownership, the programme would be managed within the PNG government system.