By JEFFREY ELAPA
THE government has urged all developed countries to take ownership of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and assisting developing smaller island states to adapt to climate change and its effects, Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare said during the 65th United Nations general assembly in New York last Sunday.
“Like other countries in the Pacific, climate change is of great concern to PNG.
“For us, we need no scientist to tell us of the negative impact of climate change.
“We live it and suffer from it. Many of our islands, like the Catarets, and coastal habitats, like my own Murik area, are being gradually submerged by rising sea levels.
“The result is that people living in these areas are becoming environmental refugees.”
He said lowland diseases, like malaria, were now occurring in the highlands of PNG.
“Unusual weather patterns, like increased incidences of cyclones, frequent heavy flooding and mud slides are causing havoc to our economies and exacting untold suffering on our people.
“All these challenges are taxing the budgetary resources of our countries and undermining our development plans,” he said, adding that international community had rightfully recognised the insidious effects of climate change and agreed to push forward the Kyoto Protocol, the Bali Road Map and the Copenhagen Accord to address the issue.
He said resources for adaptation and mitigation measures, particularly those committed in Copenhagen, must be made more readily available to developing countries.
“We note the initiative announced by Japan last week during the MDGs review and look forward to further details on what it constitutes.
“We also applaud the financial commitments and policy initiatives that China announced to assist developing countries implement the millennium development goals.
“ For Papua New Guinea, we have, with our colleagues from the Coalition of Rainforest Nations, committed ourselves to a programme of Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation, more commonly known as REDD plus.”