EVEN though Papua New Guinea is a resource-rich country, its people are surrounded by poverty and underdevelopment.
This was according to a professional in the population policy and planning programme, Dr Israel Sembajwe, in his presentation last week.
Dr Sembajwe is in the country for the next two years assisting the National Research Institute (NRI) in developing tools that will help PNG with balancing the populations’ needs with the availability of its resources.
In his presentation at the institute last Wednesday, he said social indicators of poverty was either rising or remained stagnant at times.
Followind a two-month research conducted in PNG, Dr Sembajwe outlined that many developing countries were highly dependent on natural resources and there was a need for institutions in Papua New Guinea to streamline economic, social and environmental sustainability as examples from elsewhere indicated a trend that was mainly population-based.
It was also discovered that there was unsustainable exploitation of mineral resources in the country with little account taken of the environment and limited, or no efforts, to sustain levels of production and employment.
This was related to a number of causes in PNG, which included the over reliance of mineral resources, limited integrated and holistic policy-making and planning and a lack of measures to put the population at the centre of planning and policy-making.Dr Sembajwe also stated that for PNG to move forward and achieve some form of sustainable development, there was a need to have an integrated and holistic policy making and planning with all stakeholders also formulating and making concerted efforts to implement human-centred programmes.