By ALISON ANIS
DEPUTY Prime Minister Sir Puka Temu said Papua New Guinea’s population is growing at an alarming rate of 2.3 % annually and is said to be one of the highest in the region.
Sir Puka said this yesterday while launching the 2010 National Census in Port Moresby and added that the rate of growth has continuously put pressure on the natural resources and is increasingly affecting many lives.
“Our forests, reefs, wildlife, land, water once used to sustain lives are now on the road to depletion due to increased human activities as a result of population explosion,” Sir Puka said.
He said this has contributed to an increasing number of socio-economic challenges such as land disputes, rural urban migration, unemployment, increased health problems such as sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and HIV/AIDS, including lawlessness.
He said the Government and stakeholders needed the availability of updated data and information through research, studies and the census to articulate right development strategies to effectively respond to these development challenges and others faced by the country.
Sir Puka said while the objective of the census was to take stock of population in a given time, the Government had identified the need to have information on climate change and issues relating to violence against women and girls and family health.
He added that the Government was mindful of these issues as key challenges that were affecting certain components of the population.
“The displacement of people caused by natural disasters like flooding, landslides, cyclones and high sea levels in many parts of the country was a grave concern. “Population dynamics, poverty and gender equality require quantitative data and information for strategic and effective response by Government and the people,” Sir Puka said.