Economically enhance the natural environment of PNG

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Papua New Guinea holds around seven percent of the world’s biodiversity and the United Nations Development Program wants this reflected in its economy.

UNDP is working with James Cook University in Queensland to determine how an economic value can be attributed to nature.

Coast of New Britain, Papua New Guinea.
Photo: Alex smith

PNG Resident Representative for UNDP Dirk Wagener said what is often overlooked is that environmentally-generated ecosystems produce many services for people.

“Like food, water, wood, but also clean air – the climate regulator. But often these services are undervalued. And one of the first steps to actually integrating ecosystem services into your balance sheet. overall is to value them. ”he said.

Wagener said if precise measurement was placed on food, water, wood, clean air – the environment – it could be factored into government decision-making.

He said that at the moment these items were treated as free good.

According to him, it is not a question of making people pay for air per se, but what they defend is to have a long-term vision of the country’s assets.

Papua New Guinea.

Papua New Guinea.
Photo: DOZIER Marc / hemis.fr

“You can go ahead and harness your natural resources that you see physically, but you have to start factoring into your long-term development what services you are actually losing and those assets and economic values ​​you are actually losing.

“So unless you put a value on these ecosystem services, you won’t be able to do that,” Wagener said.

He said that such an assessment of the biodiversity value of PNG could possibly make it very rich.

Wagener said the agency adjusted its human development report to include per capita resource extraction and per capita carbon emissions.

“Human development is not just how old you get, how much you earn and how healthy you are, human development is also how you sustainably work with your natural environment – whether you exploit it or you were using it long term, ”he said. noted.

“And yes Papua New Guinea, if you look at its natural capital, its natural resource, it is actually one of the richest countries in the world.”

Much of Papua New Guinea is covered with forests.

Much of Papua New Guinea is covered with forests.
Photo: Forest trends


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