Papua New Guinea (PNG) has been a Party to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) since signing it at the UNCED in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in June 1992.
The UNFCCC was ratified by the Government of Papua New Guinea (GoPNG) in April 1993. The signing and ratification of the UNFCCC by the GoPNG is a testimony of our strong commitment to fulfilling our obligations to the Convention.
It also signifies the concerns that PNG has about the issues pertaining to the impacts of climate change affecting its people and their survival.
An important pillar of this Climate Convention is the commitment, common but differentiated responsibilities, by all Parties to take the necessary steps and measures to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system.
This is further strengthened and reflected by the commitment of all Parties to submit to the Conference of the Parties (COP) National Communication under Articles 4 and 12 of the Convention.
The Kyoto Protocol (KP), the only legal binding agreement by Parties to the UNFCCC to address the issue of climate, was setup immediately after the establishment of UNFCCC in 1992.
Signed in Kyoto, Japan, in 1997, it commits developed country Parties to reduce their greenhouse emissions by 5% to their respective 1990 levels by 2012.
To assist in this, they can use carbon offsets by implementing “Clean Development Mechanism (CDM)” in countries like PNG.
However, this will now be superseded by the new Paris Agreement which PNG just recently signed in New York with 175 other countries.
The agreement is aimed to include all countries, both developed and developing, to commit to carbon emissions reductions according to their own intentions and circumstances.
PNG is the first country to submit its “Intended National Determined Contributions (INDCs) which covers the period before the Paris COP.
The INDCs will serve as a target to be achieved as a Party to the new agreement beyond 2020.
The GoPNG has also gone ahead in embarking on a number of new initiatives aimed at supporting our commitment to the UNFCCC.
These included mainstreaming climate change in our current national long term political vision, plans and strategies, namely the Vision 2050 and the National Strategic Plan 2010-2030.
Furthermore, government’s strategy on climate change, the PNG Climate-Compatible Development Strategy, already identifies key priority areas to improve our economic growth whilst reducing greenhouse gas emissions and enhancing climate resilience.
Another milestone is the establishment of the Climate Change and Development Authority (CCDA) to facilitate and develop appropriate policies and where required, necessary legislation to address the issues relating to climate change.
In addition, PNG has been leading a proactive Coalition of Rainforest Nations, engaging in negotiation under UNFCCC for its 52 member countries especially on REDD+ issues since raising the issue at COP11 in 2005 in Montreal, Canada.
▹Figure 1: The UNFCCC request Parties when implementing REDD+ in a transparent manner must have the four principle support by national policies
REDD+ is an effort to reduce carbon dioxide emissions (17.4% in 2004) and increase carbon sequestration in the forestry sector.
REDD+ stands for Reducing Emission from Deforestation and forest Degradation, (+) conservation, sustainable management of forests and carbon stock enhancement.
The “plus” in REDD+ is an important addition as it includes the role of conservation, sustainable management of forests and enhancement of forest carbon stocks, therefore going beyond only deforestation and forest degradation.
The UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) Conference of the Parties (COP16, Cancun 2010) decision encourages developing Country parties to contribute to reducing GHG emissions in the forest sector by undertaking REDD+ activities.