The new edition of ACIAR’s flagship magazine, Partners in Research for Development, has just been released, covering our work in our closest regional neighbour—Papua New Guinea (PNG).
With its wealth of biodiversity—11,000 plant, 250 mammal and 700 bird species—PNG is a mega-diverse country. People have lived and thrived in PNG for several thousand years, but modernisation presents new and complex problems. Balancing its need for development while preserving its rich cultural and natural heritage, is one of the country’s greatest challenges.
As well as our strong historical ties, Australia and PNG are both richly endowed with a wealth of natural resources, including mineral and renewable resources. However, there is a need for more sustainable models of development, given the heavy reliance on depletable resources and harvesting primary resources, combined with rapid population growth.
Consequently, the PNG Government and ACIAR colleagues in PNG have refocused on developing sustainable agriculture, fisheries and forestry industries to foster more durable economic growth.
Through research partnerships brokered by ACIAR since the early 1980s, Australia is supporting the PNG forestry sector to support rural communities that depend largely on timber and non-timber forest products, and as a means of both adapting to and mitigating the effects of climate change.
As you would expect in an archipelagic nation comprising more than 6000 islands and more than 5000 kilometres of coastline, the fisheries sector will continue to be both a crucial source of protein for local people, and an important source of revenue for the government of PNG through the export of processed and unprocessed fish and other marine products.
As our closest neighbour, improving food security, biosecurity and human nutrition and health in PNG will always be a very high priority for Australian aid, and ACIAR in particular.
We are very proud of our track record in PNG, and the stories in the latest edition of Partners attest to the value of this enduring partnership.