Leaving no one behind, bringing everyone together with digitalisation

Undp png's natural resources management hub

For Gesupo (not his real name), a villager from the heavily forested Tavolo Wildlife Management Area (WMA) on the island of New Britain, attending the UNDP Protected Area Management Effectiveness Tracking Tool (METT) workshop was the fun part. The hard work was in getting to the workshop venue.
This journey took them on a two-day trek through the lush, pristine rainforests of Tavolo Wildlife Management Area, followed by a short hop on a mission plane waiting at an airfield. Finally a two-hour boat ride from Pamalmal to the workshop venue in Kokopo, East New Britain Province. Anticipating their exhaustion, the organisers had thoughtfully allowed for a day of recovery for all participants.
Leaving no one behind, UNDP’s guiding value – while supporting the digitalisation of Papua New Guinea’s environmental information management – is no easy task. In this country’s complexity of landscapes, the digital process calls for bringing together diverse communities, representing over 800 languages, varying levels of literacy, and a range of occupations.

In a series of workshops conducted in 2016 and 2017, customary landowners and community members from 58 Protected Areas learned about the Management Effectiveness Tracking Tool or METT, now customised with UNDP’s support, for PNG’s unique cultural needs. The PNG-METT tool is designed to help evaluate the management of Protected Areas and help to digitise and centrally share environmental data.

The journey so far

Papua New Guinea’s rich traditional cultures and wealth of indigenous knowledge is isolated locally with limited national access. As a result, Protected Areas may be prone to mismanagement. Digitalisation allows this environmental and natural resources data to be centralised and made available nationally.
Issues raised by customary landowners at the METT workshops included the younger generation’s lack of knowledge on the boundaries of Wildlife Management Areas and the need for them to appreciate Protected Areas and their values. They were also concerned about the absence of research and monitoring plans, conservation training, emergency procedures and maps.

“For us, especially indigenous people, it’s our life. We have this deep connection, this cultural connection with our forest, but we lack that management component. Maybe we have a cultural perspective on management, but maybe we lack modern, scientific management approaches.”

Junior Novera, PhD

Kunua Key Biodiversity Area, Bougainville

how centralising nrm data empowers communities

By integrating scientific data and traditional knowledge, a new Natural Resource Management (NRM) Hub (available at www.png-nrmhub.org) under development by UNDP, will bridge the flow of NRM data between communities and the government, including international organisations, NGOs, academics, policymakers and civil society organisations.

Community members will find it easier to access financial, logistical, and technical help for managing and safeguarding their Protected Areas. An increase of knowledge will include communities as better advocates for change. Communities will be further empowered to improve measures such as physically marking Protected Area boundaries to resist encroachments by logging and oil companies.
Policymakers armed with more granular environmental data from Protected Areas will make better decisions for mitigating hazard damage and controlling illegal activities. Over time, centralised data could literally catalyse a new level of NRM in Papua New Guinea.

The nrm hub: a toolbox for centralising environmental data

UNDP’s new initiative towards centralising PNG’s environmental data is the UNDP Natural Resource Management (NRM) Hub, featuring online data-gathering and sharing tools such as the Lukim Gather mobile data collection app, two browser-based mapping portals, and a Protected Area toolkit for assisting in the establishment and management of protected areas.

This technology will help make environmental information available to under-represented groups in various settings, thereby expanding the reach of data. For example, to make data collection and uploads easy for community members, the Lukim Gather app’s user-friendly interface takes an icon-based approach, and can work offline in areas without a signal.

The vast trove of information available through the NRM Hub will include geospatial data and maps, making it a centralised base for data disaggregation.

Join the png protected area forum - 30 may-10 june

A dedicated session on the Natural Resource Management Hub tools, including Lukim Gather, will be held during the National Protected Area Forum (PA Forum), held at the Hilton hotel in Port Moresby between 30th May and 10th June 2022.
The PA Forum is organized by the Conservation Environment Protection Authority (CEPA) with support from UNDP. The second inaugural event is an important platform for the discussion of important issues and an opportunity to communicate conservation and protected areas matters. The first week of the forum will be dedicated to discussion around the five key pillars in the Protected Area Policy (governance and management, sustainable livelihoods for communities, effective and adaptive biodiversity management, managing the protected area network, and sustainable and equitable financing). The second week will consist of a training programme on Protected Area Management and Financing.
The deadline to apply to attend the Protected Area Forum in person is Friday May 13th. Virtual registrations will be accepted up until the start of the Forum.