In preparation for World Environment Day this Friday the Minister for Environment, Conservation and Climate Change Hon. Wera Mori officially launched the 10 million tree planting program in the Eastern Highlands Province on Friday, May 28. The aim of this program is to plant 1 million trees every year for 10 years to contribute to the mitigation of climate change impacts, the protection of the environment, and to improve livelihoods for local communities. At present the program is focused on the Eastern Highlands and Simbu Provinces.
A number of guests attended the launch including the National Capital District Governor Hon. Powes Pakop, Unggai Bena MP Hon. Benny Allan, UNDP Resident Representative Dirk Wagener, Climate Change Development Authority Managing Director Ruel Yamuna, Conservation and Environment Protection Authority Deputy Managing Director Dilu Muguwa, Cardno Deputy Chief of Party Tom Pringel, and WCS Country Director Dr. Ambroise Brenier.
As part of the launching program the Minister for Environment, Conservation and Climate Change and all the guests visited WCS demonstration nursery in Goroka and learned from WCS community reforestation program. This program is a partnership between WCS and four communities living along the Bismarck Range. In total, over the last three years, more than 32,000 community-grown Highlands native timber and tree crops seedlings have been produced. These have been planted over 42 hectares, which is approximately equal to the total calculated area deforested in these four communities between 2001–2013.
In addition, WCS facilitated guests from the Conservation and Environment Protection Authority, Cardno, K92 Mining and the Asaro District to visit the Wamuifa community. WCS was proud to take participants to this community, which WCS has supported to develop two community nurseries. The Namta St. Benedict Primary school, Wamiufa community-based organisation (WAMU5) and local councilor, President Peter Sundu hosted the ceremony. Highlights of the event included local musicians and cultural dances, distribution of native tree seedlings and environment awareness posters by WCS, quizzes and presentation of gifts to school students by the Conservation and Environment Protection Authority.
Finally, as part of this launching program, the Minister for Environment, Conservation and Climate Change Hon. Wera Mori presented K10,000 to WCS to assist our native tree community reforestation program.
WCS community reforestation program is funded by the European Union’s Sustainable Wildlife Management Programme, the Australian Government’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the USAID Lukautim Graun Project.