France and Papua New Guinea Joint Declaration Launches Forest, Nature, and Climate Platform

On July 28, 2023, during the visit of French President Emmanuel Macron to Port Moresby, France and Papua New Guinea made a significant commitment to work closely together on developing a country-specific platform for forests, nature, and climate.

Papua New Guinea is home to vital carbon and biodiversity reserves, making it one of the world’s most important ecological regions. With nearly 7% of global biodiversity and a significant portion of the world’s third-largest tropical rainforest, the country has a negative carbon footprint. In light of this, Papua New Guinea is determined to implement a multi-year program aimed at protecting these vital reserves for the benefit of the nation, its people, and the entire world.

Recognizing the need for substantial economic and financial partnership from the international community, France and Papua New Guinea will work together to establish a country-specific platform for forests, nature, and climate. This initiative will closely involve the European Union as part of the “Team Europe” approach, alongside the United Nations agencies, Wild Life Conservation Society, Conservation International, Bezos Earth Fund, and any other partners willing to participate.

The key objectives of this partnership are as follows:

  1. Support and expand the network of protected areas and other effective conservation measures in Papua New Guinea to achieve the country’s commitment of protecting 30% of its land, marine areas, and inland waters by 2030, in line with the Kunming-Montreal Biodiversity Framework. This will involve assessing and efficiently managing existing protected areas or conservation zones, conducting a national science-based survey to identify new protected areas and other effective conservation measures, prioritizing areas with significant biodiversity and ecological integrity, and employing data-driven land-use planning. The updated Papua New Guinea National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan and any post-adoption updates to the Kunming-Montreal Biodiversity Framework will be taken into account, as well as the efforts made by the EU through the Forests, Climate Change, and Biodiversity program.
  2. Assist Papua New Guinea in developing appropriate guidelines for creating marine protected areas within its territory. Support the implementation of national ocean measures, emphasizing integrated ocean management and governance through capacity-building in oceanic and marine research, seafloor mapping, observation systems, marine spatial planning, and risk reduction. These efforts aim to enhance the management of oceanic and coastal resources.
  3. Invest in sustainable forest management and the establishment of sustainable value chains in the forestry and agricultural sectors. Proper certification procedures will be employed to enable Papua New Guinea to increase its revenue from its exceptional natural capital, in line with the “10by30” initiative launched at the “One Forest” summit. Additionally, the country aims to halt raw timber exports by 2025 to promote local processing, reduce deforestation and forest degradation by 2030, and minimize the loss of ecologically intact forests, as per the Kunming-Montreal Biodiversity Framework.
  4. Strengthen Papua New Guinea’s capacity for environmental and oceanic education and scientific research, including supporting the national forest survey and other technical and vocational training programs to create green jobs.
  5. Establish a robust monitoring mechanism in Papua New Guinea, leveraging existing platforms and state-of-the-art technologies to measure results in protecting areas of high ecological integrity and vital carbon and biodiversity reserves. This project will be supported by scientific cooperation and capacity-building programs involving national and international research organizations, France’s Institute of Research for Development (IRD), and existing initiatives under the “One Forest Vision” launched in Libreville.
  6. Study and develop appropriate instruments for long-term financing of biodiversity conservation, including projects related to Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+), voluntary carbon market projects, access to genetic resources and equitable sharing of benefits (APA), special funds dedicated to nature conservation, and biodiversity credits and certificates. The private sector will be encouraged to contribute to nature conservation efforts. Papua New Guinea, with the support of its partners, will establish a national action framework and adequate mechanisms for implementing graduated biodiversity mitigation measures, focusing on avoiding, reducing, restoring, and compensating for the impacts of development projects on biodiversity.

To accelerate, monitor, and assess progress, a task force will be established to ensure full participation and coordination of efforts between the Papua New Guinea government, relevant agencies, provinces, local communities, and international partners, including donors, NGOs, the private sector, and philanthropic organizations. France will particularly assist in establishing a high-level secretariat responsible for developing monitoring actions for the national package of measures, providing human resources and financial support.

A roadmap for the national package of measures is currently being developed and will be reviewed with partners willing to support it. The goal is to present it in Dubai during COP28 to mobilize new financing in line with Papua New Guinea’s strong commitments. France and Papua New Guinea call on all international partners, both public and private, as well as multilateral funds like the Green Climate Fund and the Global Environment Facility, to contribute to these efforts in protecting one of the planet’s most critical carbon and biodiversity reserves.