The UNDP resident representative, Dirk Wagener, highlighted the World Environment Day 2020 theme, which is ‘Time for Nature’.
Speaking at the launch of UNDP’s K175,000 grant to the Port Moresby Nature Park, Wagener said it is about time we slow down and listen to nature.
“One of the things we have been doing, unfortunately as humans, we have been more and more encroaching on wildlife and on areas which should be reserved for the flora and fauna of this unique country,” he said.
“And that has not just happened here, it has been happening globally. And that’s precisely the reason why this horrible virus – COVID-19 – has actually made its way from animals to us humans, and which has so greatly affected us.”
Wagener said this is why the UNDP has been supporting the nature park over the years, as well as working closely with the Conservation & Environment Protection Authority (CEPA) and other government agencies to expand the national protected areas network.
“Some of you may know that 7 percent of the global biodiversity is found in Papua New Guinea,” he continued. “That is something so unique and you don’t find such a high level of biodiversity in any other country. And that 7 percent of biodiversity you find it on 1 percent of the landmass.”
Nature Park general manager, Michelle McGeorge, said while the park is working hard on continuing its projects, it was not immune to the impacts of COVID-19.
“We are a charity so we rely on the visitation from the community to help us with our work, as well as the business community through sponsorship and NCDC,” she stated.
“So we’re really happy today to be able to work closely, and again with UNDP, to be able to support the park through this recent journey so that we can continue to do what we do best – which is preserving PNG’s wildlife and biodiversity.”
(A Matschie’s tree kangaroo enjoying a bite at the Port Moresby Nature Park)