Conservation documentary launched

The UNDP and its partners and stakeholders recently launched the documentary, “In Search for Equilibrium”, at Airways Hotel in Port Moresby.

The video was produced to promote conservation projects in the Momase Region with the support of Small Grants Program through the commitment of the Conservation and Environment Protection Authority (CEPA).

The video was produced to display four different small grants projects that were awarded to communities in the Momase region.

Launched to coincide with the World Environment Day on June 5, it featured communities of Lumi in West Sepik, Ambunti in East Sepik, Karkum and Sarang in Madang Province and Ronzi on the border of Madang and Morobe provinces.   

One of the projects is on the leatherback turtles’ preservation, another of crocodiles’ preservations, another on a special tree kangaroo in Lumi and yet another on the conservation of the environment.

Speakers during the launch, including community members, expressed their frustrations at the lack of sufficient funding to support such important projects to conserve the environment and its inhabitants.

Whilst the efforts of UNDP and other NGOs were appreciated, it is the government funding that is lacking.

Present at the gathering were the governors of East and West Sepik provinces as well as community representatives from the four small grants projects communities, officers from CEPA, Conservation NGOs and the UNDP country representative.

East Sepik Governor Allan Bird said: “Our people will start to deplete their traditional sustenance and therefore, personally I think conservation in the hope that people will just stop hunting animals because someone in the West world feels that we should stop killing animals. People need to eat.

“In Sepik we’ve got some wonderful models of development that don’t exist anywhere else in the country, particularly around vanilla and small crops, and getting our access to market.

“We are working on financial literacy and trying to ensure that the prosperity lasts longer.”

Governor Bird further expressed that funding to his province has not been allocated proportionately.

“We in our communities a lot of people think the government has a lot of money. When I became governor I find out that some of the funding we get for infrastructure, and operational costs for public service, were not allocated sufficiently.

“Thus with the limited budget and so conservation falls down to the bottom of the list. So what do you do, do you spend money to conserve some animals in the bush or do you put medicine to save a life?”

The 1-hour long video was produced by the University of Goroka Centre for Social & Creative Media.

(Tree kangaroo picture by Bruce Beehler)

Frieda Kana