Joint Mission For Peace And Development

A UN joint mission was led by United Nations Resident Coordinator a.i in PNG, Dirk Wagener, to Hela and Southern Highlands Provinces, to visit communities the UN is supporting, to create conditions for peace and development.

UN agencies, development partners, and national government representatives were part of the joint mission.

“Without peace, there can be no development and without development there cannot be peace”, noted Mr. Wagener, as he led the joint mission comprised of heads of UN Highlands Joint Programme, UNDP, UNFAO, UNFPA, UN Women and IOM.

“You have actually shown how you can use some of the support UN has provided and scale it up. And don’t keep it for yourself, but you know, share your knowledge, share your seats, share your community approach with other communities. Because what you are actually demonstrating, what you are showing is that you can build a livelihood and that you can share your wealth of information with others and that everyone is going to be better off by doing so.”

Accompanying the UN delegation were the British High Commissioner to PNG, H.E Keith Scott, representatives from the New Zealand High Commission, the US Embassy, USAID, and the Department of National Planning and Monitoring.

The visit included consultations with key provincial stakeholders, such as provincial Governors and Administrations, civil society actors, the private sector, and many local communities with the aim of seeking all perspectives around the challenges to achieving peaceful and prosperous communities.

UNDP Resident Representative, Edward Vrkic said, “Because we recognize, without stability, there is no opportunity for development. And this is very important for our other agencies with their interventions, UN Women and UNFPA and IOM and FAO, it all hinges on the work that UNDP’s doing.”

Field visits to numerous post-conflict communities included discussions on ways to addressing the root causes of conflict and fragility.

In Hela province, the delegation discussed the challenges of post-conflict recovery needs with two formerly opposing communities now at peace, mediated with UN and church support, while also witnessing community-led efforts in sustaining peace through advocacy and youth mobilization.

In Southern Highlands Province, women and youth shared their concerns and needs. A special trip was made to a church-run shelter and rehabilitation center for survivors of Sorcery Accusation-Related Violence.

The British High Commissioner to PNG said, “Sums up why I’m here, why all my colleagues are here. Its on the one hand to learn firsthand about the problems and challenges you face in the community, not challenges on paper but real challenges that you have lived through and that you are still living through, and to help us understand better what you are experiencing.”

The UN has been working across the humanitarian-development-peace nexus in both Hela and Southern Highlands provinces since 2018 with the support of the UN Peacebuilding Fund, the Hela Provincial Government, the Government of Japan, the Government of the Republic of Korea, and most recently the United Kingdom (UK) Government. The UN’s support is in line with their pursuit of building long-lasting peace and sustainable development that sees communities freed of violence and the most vulnerable protected.


Carol Kidu