A ROCHA INTERNATIONAL S INVOLVEMENT IN PAPUA NEW GUINEA

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1 A ROCHA INTERNATIONAL S INVOLVEMENT IN PAPUA NEW GUINEA Papua New Guinea (PNG) remains substantially covered with tropical forests, known to have immensely rich and highly endemic flora and fauna. However, considerable numbers of species remain undiscovered, especially in poorly explored, remote, humid tropical forests. In 2008, A Rocha International (ARI) launched its Species Discovery and Conservation programme in Papua New Guinea to (i) discover and describe new species, (ii) develop and implement strategies to conserve species and their habitats, and to (iii) encourage and build the capacity of the Church in PNG to strengthen the role of Christian communities to participate in, and facilitate, community-based care for God s creation and the biodiversity it contains. In 2009, ARI in collaboration with Conservational International (CI), PNG Institute of Biological Research (PNGIBR), and local communities, conducted biodiversity surveys in Nakanai Mountains (East New Britain), Muller Range (Southern/Western highlands), and in Mt Michael & Hogave forest in Eastern Highlands of PNG. These studies documented over 2000 plant and animal species, with at least 180 species potentially new to science. The next step is to assess the conservation status of habitats and species, and to work with local communities and other stakeholders to care for God s creation through practical conservation, research, and environmental and theological education. ARI is also working with the Evangelical Alliance of Papua New Guinea (EAPNG) to encourage and build the capacity of the Church to fulfil its role of caring for God s creation training, community-based projects, and through promotion of creation theology. ARI and EAPNG have organized activities, including meetings with the Goroka Pastors Fraternity and the Hogave local communities. The Church model of biodiversity conservation is becoming popular in PNG because over 90% of the PNG population is classified as Christian, and conservationists are beginning to realise that local communities tend to value what is said from the pulpit much more than what the Government or other conservation agents say. Why should Korsvei participants support capacity building of Church leaders in Papua New Guinea? Papua New Guinea s tropical forests are immensely rich in unique plant and animal species, but they are vulnerable to logging, oil palm production, mining, and agriculture, partly because some communities support these activities. Building the capacity of the Church to promote creation care has been recognized as a viable approach to conservation in PNG because over 90% of the population is Christian and local people tend to trust Church leaders more than other conservation agents.

2 A ROCHA INTERNATIONAL SCIENCE AND CONSERVATION DIRECTORATE SUMMARY OF THE PROPOSED PROJECT GENERAL INFORMATION Project title: Capacity building of the Church for creation care in Papua New Guinea Project duration: 1 year Country in which the project will be implemented: Papua New Guinea PROJECT LEADER Name: Dr Martin Leckson Kaonga Mailing address Telephone number: +44 (0) Fax: +44 (0) Building/Suite: A Rocha International Number and street: 3 Hooper Street, Cambridge CB1 2NZ District/city: Cambridge Province/State: England Country: United Kingdom Postal code: CB1 2NZ PROPOSING INSTITUTION Legal name: A Rocha International Building/Suite: Number and street: 3 Hooper Street, Cambridge CB1 2NZ District/city: Cambridge Province/State: England Country: United Kingdom Postal code: CB1 2NZ Telephone number: +44 (0) Fax: +44 (0)

3 COLLABORATING INSTITUTIONS Evangelical Alliance of Papua New Guinea, Goroka, PNG PARTICIPATING INSTITUTIONS Institute of Biological Research, Goroka, PNG ABSTRACT/SUMMARY OF THE PROJECT PROPOSAL The tropical rainforests in Papua New Guinea are one of the few remaining centres of greatest biological diversity. However, these ecosystems are threatened with biodiversity loss and degradation due to a wide range of human activities, including forest clearance for agriculture, biofuels, timber, minerals, and other ecosystem services. Several conservation initiatives have been implemented by the PNG government and other conservation-based organization, but threat levels have continued to rise. One of the potential conservation options is to use the Church to promote creation care. In 2003, the Churches signed an inter-faith Goroka Declaration on the Church and environment to promote care of the environment in PNG through education, advocacy, motivation and practical support. A Rocha International (ARI) is currently working with the Evangelical Alliance of Papua New Guinea to support the Church in Papua New Guinea in its efforts to care for creation. The objective of this project proposal is to build the capacity of the PNG Church and Christian communities in biodiversity hotspots to participate in, and facilitate, biodiversity conservation through environmental education. To achieve this project, A Rocha in collaboration with EAPNG will conduct a workshop for Christian leaders and communities in the Hogave area in Eastern Highlands of PNG at an estimated budget of GB 3,000. This activity will assist the participants to (i) broaden their understanding about the biological value of species and ecosystems in their areas, and (ii) proactively facilitate community-based conservation in the Hogave forest.

4 DETAILS OF THE PROJECT RESEARCH PROBLEM AND JUSTIFICATION/PROJECT JUSTIFICATION Considerable numbers of species remain undiscovered, especially in poorly explored, remote, humid tropical rainforests in PNG. In 2009, A Rocha International (ARI), in collaboration with Conservational International (CI), PNG Institute of Biological Research (PNGIBR) and local communities, conducted biodiversity studies in Nakanai Mountains, Muller Range and Mt Michael in PNG. The studies documented over 1500 plant and animal species, including over 180 potentially new species. Discovery and description of species increases our biodiversity knowledge, reduces loss of undiscovered benefits for humans, and provides incentive for biodiversity conservation initiatives. However, these species and their habitats are threatened by human activities including logging, agriculture, palm oil plantation, and mining. These fragile species and ecosystems need conserving. Studies of conservation work in PNG have shown that local communities adjacent to centres of biological diversity listen more to Church leaders (Clergy) than to government and other development agents in natural resources management. Undergirded by the Evangelical Alliance of PNG, Churches in PNG signed the Goroka Declaration on Church and the Environment in The Declaration states: We Christian leaders who have met in Goroka for a week (May 25-30, 2003) of consultation on the theology of the environment declare that from now on we are making a serious commitment to promoting care of the environment in PNG through education, advocacy, motivation and practical support. We will preach the message in our churches and provide a variety of relevant written materials. Based on the inter-church commitment to care for the environment in Papua New Guinea, ARI is currently working with the Evangelical Alliance of Papua New Guinea to build the capacity of the Church in the Eastern Highlands of PNG to strengthen the role of Christian communities to participate in, and facilitate, community-based creation care. In July 2009, ARI and PNGIBR staff biologists ran 2 weeks of biological sampling of birds, mammals, some insects, and set-up a permanent 1 hectare vegetation plot within the Hogave Conservation Project forest. However, the ability of the local Church leaders and Christian communities to contribute to conservation of species and habitats in the Hogave forests very much depends on their knowledge about, and perceived value of the biodiversity in the area. Therefore, there is an urgent need to build the capacity of the Church and Christian communities in their role of promoting and outliving creation care.

5 OBJECTIVES The overall aim of the proposed project is to build the capacity of the Church and Christian community in the Eastern Highlands in Papua New Guinea in their role of promoting and practising creation care. ARI and EAPNG will specifically conduct a three-day training workshop in biodiversity, climate and sustainable livelihoods. Apart from conserving biodiversity, the workshop will help to create awareness in ecosystem-based climate change mitigation and adaptation. METHODOLOGY The Evangelical Alliance of Papua New Guinea will organize a five-day workshop for Church leaders and Christians at the Hogave Conservation Centre in Rufa District. The EAPNG will: Identify workshop participants from Churches in the Hogave Conservation Management Area, Contract two resource persons with expertise in biodiversity conservation and livelihood systems to conduct workshops, Mobilise Church workers to assist with accommodation and preparation of meals, Provide other logistical support to ensure the workshop meets its objectives. Conduct a workshop with the assistance of resource persons. Apart from honoraria for the resource persons, the Church and local communities will subsidize the cost of the workshop by assisting with provision of some of the locally available resources. PROJECT SCHEDULE RESULTS AND DISSEMINATION After the training event, ARI in conjunction with EAPNG will submit a report to

6 BUDGET Activity Cost ( ) 1. Resource person(s) Transport - 2 resource 50/person 100 Accommodation 2 persons x 5 30/day 300 Honararium - 5 day x 8 10/hour Training Materials 3. Transport for organizers 4. Accommodation/food ,200 TOTAL 3,000

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