(August 4, 2023) Chimbu Province Papua New Guinea - Today, in the Highlands of Papua New Guinea (PNG), Indigenous landowners of the Inaugl tribe have joined their neighbours in the Bismarck Forest Corridor to commit to legally protecting 12,241 hectares of forest under a conservation deed. The deed protects this high integrity forest from logging, while allowing for sustainable use of natural resources within marked zones.
“This conservation deed, which is agreed by all five clans of the Inaugl tribe, meant that the people put aside their differences and are united to work together for common good,” said clan leader, John Kamb Sande.
The Wildlife Conservation Society PNG program (WCS PNG), with support from the European Union-funded Sustainable Wildlife Management Programme and the USAID PNG Lukautim Graun Program, has been working with the Inaugl tribe members from Gembogl District, Chimbu Province, to empower Indigenous stewardship over their tenured lands. The lands are managed under the oversight of KGWan, a community-based organisation made up of representatives from each of the Inaugl tribe’s five clans, and monitored by local rangers or “Wasman”, who will be trained in GPS software tools to record wildlife sightings and breaches of management rules. Offenders can be prosecuted under village or state courts. Under the SWM Programme and Lukautim Graun Program, local magistrates and the Conservation Management Committee have received training on penalties and mediation processes to enforce conservation deeds.
WCS PNG Country Director, Jennifer Baing, said that legally binding conservation deeds as community-led governance mechanisms are proving to be effective for sustainable wildlife management and conservation in PNG.
“This community led approach is effective because it incorporates both social and environmental safeguards, such as rigorous processes of obtaining local Free, Prior, and Informed Consent (FPIC). Through the process of developing conservation deeds, customary landowners are empowered to make decisions on the use of their own resources based on traditional knowledge and the community’s own needs. This is achieved by utilising information on local threats to their natural resources, food security and culture,” said Baing.
H.E. Jacques Fradin, Ambassador of the European Union to PNG, proudly extends heartfelt congratulations to the Inaugl tribe’s clans for their collaborative efforts in signing a groundbreaking conservation deed.
"The signing of this historic agreement is a testament to the spirit of cooperation between the local communities, whose ancestral lands are graced with unique and diverse ecosystems. The European Union is proudly supporting the Sustainable Wildlife Management Programme and other initiatives committed to fostering sustainable development, enhancing environmental protection, with deep respect for local traditions and knowledge. This milestone serves as a tangible example of how protected areas supported through conservation deeds are proving to be a useful tool to achieve sustainable management of wildlife and natural resources. The European Union is committed to continue the Government of Papua New Guinea, the provincial administrations, local communities, and international partners in advancing sustainable practices and preserving the natural wonders that grace this astonishing country," said H.E. Jacques Fradin.
As part of the management plan the community has designated zones within the conservation area to support sustainable traditional hunting. In addition, to increase the supply of protein, two hundred households will receive chickens to set up village backyard poultry farming.
Jenny Steven, speaking on behalf of women from the Inaugl tribe, said, “Conservation will not be fully achieved in PNG unless people’s livelihoods are integrated.” This integration is a core component of both the Sustainable Wildlife Management Programme and Lukautim Graun Program.
Chief of Party for the USAID-funded Lukautim Graun Program, Tom Pringel said, “Papua New Guinea, land of 840 language and culture is living through a time of environmental degradation which is not only resulting in biodiversity loss, but loss of cultural identity associated with traditional bilas, folklores, songs, areas of cultural significances, loss of water sources, loss of herbal medicine, loss of useful plants, animals, and insects. All living and non-living things in the natural environment are interconnected and form various elements of the ecosystems life supporting systems. With the increase in human population and demand for more resources there is now a greater need to promote biodiversity conservation and environmental protection in PNG. USAID funded Lukautim Graun Program promotes and supports biodiversity conservation efforts by providing alternative solutions to promote biodiversity through livelihood programs, capacity building and training. Additionally, gender equality in PNG is rated as one of the lowest out of the 159 countries, therefore the Lukautim Graun Program also supports and promotes equal participation for girls and women in biodiversity conservation programming and livelihood activities. On this occasion we are proud to be part of the achievement and celebrate a milestone achievement with the Danbalg Community who have taken the initiative to setup the Inaugl Natural Resource Management Area. Congratulations to the Danbalg Community, WCS and everyone who has been part of the journey in creating the Conservation Area.”
Sustainable Wildlife Management (SWM) Programme
The SWM Programme is developing innovative solutions based on field projects in fifteen countries of Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific. This seven-year (2018-2024) initiative is funded by the European Union and implemented by a unique consortium of four organisations with expertise in wildlife conservation and food security: the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the French Agricultural Research Centre for International Development (CIRAD), the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) and the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS). https://www.swm-programme.info/papua-new-guinea
The USAID PNG Lukautim Graun Program (LGP)
The USAID PNG Lukautim Graun Program (LGP) aims to protect Papua New Guinea’s (PNG) rich biodiversity, which is under increasing threat from industrial development, population growth, and other anthropogenic factors. "Lukautim graun" means “protect the environment” in Tok Pisin. The Program aims to improve the conservation of biodiversity and equity among genders in priority terrestrial, marine, and freshwater ecosystems. www.pnglgp.org
Regional Communications Specialist,
Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS)- Melanesia
Goodfellow’s Tree Kangaroo (Dendrolagus goodfellowi) ©John Lamaris/WCS; Dwarf Cassowary (Casuarius bennetti) ©Markis Pesco / WCS; Salvadori’s teal (Salvadorina waigiuensis) ©Bird Explorers via www.naturalist.org (No change); Macgregor’s bowerbird (Amblyornis macgregoriae) © Katerina Tvardikova via www.pngbirds.myspecies.info (No change); Brown sicklebill (Epimachus meyeri) ©Swaroop Pixs via Shutterstock; Eastern Long-beaked Echidna (Zaglossus bartoni) ©WCS; King of Saxony Bird of Paradise (Pteridophora alberti) ©Richie Lindie via Shutterstock; New Guinea Harpy Eagle (Harpyopsis novaeguineae) ©Chepe Nicoli via Getty Image/Canva; New Guinea Pademelon (Thylogale browni ) © Pascale Gueret via ShutterStock; Stephanie’s Astrapia (Astrapia stephaniae) ©Markis Pesco / WCS and Superb Bird of Paradise (Lophorina latipennis) ©Ben Tsai via www.naturalist.org (No change)