US Embassy’s American Centre Hosts Information Session on Lukautim Graun Program

Monday 10 June 2024

 Second from right: Mr Prabesh Aryal, Director of Finance and Operations, USAID Biodiversity Project, Mr Jordan Emmanuel Bulo (seated front) Deputy Chief of Party, USAID Biodiversity Project & Nino Nadiradze, USAID Country Rep (centre) posing with participants after engaging in discussions with the audience during the session question time at the US Embassy’s American Centre last week. (Picture courtesy of US Embassy Media).

The United States Embassy in Port Moresby hosted an insightful information session at the American Center on the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) funded Lukautim Graun Program (LGP).

Guest speakers included, Mr Prabesh  Aryal, USAID PNG Biodiversity Project’s Director of Finance and Operations and Jordan Emmanuel Bulo, USAID PNG Biodiversity Project’s Deputy Chief of Party.

The project initiated in 2019 and implemented by DT Global has strengthened several rural communities to better protect biodiversity and support conservation efforts in Papua New Guinea.

Mr Aryal said the objective of the LGP is to create an environment and facilitate mechanism through which communities, the government and private sector work in partnership for the common goals of conservation and sustainable development.

Mr Aryal said the goal set out by the project is to empower communities in high value or priority areas to better manage and conserve customary land and creating sustainable livelihoods within these communities.

“We work closely with key government stakeholder such as Conservation and Environment Protection Authority (CEPA), PNG Forest Authority (PNGFA) and Department of Community Development and Religion as well as other important NGOs partners’ like, Care International, Nature Conservancy, the Wild Life Conservation Society and Woodland Park Zoo’s Tree Kangaroo Conservation Program),” Mr Aryal said.

According to USAID Lukautim Graun Program fact sheet; PNG ranks in the top twenty (20) most biologically diverse countries in the world.

“PNG’s land area is about 75 percent primary forest, which includes part of the third largest rainforest in the world.

“As PNG’s population grows and the country develops, there will be greater demands placed on natural resources threatening biodiversity.

“USAID’s 2014 Biodiversity Policy identified PNG as a global priority country for biodiversity assistance,” the USAID fact sheet highlighted.

LGP operates across seven (7) provinces including Jiwaka, Simbu, Eastern Highlands, Madang, Morobe and Milne Bay and two focus area which are; the Bismark Forest Corridor and Madang Watershed.

The project has improved management of customary lands for conservation by establishing systems for transparent and accountable decision-making on natural resource ownership and management.

The project also has equipped rural communities and local community based organizations with necessary knowledge and skills to manage natural resources more sustainably.

Mr Aryal said the projects has also created opportunities for women to venture into small economic activities and businesses as they play an important role in the management of natural resources.

“LPG project recently also received a White House grant of US$3million, for gender equity and equality targeting our livelihood activities and to help support women venture into SMEs,” Mr Aryal said.

In the last four years, the LGP has assisted to strengthen National and Provincial Governments to better manage conservation areas.

Key results USAID Papua New Guinea Lukautim Graun Program (LGP) has achieved is over 250,000 hectares of biologically significant areas are now under improved natural resource management.

Over 1200 micro-enterprises supported by USAID assistance, approximately 3500 people trained in natural resource management and conservation.

Another 8,000 people have participated in USAID supported programs, with 116 alliances developed to support natural resource management, and nine conservation deeds signed allowing communities to assert their conservation rights.

10 laws, polices and regulations have also been adopted and implemented to protect biodiversity and over 6000 people trained to support gender equality and female empowerment in the public and private sector.

The information session on LGP is an initiative by US Embassy through its public affairs section and USAID to commemorate World Environment Day celebrated on Wednesday 5  June, 2024.

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