UNDP to work with the Government of Papua New Guinea to establish early-warning system to fight floods

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Port Moresby, 23 April 2015 - UNDP in partnership with the Office of Climate Change and Development (OCCD) will start developing early-warning systems for inland and coastal flooding to enable local communities to cope with the floods and enhance country’s capacity to adapt to flood-related risks. The initiative will be implemented in five selected provinces: East Sepik, New Ireland, Morobe, Northern Province and Madang.

Currently, PNG’s capacities to generate and disseminate warning information for inland and coastal flooding are almost nonexistent due to the lack of adequate technical facilities, capacities and systems in place. For example, there is a lack of communication facilities at the provincial and sub-provincial level that would allow conveying warnings to communities, especially the ones who live in remote and isolated areas. The procedures and protocols for early warning dissemination are also unclear and in most cases warnings do not get disseminated to the communities.

UNDP/OCCD-led initiative will focus on establishing an integrated, coherent early warning systems by building technical and sophisticated warning systems base and establishing responsive line of control for dissemination of warnings to communities, including the remote areas.

Key actors such as PNG National Weather Service, Department of Environment and Conservation, National Disaster Center are expected to benefit - enhanced climate information systems will support them in planning for, responding to and mitigating the impacts of floods and other extreme weather events.

“By increasing the weather and climate information available to decision makers, this program will enhance the ability of governments and communities of Papua New Guinea to prepare for extreme climate events, build greater resilience and successfully adapt to a changing climate”, said Roy Trivedy, UNDP Resident Representative/UN Resident Coordinator in Papua New Guinea.

As first phase of the project, an international expert company will conduct comprehensive mapping and analysis of existing mechanisms, identify gaps and opportunities for improvements, and produce report with a set of actions and resources required for establishing effective early-warning systems.

Further actions will be undertaken in frames of a wider “Enhancing Adaptive Capacity of Communities to Climate Change – related Floods in the North Coast and islands Region PNG” program, implemented by UNDP and OCCD, with funds from Adaptation Fund. The four-year program aims at implementing measures at the community level to cope with the floods as well as building institutional and policy capacities that promote efficient and cost-effective adaptation to coastal and inland flood-related risk.