PORT MORESBY: Prime Minister Hon. James Marape, MP, clarifies the misreporting on PNG official delegation’s attendance at the current COP26 Climate Summit, in Scotland, led by Special Envoy and Minister for Environment, Conservation & Climate Change Hon. Wera Mori.
In response to Friday’s Post Courier headlines of costs involved for the delegation traveling to Glasgow, Scotland, Prime Minister Marape said that the official delegations are all attending COP26 and related meetings sanctioned by NEC, given that PNG’s climate change agenda is different than most nations, and we were targeting an economic return for our forest and oceans in not just the main COP 26 meeting but other high-level meetings which are running on the margins also.
“The decision to approve for leaders to accompany the Special Envoy, was for them all to fully participate at the Summit and side events and to state our case that we mean business. If the world wants our forest to be saved then big carbon emitting nations and industries must pay us to conserve our forest as well as funding our climate mitigation efforts.”
“I am advised by Minister Mori that he had assigned them to specific side meetings and they had performed exceptionally well, given that for some of them, it was their first time to engage in an international meeting.” said PM Marape.
“The issues of climate change, its effects, the adaptation and mitigation efforts, and the whole concept of carbon credits and REDD + is an important and emerging agenda for our country, and it is important that more of our leaders are aware of the opportunities which are going to emerge out of these discussions”
One such valuable meeting was the Governor Juffa initiated sustainable forest conservation and management pilot project in Managalas (Oro Province) that culminated in the formalization of a Host Country Agreement, on the margins of COP26, with the International Council for Research in Agroforestry (ICRAF). That now enables this project to commence and engage resource owners in preserving their ecosystem in an economically sustainable manner. 
Additionally, Special Envoy Mori signed a MOU on Capacity Building for Participation in Global Carbon Markets with his Australian counterpart, Angus Taylor.
Further and quite significantly, our Energy Minister Hon. Saki Soloma signed a Master Development Agreement with the Principal of Fortescue Futures Industries, Dr Andrew Forrest, for transition to alternative sources of cleaner energy, which will see our Hydro and Geothermal sites developed for hydrogen ammonia based clean energy of the future and these projects are equivalent to multibillion dollar projects.
These augurs well with my government’s initiative to promote Green Energy by 2030 and transition into a carbon neutral country by 2050 as stated in our country’s Vision 2050. Over and above the green energy agenda, the deal with Fortescue Futures Industry, represents important investments domestically, employment for our people and taxes for the government. These are important outcomes that outweigh the cost of getting there.” PM Marape said.
As for the officials’ it is far less than 62 and they comprised of selected government departments and agencies including the Climate Change Development Authority, National Energy Authority, the departments of Foreign Affairs & International Trade, Forest, Agriculture, Works & Implementation, Justice & Attorney-General and my Department, that have been directly involved in negotiating PNG’s position at the global climate summit on accessing global carbon markets and climate funds for adaptation and mitigation.
To provide an overall accountability of the PNG delegation’s participation at COP26, an NEC Policy Submission is currently being prepared by officials to capture the outcomes of Special Envoys meetings and the conclusion of the above arrangements including a Matrix for implementation. The delegation is accountable to the National Executive Council, and they will dutifully ensure that the details of their work in Glasgow is presented to NEC for deliberation and for actions later. 
“Special Envoy Mori has full authority to negotiate global carbon markets given the recent passage in Parliament of the Climate Change Management Act amendment and access to global carbon markets, will draw maximum returns and greatly complement our national budget and development agendas,” said Prime Minister Marape.
“I will ensure these outcomes are effectively implemented, as they will generate maximum returns that will far outweigh the figures that these faceless people are exaggerating.
The Prime Minister also said it is important to note that part of our delegation is registered as PNG delegates but represented the Coalition for Rainforest, an outfit, championed by the late Great Grand Chief, Sir Michael Somare. The staff from the Coalition for Rainforest and Ernst and Young Accountants travelled at their own cost to support Minister Mori who is current Chair of CfRN. They sponsored the PNG Pavilion, which was an important part of the facility that greatly enhanced our presence in Glasgow. 
This is a serious business trip where PNG as 13% holder of earth’s rainforest and 6% of biodiversity are attending to demand that the big industries and industrialized nations must pay PNG to converse our forests. The gains from this engagement will far outweigh the cost of attending, which appears to be the current concern. 
At present, forestry harvest contributes to our economy and if other countries want us to conserve our forest, then they must pay money equivalent or above the forest sector revenue we gain at present which is around $1billion every year. The forest area people need income for development including good roads, schools and health care too.
Secondly the industries and their nations must pay the climate change mitigation funds for the damages due to sea level rises and other climates changes we experience in small island states and communities.
“Least we forget the G20 nations have pledge to put up over $100 billion annually for both conservation of forest and climate mitigation hence our leaders and officials were sent not for just one COP 26 session but many other meetings and lobby that were happening for our nation’s cause.” PM Marape said.
The Prime Minister also appealed for people to understand the mechanics of COP 26, the side events, and the technical negotiation that is taking place, to clearly understand the importance of the work that our technical and policy officials are doing. 
“It is more than what meets the eye, and sometimes our discussions on these matters and the conclusions we draw is based on incomplete information and a misunderstanding of what these global events are about, without giving some recognition to those who are the forefront of getting important deals for our country through negotiations.” PM Marape said.