Posts Tagged ‘Papua New Guinea’

Husband and wife team Mere and Igu Yawane have been teaching women in the Eastern Highlands how to make this delicious bread from cassava.

Cassava flour and bread

Cassava flour and bread

Cassava processor to produce the flour

Cassava processor to produce the flour

Not only is the bread more tasty than the one at the shop, it is a source of food that can be relied upon during times of drought. And, it’s a money-maker – Mere sells her own cassava loaves direct to customers for K6!

Cassava bread

Cassava bread

Mere explained the couple’s motivation for helping train women in this enterprise: “Things won’t always be good every year, we go through hard times too,” she said.

“At these times – insects eat the sweet potatoes, rice doesn’t grow well – we must store something. We can make this flour in readiness for these times of need. And use it to feed your family at that time.”

Mere Yawane, food security trainer and entrepreneur

Mere Yawane, food security trainer and entrepreneur

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Savé PNG's Jennifer Waiko speaking at the Slow Foods festival in Italy last month

Savé PNG’s Jennifer Waiko speaking at the Slow Foods festival in Italy last month

PNG’s farmers and traditional cuisine took centre stage at one of the world’s major food events last month.

Markham Valley-based non-profit Savé PNG spoke at the Slow Foods (‘Salone del Gusto’) festival in Torino, Italy.

At the event, Savé PNG director Jennifer Waiko was invited to speak on a conference about ‘Indigenous Peoples and Local Food Sovereignty: A struggle for self determination’, where she said the farmers who are severely neglected by the PNG government hold the key to PNG’s economic independence.

“The majority of Papua New Guineas have is the ability to earn a livelihood from the land,” Waiko said. “We have the skills, but we need the training and market opportunities to gain financial independence.

“Political decisions in Papua New Guinea are based on money: that is, on short term aspirations. Make the people financially independent and they will make more choices based on long term aspirations.”

Savé PNG is working to inspire Papua New Guineans to embrace their cultural identity and protect their traditional foodways. They believe that celebrating traditional food is the first step towards community resiliency in the face of health, climate and cultural threats in PNG.

They are currently working on a educational video series called “Cafe Niugini” which explores indigenous cuisines and cultures of Papua New Guinea.

Slow Food is a global movement that aims to “counter the rise of fast food and fast life, the disappearance of local food traditions, and people’s dwindling interest in the food they eat, where it comes from, how it tastes and how our food choices affect the rest of the world.” At this year’s four-day festival, there were 950 food exhibitors from 130 countries.

Savé PNG’s Bao Waiko is hopeful PNG farmers will be represented at the 2014 Slow Food festival.

“Salone is the perfect opportunity for small local PNG food groups working on agricultural products such as coffee, chocolatecoconut oil, honey, dried fruits and other locally grown and processed products to gain international exposure and recognition”, Bao said.

If you would like to know more about Slow Food go to www.slowfood.com. Read more about Save PNG here or contact Jennifer and Bao at savepng@gmail.com.

Tomato growers at theSlow Food Festival in Italy

Tomato growers at theSlow Food Festival in Italy

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Damaris Loie and her husband Tella have worked together for over 20 years making honey in the frontyard of their home in Logofate, in Ungai-Bena District.

The couple have customers for their delicious, 100% organic honey from around the Highlands, but aren’t keeping their specialised knowledge to themselves: they’re trying to train other women in the Eastern Highlands, so they can help ‘kamapim’ others. “They will be happy, and you will be happy too,” Damaris said.

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Tella loves working with his wife, and says more PNG men could benefit from doing the same.”Working in partnership with women is very good,” he said. “We’re a team, and it makes our work much easier. Also, women are very good managers, especially in terms of finance.

“If PNG men have this mentality where they’re only thinking of themselves, it won’t work as well. But if we can team up and apply the wisdom of women – their management skills, their way of looking after their families and putting food on the table – if we can incorporate this attitude into our businesses, I think communities in PNG will be better off.”

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When PNG achieves the above, then it is becoming self-reliant. If we are able to create that, we will truly have a reason to celebrate Independence every year on September 16. National sovereignty and self-reliance are very, very important. As John Momis, one of the Constitutional Planning Committee members, said earlier this year:

“National sovereignty calls on leaders not to sell their people’s rights. Not to allow this country to be ripped up and raped by foreign investors. National sovereignty calls on leaders to reject bribery. National sovereignty calls on leaders not to use public funding to make investments overseas while their constituents are barely making enough money to buy medicine, school fees, and so on. Self-reliance means embarking on a massive program of empowering people to get involved in small scale socio-economic activities. Activities that would take into full account the Melanesian way”.

While PNG is officially Independent, we are in fact still dependent, both economically and politically. In simple terms, it is the agenda of white-men to keep the black men poor his entire life and for that they have influenced us with their western ways of doing things. It’s obvious that everything we do is in their interest. They have brought a system in which we do the work and they get all the benefits and profit and the only thing left for us is deteriorated social indicators and people living below poverty lines and political disputes which accompanies instability in the government system.

Inap lo yumi kamap developed country pinis. It’s time we shift away from imperialist control and colonialist and neo-colonialist exploitation, and approach full independence on the basis of our very own National Goals and Directive Principles, our goals, founded upon the values of Papua New Guinea. If we keep on holding onto a foreign model of development and keep neglecting our PNG ways, we will remain like this for the next 100 years.

 

 

Economic independence

Economic Independence is domestic ownership of wealth. Real economic independence will be seen and felt if the government has the capacity to provide for its own resource needs or own resources necessary for domestic development. This relates to political independence, because in order for the government to fully exercise its power as an independent body, it should discourage the ownership of resources by a few elites or foreigners, as it will function in their interest and reflect their will.

It is the citizens who should be supplying the needs of the state if we are to see our nation achieving full economic independence. According to Namorong,

“all Governments need resources to exercise their power. If the state owns and supplies its own resource needs, then the state promotes its own interests. If corporations supply the resource needs of the state, the state protects the interests of corporations. If citizens supply the resource needs of the state, the state protects the interests of its citizens.”

Government’s focus is all about mining, commercial fishing, commercial logging – big industry and less or even no attention is given to smallholder extension services or to the so-called informal sector. However, PNG’s economy is dependent on agriculture. At the same time, a majority of the population is dependent on agriculture. The National Informal Economy, given adequate government support, can provide economic independence for the nation, while creating broad and sustainable employment for citizens throughout the nation.. Recognition and strengthening the informal sector, rather than the formal sector (‘cash economy’) can be a breakthrough for PNG.

There’s big potential there because that’s what we are good at doing. We are productive people and it comes naturally in a sense that local people, even without any proper knowledge in agriculture, can produce something and sell. All we need is better transport network and general infrastructure to support the people. Policies should be people-friendly, producer-friendly. We already have the background, in the 2011 National Informal Economy Policy.

For our economy to be fully economically independent, we might also consider the importance of a developed manufacturing sector, in terms of downstreaming processing. PNG export approach is to ship our natural resources as raw materials: this is the central attraction for foreign investment and it’s going to remain that way unless our government takes a step forward on this sector of the economy. It is not necessary that we hand over our resources to foreigners in order to see progress. If it was, the founders of this nation would not have called for National Sovereignty and Self Reliance or for the wise use of natural resources.

Another important inducement for economic independence is being less dependent on foreign aid and foreigners to stimulate our economy.  That includes foreign grants, aid and foreign investment. Our economy is greatly dependent on foreign investment: for example, almost all mining companies are foreign owned. This is not economic independence. Nor is accepting aid, dependence on which disempowers the government from fulfilling its duty to its citizens. A study made last year by the Australian Government’s Joint Intelligence Organization found almost two-thirds of PNG’s economy is controlled by Australian companies and individuals.  And with the rapidly increasing Asian involvement in economic activity here, it is clear that we Papua New Guineans at present control only a very small part of our own economy, and will remain in this subservient position unless firm action is taken to change the existing situation in a meaningful way.

So I would say that this is the real independence struggle of Papua New Guinea. What economic independence really means to me is that our government owning the wealth of the nation and getting only its own citizens to supply its resource needs, not from any other third parties (as in foreigners). We should not be relying on foreign aid and investment to maintain our economy. Economic independence means people of the nation are in charge of generating cash, which stays in the domestic economy. Economic independence is the control of the wealth of a nation by a majority of its citizens. Because of this, developing the subsistence or informal sector in Papua New Guinea can really contribute to the overall independence of our economy. Improvements in road networks and basic infrastructure are the main motivational factors required for people to contribute to PNG’s economy, if they are not already doing so.

 

 

 

Third Goal: National Sovereignty and Self-Reliance

 

Introduction

Papua New Guinea’s National Goals and Directive principles are our home-grown set of objectives and aspirations founded upon the traditional customs of our peoples and incorporated into the Constitution of PNG. The National Goals were set as a sense of direction and a guide for every PNG citizen in pursuing and achieving their aims.  Importantly, it captured our very own traditional diverse cultures, beliefs and values, and identified proper and applicable mechanisms to promote them. This paper is produced to review and evaluate PNG in terms of National Goal number 3, National Sovereignty and Self-reliance.  It asks if PNG is fully exercising its power as an independent state or is still partly independent.

Despite this goal’s inscription in the preamble of the Constitution, it is yet to be realised. It is just another paper plan, decorating our Mama Lo (Constitution). I argue that we are Papua New Guineans and in order to see change and progress, we have to go back and realise this National Goal along with the other four National Goals.

Political Independence

Political Independence is when a government has the full authority and power in making decisions for the nation, which are more or less free of foreign influence and control. Apparently, the National Parliament and Constitution are the benchmark and authority for this. However, the main meaningful measurement of how independently the government is exercising its power is whether it operates in the interest and will of its citizens, rather than serving a handful of elites and private and multinational organisations (foreign investment). Serving such interests keeps our government under the control of foreigners in one way or the other, which in turn sees government neglecting its own people.

Goal 3 declares it is a fundamental goal of the people that PNG should make its own decisions, and that its sovereignty should not be reduced by external political, economic or military dependence; that national leaders should always be free to make national decisions.

Now we want these words to be actions to lead us towards realising and achieving National Sovereignty and Self-reliance. But to do so, our governance must differentiate itself from the colonial manner of administration, which is better termed as the western Model of Development. This model of development is inducing our government to be dependent or serving the interest of foreigners and not becoming the true representative of the people who voted them in. PNG blogger Martyn Namorong has identified this so called western model of development as the root cause of all evil in PNG.

I see that if our government preserves this foreign imposed model, it is likely our elected representatives will function perpetually in the interest of foreigners and elites without worrying about the National Goals set for Papua New Guineans to realise development on our own terms. The current model, a colonial legacy, is deliberately designed by westerners in a way that it will induce our government to function in their interest, even though we have been given the opportunity to govern ourselves. Moreover, this model of development disempowers indigenous people, and leads to law and order problems and political instability. This model is not in the interest of PNG citizens and contradicts with our traditionally established values. It seriously ignores the directive principles integrated into our Constitution.

Therefore, political independence to me means that we should go back to the eight directive principles inscribed under the National Sovereignty and Self-Reliance goal, and put them into tangible practice. Political independence will only occur if our political system is reformed on the basis of PNG values. Achieving stronger government decentralisation and devolution would be of great benefit towards this. As former Constitutional Planning Committee member John Momis said recently, “We must not be afraid to make a detour from wayward ways and go back to the past that the National Goals and Directive Principles of our Constitution prescribe for us.”

Another area undermining PNG’s political independence is foreign influence. It is stated in principle eight that PNG’s sovereignty

“must not be undermined by dependence on foreign assistance of any sort, and in particular for no investment, military or foreign-aid agreement or understanding to be entered into that imperils our self-reliance and self-respect, or our commitment to these National Goals and Directive Principles, or that may lead to substantial dependence upon or influence by any country, investor, lender or donor”.

One on-going problem that triggers foreign dependence is debt.The government always branches out to international agencies such as International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank for assistance, which allows these international ‘aid’ agencies to implement a range of strict economic and administrative policies without the people’s say. Furthermore, even churches and other non-governmental organizations undermine political independence.

Thus, the Goal of Sovereignty and Self-reliance means to me that our government must be reformed in a way that really reflects the wills and values of PNG. Instead of operating in accordance with the flawed system left behind by the whiteman, and with less foreign assistance of any sort. This requires, critically, decentralisation. Government agencies and the public service should be fully functional and efficient.

In addition, it also means that people should have much more power to execute decisions about the destiny of their lives. When our government becomes the true representative for our people, then we might well see real political independence.

 

As a young man, how do you feel about your future going forward in PNG?

I’m pretty sure that the PNG’s current trend will have major impact on me as well as this current generation. As Papua New Guineans, you know what I mean by current trends: the problems of service delivery by the government and the issues you see daily in media. Unless we, this upcoming lot of intellectuals take a different proactive approach towards the way things are done in Papua New Guinea, and get a larger portion of our population educated, we will be of no difference than those who existed before us. The environment is just a reflection of the kind of people living in it. Therefore, let us all be the advocate for change and create a better PNG for our future generations.

Coming back to my own future, I feel I have a responsibility to educate my fellow villagers and help them realise their potential and many things they are missing out on. I’d like to give back something to my people, who in one way or the other, invested greatly in me and brought me this far.

 

What part of PNG do you come from? When you think about your community, how would you describe the presence or absence of the national goals in their lives?

I hail from Mekeo in Kairuku-Hiri District in Central Province, PNG. Frankly speaking National Goals are not having any impact on the villages or simply, it’s not present in the lives of the people at all. They need people like us to impart these ideas to them and I think the translated Tok Pisin version can help. As there is high rate of illiteracy in the community, an average villager does not have any idea what the National Goals are all about. Others might have a different perception towards this but as for myself, I see that most uneducated or semi-educated people do not really care about whatever is happening in the Parliament or where our country is heading to. Like they say, you’ll only have a say when you understand something and can respond.

One thing that I noticed is that the government has created a mind-sets in people like: ‘em wok blo Gavaman, em bai kam wokim’ (‘it’s the government’s responsibility, they’ll come and do it’). People concentrate on their daily endeavours without thinking of helping themselves. They only rely on hand-outs by the government. Another problem is that when some educated villagers attempt to do something worthwhile, the lengthy and complicated processes and unresponsiveness of the public servants just compel them to abandon it again.

 

What can the government, bureaucrats and local people do to improve the future in Papua New Guinea?

PNG’s development policy contradicts the proper role of the government as facilitator and regulator of the economy. The state disempowers people from realising their potential and so people depend heavily on ‘hand-outs’ and expect the government to do everything. In other words, it makes people become lazy. Thus, the government’s role in the economy should be merely to help the people to help themselves. For example, it should be helping parents engage in agriculture, by building better road networks and infrastructure and marketing channels to help the parents generate income by themselves.

Rather than concentrating too much on foreign investment to run the economy, the government should recognise the potentials of our local entrepreneurs and support them. The best that any government can do to promote broad-based growth and development is to promote equal opportunities for its citizens to engage in income generation.

In relation to the role of people, we should have in us a sense of responsibility. I believe that the reason behind PNG not progressing is our attitude. I’m sure everybody is talking about this. The kind of attitude that we have hinders the nation from moving forward. People blaming the government, government blaming people and we won’t even go anywhere. We can say poverty is the cause but we are not in a desert country in Africa.  We are in PNG, the country renowned for its abundant resources. Let us not allow laziness to make us poor. Let us help ourselves to develop our country. I therefore appeal to every citizen to be responsible and do whatever it takes at your own level to improve the future in Papua New Guinea.

By Joel G. Waramboi

This year PNG celebrated 37 years of nationhood. One thing that has not stopped growing ever since is our population, and in the last 10 years, our population has been growing rapidly at about 2.4% per annum, reaching 7 million people in 2012. During the same period, although there is no concrete data, our per capita gross domestic product (GDP) could have declined dramatically due to several factors like lower outputs from agricultural crops and commodities. On the other hand, the inflation rate has risen, which now sits at around 10%.

This is an alarming trend, and by 2016, the population is expected to be around 12 to 15 million. This will place huge demands on increasing food production and assuring food security for our people. Reports from the Asian Development Bank shows that the natural resources sector (agriculture, forestry, fisheries) contributes almost 70% of total cash income for people in PNG. These industries will continue to be prime movers of the local economy.

From 2014 onwards, revenue inflows are expected from the LNG project. In September last year, the then Agriculture and Livestock minister Sir Puka Temu called on the government to put some of this money into food and agriculture industries. His calling is timely, and must be supported at the political level. In 2005, the PNG Government adopted the Green Revolution and Export-Driven Economic Recovery Strategy. For the sector, this strategy was aimed at improving production and creating market demands for our crops to meet growing domestic demand, and also to seek export market opportunities.

In recent years, we have seen several vehicles that could have taken the sector forward, like the Public Investment Programme and the National Agriculture Development Plan, go by. Last year, a forum aimed at setting a roadmap for policy intervention to develop the food and agriculture sector was held in Madang. We hope this translates into tangible outcomes that can spur growth and development in PNG.

Several projects and programmes have been tried out before on tree crops, livestock, fisheries and other natural resources industries. But as far as food crops are concerned, no investments have been made. One potential food crop that requires minimal capital injection is the sweet potato (kaukau). Since being introduced nearly 300 years ago, it is now the most important food crop in terms of both production and consumption. Total annual production for PNG has been estimated at 2.9 million tonnes, with the Southern (620,000) Eastern (470,000) and Western (425,000) highlands provinces being the main producers, followed by Enga (340,000) and Chimbu (294,000).

It is a staple food, and provides 64% of the energy needs for people. Five years ago, per capita consumption was 2.2 kg/person/year, and this year, increased to 2.8 kg/person/year. One reason to explain this is that, in the last 10 years, sweet potato has been traded in increasing volumes as a cash crop in urban centres of Port Moresby, Lae, Kokopo and other centres.

There are many constraints that affect production and marketing of the crop, including soil fertility, rats (which can destroy up to 10% of the crop), poor access to roads, lack of farmer extension services, and poor post-harvest handling practices that lead to rotting, broken roots and subsequent loss in monetary value. Currently, a few ‘commercial’ sweetpotato farmers are located in the Asaro and Waghi valleys, who grow mainly for coastal urban markets.

Currently, utilisation and consumption of sweetpotato in PNG has primarily been in the form of boiled or roasted roots. There is no processing of the crop. In the past, some research and product development work was done at the PNG Unitech into products like flour, chips, crisps and composite bread. Recently, NARI successfully released sweetpotato based feeds (silage) for pigs. Experiences from Vietnam and China have shown that the crop could be highly utilized for livestock production, where it constitutes 70% of pig feeds.

Past and current R&D work on sweetpotato suggest that it can be a potential commercial crop for PNG. On-farm processing of sweetpotato could form an additional income-generating activity where a constant supply of the fresh roots and demand for processed products is secured. With government assistance, this industry can be transformed from its currently under-utilised status to a commercially viable industry.

Sweetpotato processing is increasingly being commercialized in many countries in Africa, Asia and the United States. In Australia, the sweetpotato industry is worth A$40 million annually.

There is low-cost extrusion equipment available, costing as low as $10,000 (K24,000) with production capacity of 30 kg/hour. These have successfully been used in rural communities in Vietnam, China, Peru, Kenya and other countries to make noodles, pasta, vermicelli, flakes, crackers, puffs and other products. Besides extruded foods, these communities have also used sweet potato flour for substituted biscuits, bread and scones, while fresh roots have been processed into chips and crisps.

Currently, fresh kaukau roots are sold at around K2-5 per kg in the open markets in PNG. Although there are no statistics, some rough calculations show that, if processed, the dry flour could cost as low as K0.80 per kg, providing a cheaper product compared to wheat flour. This means that, retail margins can be relatively good for entrepreneurs. Processing not only increases the utilisation and consumption, but also fetches premium prices if sold, increases cash income opportunities for people, and avoids bulkiness during handling. Sweetpotato processing technologies are relatively simple, and can be adopted easily through farmer co-operatives and women’s groups.

Generally, there appears to be a strong and all-year round demand for processed products. Changing food habits, increasing urbanisation, demographic changes and population growth are all positive factors that can make food processing a viable option in PNG.

The PNG government and all line agencies must now take a complete policy shift and focus, and realign both macro-economic and sectoral policies, and allocate funding and resources to develop the agriculture and food processing industries in the country. Alongside this, it should also invest in rural infrastructure programmes to create enabling environment that will support industry development and growth in rural communities.

We should also take a stock of what and why the industry has not developed over the many years. If past investment options (if any) have not worked, what other models and options can we try? How about setting up an organisation specifically mandated to drive development in this sector? It is about time that the food and agriculture sector takes this course to revolutionise and harness its potential to the fullest. Until and unless this is done, crops like sweetpotato will continue to be treated as poor man’s crop.

Downstream processing and value addition has the potential to benefit en masse, raise the economic value, and create market demand for local crops. It will also improve food security and cash income levels, increase trade and replace/substitute imports, thereby contributing to broad-based economic growth and improvement in the living standards of the people.

The National Goals are in our Constitution so that people can abide by them and become true citizens living in our Pacific ways. The Pacific or Melanesian ways of living in this contextrefers to our ways of sharing things, how we communicate and socialise, how we solve problems, how we do business, and so on.

Our first National Goal, Integral Human Development, declares the goal “for every person to be dynamically involved in the process of freeing himself or herself from every form of domination or oppression so that each man or woman will have the opportunity to develop as a whole person in relationship with others”.
This goal emphasises that development of Papua New Guineans should come about through collective efforts as well as the efforts of individuals seeking fulfilment through his or her contribution to the common good.

Development through collective efforts means that everyone must work together as a family, a community and as nation to accomplish what we want to satisfy our needs. To develop ourselves, other people and our country as a whole. Working together as a group is important rather than working in isolation, because people are unequal physically, intellectually and economically. Collective effort in which people are supporting each other for the common good must be encouraged in PNG.

At the same time, individual effort is important. This simply means that each person has to work and contribute in one way or another to help develop herself or himself, other people, and the country. Each individual should promote peace, harmony and respect so that no-one else is oppressed or limited from doing something to help build their society. Male or female, young or old, married or unmarried it doesn’t matter. Each and everyone has to work to sustain and develop himself or herself first. And individuals must see themselves as important and equal to all others.

This goal can also partly be achieved through the assistance of national government by providing the goods and services which people ordinarily cannot provide for themselves. This includes the provision of basic goods and services such as health, education, road and transport links, and other necessities for people to enhance their basic standard of living.

People also demand from government economic development, such as increasing or subsidising local commodity prices so people can earn enough money from their hard work to sustain their living. People demand social development, such as education, religious activities and sports, to socialise and make friends so we can learn from one another and make life interesting. Moreover, people demand legal and political development, because we want to enjoy our rights, freedom and liberty in PNG without discrimination, domination or oppression.

– Belden Makuku is a Business Studies student at Unitech.

Among the five National Goals as laid in our constitution, my essay is based on the fourth Goal: “for Papua New Guinea’s natural resources and environment to be conserved and used for the collective benefit of everyone, and be replenished for future generations’’.

The natural resources in this respect are basically the minerals (such as gold, copper, etc.), gas, oil, fish, trees/logs, and so on that are mainly exploited in the name of money.

Many people have been making comments that our country’s progress, our peoples’ development, is not picking up well despite the natural resources-base that we have in this country. Some are blaming poor governance, that is, the lack of service-delivery regardless of major revenue generating activities that are going on. It is very alarming to see our revenue generating resources are fast depleting to a level of being irreplaceable. Thus, the outcome of these activities which are supposed to be for our collective benefit are mostly benefiting only the top people up the hierarchy, contrary to our fourth national goal. And it also seems that our future generations will be missing out, if this trend continues.

You would also see that there is no proper educational awareness of cons and pros of our natural resources exploitation activities that are going on in this country. Our national goals are just lying idle, collecting dust on the shelf, without proper dissemination of this very important piece of information to every person. I don’t know if our MPs (the chief policy makers of this land) in Parliament realise the importance of our National Goals and Directive Principles? But these national goals are in our constitution as guiding principles towards the management of this nation. Likewise, it also applies to our top bureaucrats of this nation: they should also be considerate of this goal

Villagers throughout the nation should also be made aware of this national goal so that they can help conserve our environment and natural resources, rather than involving themselves in the devastating activities in the name of ‘development’ promised by exploitative mining, logging, oil palm and other companies.

I am very scared of the way our natural resources are being handled. The way these natural resources-devastating activities are going on at this time in our country is very frightening. These money generating natural resources extractive activities and bush-clearing are going on all around the country rapidly and simultaneously. We must all bear in mind that this is an island nation that we need to take extra preventative measures to safeguard our scarce natural resources that we have at the moment. We have to conserve some of it for future generations’ benefit as well, and not extract everything at one go.

We seem to be rushing out things for today’s survival and/or for personal gains only. We don’t seem to be caring about the consequences that will come upon us as a result of.

Just try to think what your home used to be in the past, say just 10 years ago: the forest that you used to see around has now gone and planting and other activities have been substituted on it. At the same time, the population of this nation is booming in every community. We must also bear in mind that we are not a continent state like Australia or USA. We are only an island nation. I strongly believe that one day there is going to be a down-turn of this nation. And that day in question is fast approaching and will collapse this nation. Our good dreams about this nation will all go down the drain, if we are not seriously considering this fourth national goal for the overall good of this nation.

Therefore, we must try to learn from other countries who once were in our shoes but their economy has now collapsed. Like for example, Nauru. History tells that it used to be very rich in phosphate extractions and used to provide donor-funding to other Micronesian nations in need. But what is Nauru like today? Now that all its phosphate is gone, it is back to zero and worse. Now it is solely surviving from receiving donor funds, and has to accept unwanted developments such as an Australian asylum seeker detention centre.

So what lesson is Nauru telling us? It is about time we need to be very careful in exploiting our natural resources because money is not always everything, nor is it the solution to all our problems. We have to think and do things that will last and sustain this nation as a whole now and in years to come.

– Yorine Inove is a Department of Business Studies student at the University of Technology, Lae.