by Hon. James Marape, Prime Minister, Papua New Guinea
UN General Assembly 77, September 22, 2022
His Excellency, Mr. Csaba Korosi, President of the General Assembly;
His Excellency, Mr. Antonio Guterres, Secretary-General of the United
Distinguished Fellow Heads of State and Government;
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen;
It is my honour and privilege to, again, join and address this august Hall.
On my Government and people’s behalf, I congratulate you, Mr
President, and the Government and people of Hungary, on your
election to preside over the new term of the General Assembly’s work
and wish you well.
Your presidency’s theme of an integrated agenda for peace, prosperity
and sustainability through multilateralism is most needed today. We
must build on the good foundations laid by your predecessors and all of
us. This is given the turmoil, uncertainty, mistrust, pain and suffering, from
multiple crisis, including the COVID-19 pandemic, the worsening climate
crisis, escalating socio-economic challenges, and conflicts tearing us
Let us transform words into actions. This must be underpinned by our
collective commitments; supportive resources that are affordable,
accessible and timely; and with enhanced opportunities, that will assist
us all, to provide our people’s basic needs, restore their trust and
confidence in governments, heal our lands and ecosystems to deliver
the future we want, as envisioned by the 2030 Agenda and many of our
own development aspirations.
Mr. President, let me pay tribute to your predecessor, a fellow Small
Island Developing State representative, His Excellency Mr. Abdulla
Shahid, of Maldives, for his outstanding “presidency of hope” that has
renewed our collective resolve to turn the tide against the ravages of
the pandemic and other evolving challenges. We wish him well.
May I also convey my delegation’s gratitude to Mr. Secretary-General,
for his continued strong leadership and untiring efforts in rallying the
world to save ourselves and to provide a future that is much better, safer
and secure for all, including for succeeding generations.
The candid yet sobering report presented by the Secretary-General to
us at this meeting on the state of our world today, is deeply troubling.
The clarion call from the Secretary-General must not go unheeded. We
must all do our part and act decisively, now, for our collective good.
Otherwise, the alternative is to condemn ourselves to a future of doom
and gloom. Is that what our children deserve?
It is with this in mind that Papua New Guinea is supportive of the
Secretary-General’s narrative of “Our Common Agenda”. We welcome
the preliminary progress made to better understand the range of
defining issues and how we address this effectively to help deliver on the
SDGs promise to improve our people’s lives and livelihoods whilst also
protecting common environment better.
To this end, we applaud the Secretary-General for convening the
Transforming Education Summit. We are pleased to note the shared
recognition of education as the cornerstone for a prosperous, stable
and secure future for all. I know that an educated society is an informed
society that stands to make better decisions.
For my country, education is a key priority and is guided by our
education policy of “leave no child behind”, supported by our
Education Sector Development Plan 2023-2027.
It is a holistic and inclusive approach in ensuring focus on quality lifelong
education for all and with special attention given to the most vulnerable
and marginalized population and recognizing the importance of
A demonstration of this strong commitment for education is my
Government’s decision to provide free-education for all, up to Grade
12 and beyond and also providing opportunities to children, youth and
adults through Flexible Open and Distance Education and community
colleges to upskill their capacity to be entrepreneurs and nation
Mr. President, we also welcome the consensus reached for the “Summit
of the Future”, scheduled for September 2024, to find solutions to the
multiple crisis we are now facing. This should, however, be not defined
by the lowest common denominator but rather be more ambitious yet
realistic and workable.
We remain committed to engage in this process, because it provides
an opportunity for us to also draw parallels with our national efforts to
attain our National Vision 2050.
Mr. President, I am pleased to inform this Assembly that the COVID-19
pandemic and other stressors, including supply-chain difficulties and
development financing challenges, affecting my country has spurred
my Government to embark on our own similar national process to the
Secretary-General’s global efforts under “Our Common Agenda”.
This is where we have taken stock of our own domestic development
challenges and we have set in place key policies and legislative
measures, including reforms in important sectors and development
priorities, and tied to our budget cycle under the Medium-Term
Development Plan. This path if walked upon would make PNG a middleincome earning nation by 2050 as envisioned by our nation’s Vision 2050.
Mr President, I report to United Nations that the core focuses of my
Government for the next 5 years will be to build a resilient and diversified
economy, invest in high quality economic and social infrastructure,
ensure fair and equitable natural resources development, address
business and investment confidences, strengthening the rule of law and
domestic security, deliver quality education and health to all and
strengthening the Institutions of State including governance.
These are fundamental building blocks of my country that should
contribute towards peace, prosperity and sustainable development as
proposed by yourself, Mr. President.
Mr. President, as Papua New Guinea approaches our 50th Independence
Anniversary in 3-years time, my Government is also prioritizing industrializing
our economy through import-substitution, value-adding and downstream
processing of our natural resources with the use of modern clean green
technology that will not compromise my country’s rich biodiversity and our
pristine natural environment, for PNG is documented to have about 5 to 6
percent of world’s biodiversity and our huge tropical rainforest third behind
Congo and the Amazon areas of our Earth.
We therefore welcome genuine and appropriate foreign investors to join us
in partnership in various sectors of our renewable resources development
and I assure them of a fair, equitable and secure returns on their
Mr. President, while we note the global community’s calls for domestic
revenue sources to be expanded and better harnessed for development
financing, we also recognise that the existing global economic and
financial architecture is weighed against developing countries like mine.
This structure needs to be changed to better support our development
needs. Least-we-forget, many times small developing countries get to bear
the brunt of global economic and social woes that they have no hand in
In this spirit, I also join the calls from fellow Small Island Developing States
(SIDS) for their development financing needs to be considered by taking
into account their environmental, economic and social dimensions of
vulnerability rather than the Gross National Income measure alone, which is
no longer suitable.
We therefore urge the international community to support the proposed
SIDS Multi Vulnerability Index (MVI) as a tool to support SIDS concessional
financing and debt relief given their special circumstances amidst the
ongoing increasing challenges, they continue to face for their development
needs including food securities that our good Secretary-General alluded to.
Mr President, today, many parts of the world are facing food insecurity,
hunger and poverty and Papua New Guinea can be a country of food
production. Papua New Guinea’s 8 million people live in a land mass of four
hundred and sixty four thousand eight hundred and forty square kilometres
(464,840 km2) and our country has rain and water abundance with our seas
equally is food source, like our supply of tuna to Asia and Europe.
Comparing for instance, United Kingdom of Great Britain’s 24,610 km2 or
Japan’s 377, 975 km2 or the Philippines’ 300,000 km2, Papua New Guinea
has enough land, sea and people to be a food supplier to the world, Mr
Secretary-General in response to your concerns for global food security.
For the first time in our country, my Government has inserted efforts to
address this imminent problem by placing more emphasis on the agriculture
sector. This is viewed not only as a revenue source for our economy but also
a conduit to empower the majority of our rural communities through
introduction of innovative farming methods in cash crop production,
livestock and poultry, to take ownership and leadership of their
development needs, and livelihoods, and at the same time also foster
poverty alleviation and food security.
It is from this perspective that we have established new ministerial portfolios
for Oil Palm, Coffee and Livestock, that will assist us cater better not only for
needs of the majority of our rural communities and their local economies to
be integrated into the national and global markets, to improve their lives
and livelihood but be the source for food security, and hunger and poverty,
alleviation for other countries.
We therefore welcome new international development partners to work
with us in the agriculture sector, particularly in the downstream processing
of products that adds value and supports local communities and the
On climate change, Mr. President, as the world prepares for COP27 and
despite the rallying efforts of the global community including through the
pledges under the Paris Agreement to cut emission levels, the world remains
on fire. This is further compounded by destructive floods and rising sea levels
that continue to inundate and adversely affect coastal communities,
including displacement and loss of identity as a people, in my own country
and across the Pacific region and beyond, as the carbon emission level
continues its destructive spiral out of control. We cannot and must not allow
this to continue.
I again reiterate my call last year, to this august Hall. My country, as one of
the largest standing pristine tropical rainforest of the world, is one of the
few carbon positive countries in the world. We remove more carbon
than we emit. Over the past 5 years or so, we have reduced national
forest emissions by 53 percent. This totals over 75 million tonnes of UN
verified REDD+ credits that will be on the market by the end of this year.
My Government has updated our Climate Management Act and this
year set in place Nationally Determined Contribution regulation. We
now have the legislation needed to implement the Paris Agreement.
We have also endorsed our Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs)
Implementation Plan and NDC Electricity Roadmap and Agriculture,
Forestry and other Land use NDC Roadmaps. We are also drafting our
first Electric Vehicle Policy and working towards endorsing our National
It is, however, disheartening to note that despite our proactive national
efforts to implementing our Paris Agreement commitment, we seem to
continue to get the raw end of the deal. We have done our part. But we
have had little support from the global north, including for our
submissions to the Green Climate Fund.
But we have not lost hope despite the fact that REDD+ and Forest
Nations were forgotten in Glasgow. We cannot be placated by
toothless pledges. We need the power of sovereign carbon markets
that fully comply with the Paris Agreement.
The world cannot talk about climate change without talking about
forest conservations and proper land use managements.
Papua New Guinea is calling for an urgent global focus on
conservation, preservation and sustainability of our global forests with
proper land use practices because only in our dear trees of the forests
that you find the dual benefit of carbon cleansing and oxygen
Excellencies, I was given the privilege of meeting His Majesty King
Charles The Third, where his views shared with me on forest is the same
as I am mentioning here and that the world, especially those whose
carbon footprints over mother earth is the greatest must help preserve
forests of earth that commensurate their levels of emissions.
It is Papua New Guinea’s humble view that the atmospheric balance of
Oxygen and Carbon should be ranked the number one focus of all
mankind because there-in lies the sustenance of life and the dear trees
of our forests plays this balancing act as created by the Creator God.
The world must save our forest because not to do so is suicidal for the
This is something we must correct at COP-27 in Sharm El-Sheikh.
Let us not forget that there is more carbon stored in the worlds forest
than held in all known coal, oil and gas reserves. In short, if we lose our
rainforest, climate stability is impossible. We may as well kiss the
temperature goal of 1.5 degrees goodbye.
We and other rainforest nations are trying our best to balance forest
harvest for our development needs and conserving for our world. We
need help here, hear us. Our planet is fragile. Time is short. Together,
we can do this.
On my final point on climate change, given increasing adverse impact
of climate change on our communities, I would also like to echo Papua
New Guinea’s strong support for our Melanesian neighbor, Vanuatu’s
initiative to seek International Court of Justice Advisory Opinion on this
existential threat, and welcome others to join the Pacific, Caribbean
and other partners to take this forward, in this General Assembly, for our
On the ocean agenda, Mr. President, I would reaffirm that Papua New
Guinea as a maritime nation, is strongly committed to ensuring our
maritime zones remain safe, secure and peaceful, under the spirit of the
UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). It not only provides us
economic opportunities including through our fisheries resources but
also symbolizes our ties with the ocean.
Like other Small Island Developing States and Least Developed
Countries, Papua New Guinea calls on developed nations to assist us
access appropriate capacity building resources, research, science and
technology and finance to strengthen our national efforts to better
protect our ocean and harness ocean-based economy. We therefore
welcome public-private partnerships.
On SDG 14, it was pleasing to note the success of the Second UN Ocean
Conference. We are also encouraged by the welcome offer by France
and Costa Rica to be the next co-host of the Conference and look
forward to working together with likeminded countries to take forward
this initiative. Such partnerships on the ocean agenda is most
Mr. President, I would also like to applaud the sterling efforts under the
leadership and presidency of Singapore for last month’s negotiations,
related to the new implementing instrument on the conservation and
sustainable use of marine biodiversity in areas beyond national
jurisdiction and as a marine nation, we offer our full support.
Mr. President, a resounding call we continue to hear, loud and clear,
and repeatedly, and rightly so, is the importance of empowering youth
to be at the table of decision-making about their lives and livelihoods
and as real partners for national development. This is indeed long
overdue and must be brought to fruition without further delay.
In recognition of the ever-increasing youth bulge in the country and the
challenges they continue to face, under my Government’s
development priorities, youth is now front and center for nation building.
We are rolling out cadetship programs as a tool for capacity building
and training that will equip them to be owners, drivers, leaders and
entrepreneurs to build forward our nation. We are also using our
education system as a lever to foster integral human development for
our youth. We welcome development partners to join us in this
Mr. President, it is in this spirit that Papua New Guinea was pleased to be
a main sponsor and strong supporter of the establishment of a Youth
Office in the UN Secretariat. It was also pleasing to note the consensus
on this issue.
While we recognize that much more work remains to be done, however,
once operationalized, we look forward to harnessing the UN Youth
Office to support our national efforts on the youth agenda. The potential
of our youth was well recognized by Her Excellency Amina Mohammed,
UN Deputy Secretary-General, and the Youth Special Envoy, during their
groundbreaking visit to my country in March 2020.
Mr. President, on gender equality and empowerment, including
combating gender-based violence, this remains a top priority for my
We have established a bipartisan Parliamentary Committee that has
done extensive public consultations and the recommendations made
to the last Parliament will be taken up by this Parliament in a serious way,
to address better protection of our women and girls and give them fair
and just opportunities to reach their full potential.
We have also put in place legislation and policies to address concerns
related to gender equality, empowerment and combat gender-based
Additionally, we are pleased to have two new well qualified women
parliamentarians join our 11th Parliament, an improvement from our last
Parliament, where there were no women Parliamentarians.
I have also recognized their capabilities and professionalism and tasked
them with certain responsibilities for the country. We will continue to
work hard to have more women representatives in decision-making
bodies, as equal development partners.
Mr. President, I would like to join the call for global peace and stability.
The simmering tensions and mistrust, which are the nemesis of peace,
cannot and must not be allowed to fester anymore.
We as members of this United Nations took it upon ourselves to uphold
the Charter of the United Nations. It is therefore incumbent on all of us
to ensure that we are seen to uphold our commitments to the UN
In our context of the Bougainville peace process, I want to assure this
meeting that this important issue remains a top priority for us. Peace by
peaceful means underpins this national priority.
We have a Roadmap that continues to serve as a blueprint and we will
consider all issues under the existing parameters of our Constitution, for
a lasting and peaceful political solution that is acceptable to all Papua
We would like to thank United Nations for their role in PNG and the
Melanesian conflict resolution model can be replicated in other
politically conflicted countries.
On the reforms of the Security Council, Mr. President, to make it relevant
to today’s realities, we note the incremental progress that continues to
be made in the inter-governmental process.
However, let me again reiterate our call to expedite the long-drawn-out
process, by ensuring that we have a negating document that can serve
as a basis to go forward.
May I also take this opportunity to recognize the milestone
achievement, earlier this year, of the General Assembly holding the
members of the Security Council responsible for their decisions
regarding peace and security.
We welcomed and supported the Emergency Special Session
measures, invoked under the General Assembly with respect to the
situation in Ukraine and to ensure the Security Council is accountable
for their actions. The success that arose from this process is a small but
significant step to why the reform of the Security Council is necessary
and cannot be prolonged further.
In closing, and not the least, Mr. President, may I take this opportunity to
pay homage to the memory of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth The
Second, who by the grace of God and Lord Jesus, was PNG’s Head of
State for 47 years. Our beloved Queen personified grace, dignity,
honesty, humility, tolerance of others, forgiveness and all other Christian
virtues and lived 70 years of consistent unfailing life of public service,
some lessons we leaders of the world must learn to practice.
I on behalf of my Papua New Guinea pay our respects to Mama Kwin
as we affectionately call her. May her soul rest in peace with her Maker
Jesus. We share our heartfelt sympathies and Condolences to His
Majesty King Charles the Third and his royal family and the people and
the Government of the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth family.
Let me conclude by thanking you Mr President for this speaking
opportunity on a very appropriate theme contemporary to our shared
global need and I thank United Nations for one more time being a
wonderful host, in fact a milestone 77th session. May God bless the United
Nations of our world.
I thank you Mr. President
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