Before further expanding mining and exploration activities in the country, the UN is encouraging the Government and investors in the extractive industry, to review the range of policy options put forward in the National Human Development Report launched in Port Moresby last week. United Nations resident coordinator in Papua New Guinea Roy Trivedy said while foreign investment was contributing to the country’s economy, better strategies needed to be in place to take the significant wealth generated by extractives industries and translate that into meaningful human development for citizens across the country.
He said over the past 40 years, the country had more than K150 billion invested as a result of private corporations involved in the extractives sectors.
“Papua New Guinea has experienced 14 years of consecutive economic growth – an achievement experienced by very few countries globally – but this financial growth is not clearly visible in terms of significant improvements in the well- being of all citizens.
“Poverty levels in the country have stayed virtually the same as in 1996; health, education, literacy and other human development indicators remain stubbornly low.
“We are seeing what is known as a ‘paradox of plenty’– a situation where the country’s resource wealth is not translating into increased opportunities and capabilities for the majority of citizens,” he said.
Trivedy said the paradox of plenty, known as the resource curse, is especially apparent for the large majority in rural areas, and particularly for vulnerable and marginalised segments of society.
The marginalised segments include women, children, elderly, youth, people suffering from long-term illnesses, and those living with disabilities.