Papua New Guinea’s weather service has launched a strategic plan – a first for the Pacific island nation. The strategic plan will run for the next four years with the aim of providing “relevant, reliable and accurate weather, climate, water and oceans services” to the country’s population.
To do this, the plan identifies six priority areas where it hopes to make improvements: weather services; disaster risk reduction; climate and hydrological services; and better integration of observing and communication systems.
Papua New Guinea is a highly agrarian society, with 40% of the population living with no access to global capital and many tribes in the country’s mountainous interior having little or no contact with the outside world.
According to a recent United Nations Development Programme report on Climate Change Adaptation, increasing pressure on resources is intensifying the country’s exposure to extreme weather events.
An earthquake of magnitude 7.5 that struck Papua New Guinea in February last year, for example, killed nearly 200 people and injured many more. More recently the eruption of the Ulawun volcano on the remote Bismarck Archipelago in June displaced between 7,000 and 13,000 people from their homes.
The development of the strategic plan, which was officially launched last week by the country’s department of transport head, Roy Mumu, was supported by the Australian government as part of a program to help Papua New Guinea modernize its national weather service.