The United Nations recognizes that eradicating poverty in all its forms is a global challenge and an indispensable requirement for sustainable development. To address this challenge, the Sustainable Development Goals aim at ensuring that all human beings enjoy prosperous and fulfilling lives, and that economic, social and technological progress is not detrimental to the environment in which it occurs. Papua New Guinea’s abundance of natural resources, which include oil, gas, gold, copper, forests and fisheries, provide the country with the potential to benefit from trade, as well as increased regional diplomacy with Asia and other parts of the Pacific. Despite this, Papua New Guinea’s human capital remains under-developed. The country’s extractive industries are vulnerable to global commodity price fluctuations, which leaves its economy fragile. While agriculture provides the main livelihood for 85 per cent of the population, the country has yet to fully explore the potential for agro-industries, or market opportunities for rural smallholders.* Papua New Guinea was ranked 109 out of 190 countries in the 2018 World Bank ‘Ease of Doing Business’ index. Modern domestic laws important to key areas of commerce and trade are absent, affecting the confidence of investors. Gaps exist in the labour sector, and high youth unemployment increases levels of crime and violence, raising the costs of security protection.
The United Nations supports the Government to ensure a strong legislative framework and enforcement mechanisms that will minimize mismanagement to increase the confidence of investors. The United Nations also seeks ways to help more people enter the formal economy and gain access to financial services. Support includes ensuring those making the transition to the formal sector are provided with the necessary skills and education. For those in the informal sector, support focuses on diversifying livelihoods and expanding access to new markets. To develop functional and inclusive financial systems, the United Nations supports financial literacy and education campaigns, and works to ensure that adequate regulations are in place, along with broader partnerships among the Government entities, regulators, and financial institutions. Close and innovative partnerships between the private sector and the United Nations help to realize all these initiatives, and demonstrate a desire to move beyond ‘business-as-usual’ by ensuring the business community play an active role in attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals.
*Department of National Planning and Monitoring, March 2010, pp.10,19, 36,50.