The island of New Guinea hosts the third largest expanse of tropical rainforest on the planet. Papua New Guinea—comprising the eastern half of the island—plans to nearly double its national road network (from 8,700 to 15,000 km) over the next three years, to spur economic growth. We assessed these plans using fine-scale biophysical and environmental data. We identified numerous environmental and socioeconomic risks associated with these projects, including the dissection of 54 critical biodiversity habitats and diminished forest connectivity across large expanses of the island.
The proposed Sustainable Highlands Highway Infrastructure Program (SHHIP) is envisaged as a ten- year, multi-partner, multi-tranche financing facility aiming to restore and upgrade the Highlands Highway in Papua New Guinea (PNG). The executing agency is the PNG Department of Works (DoW). The initial climate screening of SHHIP using AWARE determined the Investment Program to be at medium risk to climate and climate change. As a result, ADB procedures require that a climate risk and vulnerability assessment (CRVA) be undertaken during the design stage.
This report stems from a simple observation: that since Independence in 1975, Papua New Guinea’s economic and social development outcomes have not matched people’s aspirations or government promises. Indeed, despite the abundance of its riches, PNG lags behind its Pacific neighbours on many important development indicators.