- A defining feature of the Pacific is the Western Pacific Warm Pool ecosystem. The limited land base of the area is distributed among 200 high islands and 2,500 low islands and atolls. All
participating islands lie in the tropical zone and experience sea surface temperatures that rarely fall below 20 degrees Celsius. In general, the islands increase in size from east to west such that over 83% of the region's land mass is situated in Papua New Guinea, and most of the rest is in the other Melanesian countries and territories.
Papua New Guinea has the lowest water and sanitation access indicators amongst the 15 developing Pacific Island nations. The latest (2015) update of the UN’s Joint Monitoring rogram (JMP) estimates access to safe drinking water and improved sanitation in PNG in 2012 at 40% and 19% respectively. Over the period of more than two decades since 1990, the increase in access to safe drinking water has been very small (access in 1990 was 34%), while improved sanitation coverage recorded a drop from 20% in 1990 to 19% in 2012.
This synthesis focuses on estimates of biodiversity change as projected for the 21st century by models or
extrapolations based on experiments and observed trends. The term biodiversity is used in a broad
sense as it is defined in the Convention on Biological Diversity to mean the abundance and distributions
of and interactions between genotypes, species, communities, ecosystems and biomes. This synthesis
pays particular attention to the interactions between biodiversity and ecosystem services and to
The island of New Guinea has an exceptionally high biodiversity, and a large proportion of its fauna and flora is found nowhere else on Earth. Charismatic species such as birds-of-paradise, echidnas and tree kangaroos are widely known and often have great cultural significance for local communities in Papua New Guinea (PNG). Less well known is that the flora and smaller fauna of PNG are not only incredibly diverse but remain poorly documented, and numerous plants and animals that are new to science are being discovered every year.