Learn more about specific causes in Papua New Guinea that you can get involved in.
EnvironmentAccording to studies by the Asian Development Bank, the economy of Papua New Guinea will have significant losses in their economy from climate change in the Pacific region. The dependence of the region on rainwater for both human and agricultural consumption is creating problems for the sustainability of the economy. Scientists have suggested using genetically modified plants that might be less likely to be affected by warmer weather and less water.1 The Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has helped to develop a climate change prevention program with the government of Papua New Guinea.2
FamilyPapua New Guinea is one of the most violent countries in the South Pacific region. Domestic violence, torture, sexual violence, and death are daily threats for women and young girls living in the island nation. There are laws in place that criminalize sexual and domestic violence but domestic abuse is an accepted way of life; physical beatings by husbands are considered a legitimate way for a husband to assert his authority over his wife.1 A man can have many wives, who are each expected to work for the husband and the general income of the family. Approximately 70% of women in Papua New Guinea will be raped or physically abused during their lifetime. In some parts of the country, 100% of women report domestic abuse Read More in their household. Child abuse is also a major concern, and 75% of Papua New Guinea’s children experience physical abuse in the home.2-3 Show Less
Human RightsDespite positive economic growth, average citizens in Papua New Guinea remain very poor and do not benefit from the wealth that the country gains. Security personnel have been found to be guilty of human rights abuses such as gang rapes and inhumane working conditions. The police force used violence to stop peaceful protesters at University of Papua New Guinea, injuring 38 participants. Domestic abuse is a rampant problem in the country as well. The government took little to no action against perpetrators of domestic violence, and did nothing to protect women who were attacked by the community for acts of “sorcery.”1
EducationPapua New Guinea faces numerous challenges in the nationwide provision of basic education. Currently, citizens have poor accessibility to schools, a low student retention and graduation rate, and low standards of education and training of teachers. Only one in three children finish their schooling. There are little to no resources for teaching of children with disabilities, and few schools have running water during the dry season.1 The government has partnered with Australia to prioritize education reforms and fully address the issues. The adult literacy rate in Papua New Guinea is 63% and the primary school enrollment rate is 86%.2-3
PovertyPapua New Guinea’s poverty level rises each year. 40% of the country’s population is living in poverty. 1 Farmers, fishermen, and hunters are the most poor and vulnerable portions of the country’s population. Urban poverty is increasing as well with the development of a working poor sector that have jobs but are unable to support themselves based on their low income. 85% of the population works in agriculture.2
ReligionThe religious demography of Papua New Guinea is 27% Roman Catholic, 69% Protestant, and 3.3% that follow traditional indigenous beliefs.1 There is no official state religion in the country and reports of religious discrimination are rare. The country’s constitution provides for religious freedom and generally enforces protection of religious groups.2
Clean WaterAround 85% of the 8 million people living in Papua New Guinea reside in extreme rural areas where public services are not easily accessible. As of 2015, 4.5 million people did not have access to potable water. 6.5 million people are not able to access proper sanitation services, which increases the spread of communicable diseases. Diarrhea caused by contaminated water kills more than 1,000 children annually. With so much of the population living in rural and hard-to-reach areas, proper hygiene education and sanitation services are very difficult to administer and control.1
EconomyPapua New Guinea is widely known as one of the most culturally diverse and resource-rich countries in the world. The country’s primary economic issues have been the ineffective extraction of resources due to difficult terrain and weak infrastructure, along with difficulties regaining international investor confidence. The economy has struggled recently due to over-regulation of private-sector development, but has benefitted from creating an online business registration system in 2016.1 The unemployment rate in Papua New Guinea is 2.5%.2
GovernmentThe Independent State of Papua New Guinea is a parliamentary democracy under a constitutional monarchy, along with being a Commonwealth realm.1 The legal system in Papua New Guinea is inadequate and rule of law is hampered by rampant corruption, though recent years have seen a decrease in corruption. Over-regulation hinders the economy, and prevents entrepreneurs from reaching their economic potential.2 Transparency International ranks Papua New Guinea’s government 136th out of 176 countries on the Corruptions Index, and gives the country a score of 28 out of 100 for the public’s perception of the level of corruption.3
HealthLittle to no progress in the realm of healthcare has been achieved over the past two decades in Papua New Guinea. The leading causes of illness and death are communicable diseases, malaria, tuberculosis, diarrheal diseases, and respiratory problems. However, available care and treatments for citizens infected with HIV have improved. The overall rate of infant mortality has also declined, though it still remains higher than those of neighboring countries in the Asia Pacific area. Papua New Guinea relies heavily on foreign development aid and assistance to fund nationwide programs that would alleviate the effects of tuberculosis and malaria.1 The average life expectancy in Papua New Guinea is 65 years old.2
ChildrenIn Papua New Guinea, there is no actual codified Children’s Rights Act stated in their laws or constitution. Instead, the island nation operates with provisions for children within various legal acts. There are provisions allotted for criminal offenses by juveniles, child welfare, and provisions considering adoption of children.1 Currently, Papua New Guinea is experiencing an epidemic of domestic and sexual violence against women and children. Around half of all rape and sexual violence victims that receive medical attention are under the age of 16. 2 Additionally, 75% of the country’s children experience physical abuse at home.3 The government agency generally responsible for youth is called the National Youth Commission and its three main focuses are mobilization, participation, and productiveness of children. In 2013 Papua New Read More Guinea spent $1.7 million USD on youth programs.4 Show Less
AnimalsPapua New Guinea is in a tropical climate zone near the equator. The ecosystem consists mainly of tropical rainforests, with a wide variety of resident species. Papua New Guinea is home to the world’s largest butterfly and many endemic species of birds and mammals. These species are endangered by the clear-cutting of forests to make room for farming of copra, oil palm, and timber. Some islands are close to having no natural forest at all.1
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