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Engagement on Biodiversity Conservation & Climate Change Adaptation in Papua New Guinea: a facilitators guide

The handbook outlines a range of activities that can be used to promote community dialogue & participatory decision-making for biodiversity conservation & climate change adaptation.
Handbook cover
  • Level: Advanced
  • Time commitment: 1-2 days
  • Learning product: Guidance
  • Sector: Biodiversity
  • Location: Papua New Guinea
  • Language: English
  • Certificate available: No


Ecosystem Services are the benefits people obtain from nature including food and water – they are critical for supporting human life and changes in these services affect human health, well-being and livelihoods.

This handbook* aims to guide individuals and organisations who want to engage with communities to protect biodiversity, support livelihoods and adapt to a changing climate in Papua New Guinea (PNG). It provides a how to guide for undertaking activities focused on identifying locally important ecosystem services and how these services may be affected by climate change and development. While the handbook focuses on PNG the processes outlined can be modified for use in other countriesacross the Pacific.

Importantly these activities are designed to recognize stakeholders’ local knowledge and promote a shared understanding of their local resources and context. The activities foster local leadership, ownership of local processes and foster dialogue, transparency and trust to build relations and collective action to find local solutions to deal with climate change issues and biodiversity loss.

The activities outlined in the handbook use a learning-by- doing approach. The aim is to provide readers with the skills, knowledge and confidence to identify Ecosystem Services important to them, and to understand how these may be impacted by climate change and development (e.g. the availability of goods and services provided by nature).

The handbook has 2 key sections:

  • Activities to engage community-led Biodiversity conservation & Climate Change Adaptation
  • Activities to engage governments in Biodiversity conservation & Climate Change Adaptation

The handbook provides an outline of how to:

  • Identify ecosystem services related to biodiversity;
  • Understand the relative values of ecosystem services and how these services may be affected by changes in climate and land use, such as intensification of agriculture, mining or logging;
  • Identify threats to biodiversity and possible adaptation and preventative management strategies
  • Use systems thinking approaches to identify positive solutions to address biodiversity loss and other changes

For each activity details of the time and materials required are provided alongside notes on preparation, process, expected outcomes and tips and tricks relating to the activity. The Appendix (from page 17) provides background notes on climate information in PNG, icons to use in communications, example workshop agendas and a glossary of terms.

*Download the full text from the right-hand column. A summary of the activities is provided below. See the full text for much more detail.


Engaging community in biodiversity and climate change adaptation (Activities 1-6)

The activities below are designed to engage community members in processes to manage local ecosystems in a way that conserves biodiversity and supports livelihoods.

Activity 1: Storytelling about local environmental change

The activity consists on creating a shared understanding on local knowledge about the context and the changes they have experienced in their local environment (e.g. loss of biodiversity and/or changes in climate) among the different workshop participants (from the community) and the facilitators.

Activity 2: Identification of local ecosystem services (ES)

This activity consists on a visual representation (e.g. a large map of the local area) and location of the range of ES that the community depends on for survival. This can then be linked to the location of specific threads to ES. The overall aim is to build a picture of local ecosystem services and know where they are located sticking icons and other local materials to represent the different resources in small groups of people.

Activity 3: Historical and future climate trends for PNG

This activity involves understanding the trends in climate variables (e.g. changing rainfall patterns, temperature, sea level rise, extreme weather events, etc.) and how these may change in the future based on climate modelling and projected climate trends for the region. A list of the priority climate variables and why they are of concern to the community is expected as an outcome for this exercise.

Activity 4: Identifying ecosystem services values at risk from climate change: climate impact mapping

Changes in the climate variables have an effect for the community’s health and livelihoods. Based on the activity 3 where the participants prioritized the climate impact/s, in small groups they consider a few climate impacts as a starting point to depict a map of the likely chains of events caused by each climate impact chosen on their ecosystem services (e.g. a flood may cause houses close to a river to be damaged, and have negative effects on the agriculture produce, etc.).

Activity 5: Mapping the impacts of development on Ecosystem Services

This activity tries to increase awareness of the ES and local livelihoods at risk from developments using the map produced in the activity 2. The participants choose a development in the community and then consider the chain of impacts on the local community, environment and livelihoods. A map of the likely chains of events caused by each development impact is produced.

Activity 6: Identifying local action projects

In this activity, the participants identify practical actions and plan local community projects to manage the negative impacts and capture the benefits to conserve and support the ES, the community health and wellbeing so they can increase preparedness and resilience to change and empower the community to develop and lead their own local solutions.

Engaging government in biodiversity and climate change adaptation (Activities 7-11)

Activities 7-11 focus on building trust between government and community and identifying ways to implement community led projects.

Activity 7: Ground rules and shared values around biodiversity

This activity intends to identify shared values around biodiversity. Participants are asked why they care and what they are most concerned about in relation to the biodiversity loss. This can be done for different stakeholder groups so different values may emerge among the community groups.

Activity 8: Networks and connections between government and communities

This activity intends to explore social and professional connections between individuals from the local community and amongst different stakeholder groups (e.g. government and other community representatives). This gives an understanding of how connected or disconnected is the community and the different groups within.

Activity 9: Exploring knowledge gaps and challenges about key stakeholder groups

The aim of this activity is to explore the different challenges and resource limitations they face in responding to climate change and biodiversity protection that different stakeholder groups have. The activity intends to discuss openly about issues each group faces based on their role and personal experience by fostering transparency and trust, and therefore, build better relations between the different stakeholder groups.

Activity 10: Presentation of findings from the community biodiversity and climate change adaptation workshops

This activity is about presenting the outcomes from the community workshops held in the first part to the Provincial Government representatives.

Activity 11: Exploring opportunities for collective action

This activity explores opportunities for collaboration among stakeholders to implement local community projects that were explored in the activity 6. The opportunities are being identified based on whether the local solutions align with government policies and guidelines, if they foster new connections and on-going dialogue for the future, or if the implementation offers shared knowledge and resources, and if shared commitments between different stakeholder groups can be identified.

Suggested Citation

Boronyak, L., Jacobs, B., McKenna, K., Dem, F., Pomoh, K., Sui, S, Jimbudo, M and Maraia, H.(2018) Engagement on Biodiversity Conservation and Climate Change Adaptation in Papua New Guinea. Prepared for USAID by the Institute for Sustainable Futures, University of Technology Sydney, Australia and the New Guinea Binatang Research Centre.

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