11 Feb 2010

Economic crisis conference vital says PNG's lead delegate

8:03 am on 11 February 2010

The leader of Papua New Guinea's delegation to a high-level United Nations conference entering its second day in Vanuatu says the event's regional focus on social protection makes her country's attendance extremely relevant.

The Pacific Conference on the Human Face of the Global Economic Crisis has drawn more than 200 delegates including ministers and NGOs to Port Vila to look at ways of shielding the region's most vulnerable groups from the recession.

Dame Carol Kidu, PNG's Minister for Community Development, says her department's been working solidly for the past seven years on a range of social policy and legislative reforms to prepare Papua New Guineans to be resilient in new ways.

She says the multi-billion dollar LNG project underway in Southern Highlands Province will test her people's ability to deal with a changing environment.

"I mean some of our people are going to be facing literally millions of kina suddenly that they never had before. The corridor of the pipeline, about 60,000 people. Now our capacity, our institutional capacity, to prepare those people for the social implications is of great concern to me as a minister."

Dame Carol Kidu, PNG's Community Development Minister.