Secretary Clinton's Visit to Papua New Guinea Underscores U.S. Engagement with Pacific Island Countries
Secretary Clinton’s visit to Papua New Guinea underscores the value the United States attaches to longstanding and close relationships with the countries and peoples of Papua New Guinea (PNG) and other Pacific Islands nations, where we have significant and growing interests. Our relations with the region are an integral part of our broader engagement with the Asia-Pacific. We have shared interests in freedom of navigation, cooperation on climate change, food security, and biodiversity protection. Pacific nations play an important leadership role on these and other global issues, particularly in the United Nations and in supporting international peacekeeping missions.
- Reinvigorating high-level engagement with Pacific Island countries. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton held her second annual meeting with Pacific Island leaders on the margins of the United Nations General Assembly in New York in September 2010. The United States also sent the largest, multi-agency delegation ever, including key personnel from the Pentagon and Pacific Command, to the recent Pacific Islands Forum meeting in Vanuatu.
- Increasing climate change assistance. The United States understands the importance of climate change for Pacific Island countries and has pledged more than $21.5 million over the next two years, pending Congressional approval, in climate change assistance for Pacific Island countries.
- Protecting the environment. Secretary Clinton’s visit to the Tubuserea Lavadai Mangrove Reforestation project, funded in part by a U.S. grant, demonstrates U.S. support for biodiversity, natural resource management and climate change adaptation. The Unites States also provides support for the Coral Triangle Initiative, which protects marine biodiversity, improve capacity for coastal and fishery management, and supports adaptation to climate change in the Pacific.
- Empowering women. The United States is committed to help empower women in Papua New Guinea and the region. Secretary Clinton announced that the United States will partner with the World Bank Group and the government of Papua New Guinea to host a regional dialogue next year in Port Moresby to discuss how best to empower women, including maternal health and economic empowerment.
- Promoting good governance. Papua New Guinea is richly endowed with natural resources, including gold, copper, oil, natural gas, and other minerals. Development of these resources would be a boon for the PNG economy while helping to meet global and regional demand. Properly managed, the increased revenue derived from natural resource exports could fund improvements in social services and infrastructure, enhancing greatly the country’s regional profile. Responsible environmental stewardship of resource wealth is also essential to protect PNG’s biodiversity. The United States is providing Papua New Guinea a wide range of technical assistance to build institutional capacity to manage its resource wealth effectively and responsibly, while minimizing corruption, waste, mismanagement, and environmental degradation.