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Adaptive livelihoods and development

Building capacity for sustainable and responsible development in the Bismarck Sea, PNG

2015 – 2017

Building Capacity for Sustainable and Responsible Development in the Bismarck Sea is a collaborative project designed to help people in New Britain plan for the best possible future development in their region.

The Bismarck Sea is the jewel in Papua New Guinea’s crown, with abundant natural resources including fish, reefs and mineral deposits. There are many opportunities for mining, agriculture, fisheries and tourism. However, to plan effectively decision-makers must first consider the potential unintended consequences of development on communities and the environment.

To build a strong economy and ensure that any negative impacts are minimised, The Nature Conservancy (TNC) and CSIRO, Australia’s national science agency, are working with government, industry and communities to design decision-making tools and processes so that decision makers can consider the social and environmental costs and benefits of future development across land and sea.

The project contributes to Papua New Guinea’s National Plan of Action for the Coral Triangle Initiative on Coral Reefs, Fisheries and Food Security (CTI). Launched in 2009, the CTI’s goal is to achieve conservation of marine biodiversity and food security through sustainable resource management.

What will the project be doing?

Decision-making Tools
TNC and CSIRO will develop tools with stakeholders to provide information that can inform strategic decision-making, including:

  • database and maps of environmental features and their values for different stakeholder in the Bismarck Sea, East and West New Britain
  • ‘ridge to reef’ plans identifying areas of primary importance on land and seas
  • tools to assess the impact of future development, climate change and population pressure on environmental features

Integrated Planning Processes
By reviewing historical decisions in New Britain and the Bismarck Sea (e.g. mining, oil palm expansion, Locally Managed Marine Areas, fishery closures, logging), the project will identify key stakeholders that should be linked to improve future decision-making processes. By running pilot planning workshops, likely future development decisions will be explored, and stakeholders will apply the decision‑making tools to anticipate potential costs and benefits.

It is intended that a more integrated management process will be developed which enhances linkages and coordination amongst statutory bodies and relevant stakeholders such as communities and industries.


TNC Logo Coral Triangle Initiative
PNG Logo Crest Australian-AID-Identifier-black-web


Key contacts

CSIRO Land & Water
James Butler
T: +61 437 030 120
The Nature Conservancy
Barbara Masikee
E: bmasike@TNC.ORG
T: +67 5 7170 4465