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Bismarck Sea Papua New Guinea

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), an international conservation NGO, 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 has identified key stakeholders that should be linked to improve future decision-making processes.

Pilot planning workshops
Likely future development decisions will be explored through pilot planning workshops in which stakeholders will apply the decision‑making tools to anticipate potential costs and benefits.  This integrated management process enhances linkages and coordination amongst statutory bodies and relevant stakeholders such as communities and industries.

Tools workshops
To date we have completed ten consultative and participatory workshops across New Britain to identify and value locally important resources, understand the decision-making processes in place, and to work through pilot planning scenarios.  The Tools Workshop aims to build on this work with a focus on tangible tools that will enable LLG, District, and Provincial officers to achieve the following:

  • Increase awareness of pressures, opportunities, and constraints occurring across New Britain
  • Build the capacity of key stakeholders and decision makers to interpret and critically evaluate available data which will assist them in making clear and informed choices regarding priorities and trade-offs

Tools to be utilized during the workshop include:

  • Maps illustrating (1) locally identified resources, (2) existing and future constraints on development, (3) existing and future population demands for food security, (4) values of ecosystem goods and services, and (5) conservation priority analysis results.
  • Spreadsheets for evaluating ecosystem goods and services

Participants will be guided in how to interpret and apply the information to develop a first cut at a Land Use Plan for their respective LLG.


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

The Nature Conservancy

Nate Peterson

E: npeterson@TNC.ORG
T: +61 7 3214 6919