THE World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors has approved a credit of US$70 million (PGK223 million) to support Papua New Guinea’s water sector, improving access to clean and reliable water supply services for the population of nine provincial towns and 10 rural districts across PNG.
The new project will support the government’s Water, Sanitation & Hygiene (WaSH) Policy to oversee policy implementation, regulation, training, and monitoring at the national level. Provincial, district, and local governments will receive support to plan and manage rural water supply services. In addition, the project will assist state-owned water institutions to expand and improve services in provincial and district towns across PNG that currently do not have water supply systems.
In the longer term, the project will improve access to community water sources, allow households to install or refurbish piped water connections, reducing the need to collect water from distant sources (a task disproportionately undertaken by women and girls), and support education programs aimed at increasing healthy hygiene habits.
PNG’s basic water supply and sanitation needs are significant. According to the latest figures from the 2015 World Health Organization / UNICEF Joint Monitoring Program, only 40 percent of the population has access to safe water, and just 20 percent have access to safe, reliable sanitation.
“Without a long-term commitment and strong investment, PNG’s water and sanitation services have not been able to keep up with the demand of the country’s growing population,” said Charles Abel, Minister of the Department of National Planning & Monitoring and Member for Alotau Open, Milne Bay Province. “This project is a key development that supports the WaSH Policy and the National Service Delivery Framework under the ‘PNG Planning & Monitoring Responsibility Act 2016’ which puts emphasizes on intervention at the rural district level.”
The PNG government’s Water, Sanitation & Hygiene (WaSH) Policy is a culmination of several years of government planning, supported by the World Bank and other development partners.
“Clean and reliable water supply is absolutely essential to every facet of life in Papua New Guinea, supporting health, education, business and our daily lives,” said Anne Tully, Acting Country Manager for the World Bank for Papua New Guinea. “The World Bank is proud to support the government as it works to deliver better services – including water and sanitation – for people across Papua New Guinea.”
The credit will be provided by the International Development Association, the World Bank’s fund for the poorest countries.