culture Development Economy

4 guiding principles written in 1973 for the management of Papua New Guinea’s natural resources and environment

1. Recognition that our people are part of the environment we depend on

In considering the natural resources of Papua New Guinea, our human resources should be included.  Our human talent should be directed to providing benefits to the majority of the people.

2. Today’s generation is only a custodian and holds in trust the environment for future generations

The basic concept in our society with regard to use of natural resources is that one generation holds and uses resources in the capacity of trustee for future generations.  We, the generation of today, cannot squander our country’s resources.  We would clearly be failing in our responsibility if we sold our resources to foreigners for our own short term benefit, without regard to the needs of generations after us.

3. We must conserve and replenish

The resources of the world are limited.  Our country and its resources are finite.  For the sake of those who come after us, we must strictly limit the speed with which we exploit our natural resources.  We must also replenish them as far as possible; (for example by replanting with new trees after mature trees have been cut down by a timber enterprise).

3. Blind destruction will lead to the ‘Death of the Earth.”

Our ancient animistic belief is that everything has a spirit.  While this belief should not frighten us from “subduing the earth” for our collective benefit, it should remind us that blind destruction of  the environment will lead not only to pollution but to the “death of the earth” which is vital to our nation.

-Taken from Papua New Guinea’s National Goals and Directive Principles. (picture by Andy Hau)

2 comments on “4 guiding principles written in 1973 for the management of Papua New Guinea’s natural resources and environment

  1. Mike Emmanuel

    Find articles on Josephine Abaijah in that period they are also of great interest…We’d have a better picture what would have transpired then….



  2. This is total common sense and in stark contrast to the way the ‘West’ approaches these matter. I note there is no mention of enemies, no combative language, only rational thinking about future generations. Keep and nurture your beautiful country I say, from one who spent ten fortunate years among you.


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