Employment Intensive Investment in

Papua New Guinea

Activities of the Employment Intensive Investment Programme in Papua New Guinea

Current activities

Since early 2020, the ILO has been providing technical support to the EU funded One-UN programme Support to Rural Entrepreneurship, Investment and Trade (STREIT). STREIT aims to increase sustainable and inclusive economic development in East Sepik and Sandaun Provinces by increasing the economic returns and opportunities from selected value chains (cocoa, vanilla and fisheries) while in parallel improving the efficiency of value chain enablers including the business environment and supporting sustainable, climate proof transport infrastructure development. The programme is led by FAO, partnering with ILO, ITU, UNCDF and UNDP. The ILO has been tasked to rehabilitate and maintain local transport infrastructure such as access roads, jetties and airstrips, thereby improving access to communities and markets.

With the introduction of local resource-based approaches in the infrastructure works, the ILO also seeks to (i) increase participation of local communities in the planning and implementation of works; (ii) increase the creation of jobs and income by applying employment-intensive work methods; and (iii) secure the involvement of the local construction industry. The dimensions of increased employment and income opportunities and more private sector business opportunities are expected to create additional synergies with the sustainable and inclusive economic development ambitions of the programme.

The ILO is also placing emphasis on strengthening the capacity of local institutions responsible for the improvement and maintenance of PNGs transport infrastructure, introducing approaches relying to the extent possible on the use of local resources such as local entrepreneurs and communities.

Historical information

In 2018, a 7.5 magnitude earthquake struck the Highlands of Papua New Guinea, affecting more than half a million people, causing casualties, damaging homes and key infrastructure, triggering landslides and affecting water sources. Enga, Gulf, Hela and Southern and Western Highlands’ provinces suffered the damage, with Hela and Southern Highlands being the most affected.

With financial support from the Government of Japan and ILO internal resources, ILO participated in the coordination efforts led by the Government’s National Disaster Centre (NDC), and was requested by its constituents to provide technical assistance in the design and implementation of employment-intensive infrastructure-based livelihood recovery activities. The ILO also supported the formulation of a longer-term employment-intensive reconstruction strategy, which included disaster mitigation.

ILO support to reconstruction efforts after the earthquake consisted of re-establishing water supply systems in the disaster affected communities. The works was designed to integrate environmental standards and conservation measures, promoting green jobs and providing immediate income. The introduction of employment-intensive work methods increased job opportunities and income generation in the affected areas, allowing for the recovery works to bridge humanitarian emergency response with long-term recovery and development activities. Some 1,000 workers benefitted the job opportunities resulting from the recovery works and almost 6,000 households benefitted from the reinstated water supply systems.