At 463,000 square kilometers, Papua New Guinea (PNG) is the largest Pacific island state. Located in the South West Pacific, it is bound by the Gulf of Guinea and the Coral Sea to the south, Indonesia to the west, the Solomon Sea to the east and the Bismarck Sea to the northeast. PNG comprises the eastern half of New Guinea island, four additional islands (Manus, New Ireland, New Britain and Bougainville),and 600 smaller islets and atolls to the north and east.
PNG is home to a diverse range of ecosystems including mountain glaciers, humid tropical rainforests, swampy wetlands and immaculate coral reefs. Approximately 30% of the country’s landmass is covered by forests and four of the world’s remaining significant forests are found in PNG. In addition to harboring abundant natural resources such as gold, copper, oil and natural gas, PNG boasts 7% of the world’sl biodiversity.
PNG has a total population of approximately 6.7 million, and the majority of these (87%) live in rural areas where access to markets, services, and income-generating opportunities is limited. Agriculture, fishing, community forestry, and artisanal and small-scale mining are primary livelihood activities in rural areas. It is estimated that over 50% of the population lives below the poverty line the number of people living on less than $US 1 per day rose from 25% to 39% between 1996-2006, respectively.