Climate Change Security: An Analysis of Cross-Sector Climate Adaptation in Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea (PNG) is one of the most vulnerable countries in the world to climate change. The local community—especially in rural, coastal, and underdeveloped areas—will face the greatest challenges from increased climate-related calamities. The intersection of climate and human security brings forward the central theme for moving forward: climate safety.

This Capstone project examined the U.S. Department of Defense's (DoD) potential role in supporting PNG's climate change adaptation (CCA) efforts, emphasizing the core principles of Connect, Collaborate, and Coordinate. The research relied on semi-structured interviews with government officials and subject-matter experts, as well as an analysis of partnerships with international actors. The study highlighted the importance of long-term initiatives, capacity-building through structured approaches, fostering trust, and empowering local communities. The Capstone team recommended the DoD can effectively help Papua New Guinea advance long-term climate safety through the following detailed initiatives:

  1. Augment Infrastructure and Logistics
  2. Support Risk Assessment and Monitoring
  3. Build an Emergency Operations Center and Early Warning System
  4. Partner with the Climate Change and Development Authority (CCDA)
  5. Invest in Effective Communication and Shared Vocabulary
  6. Conduct Scenario Training
  7. Empower Local Leaders
  8. Prioritize Long-Term Efforts

The paper concluded that a comprehensive guide to engaging with PNG must consider the country's unique characteristics and objectives while focusing on the pillars of Connect, Collaborate, and Coordinate. By understanding communities and providing them with climate and security-related jobs and knowledge, the DoD can contribute to the long-term impact and success of CCA measures in Papua New Guinea.