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Media Releases, 04 April 2013

Program enhances conservation capacity

Esso Highlands Limited, the operator of the PNG LNG Project, signed an agreement this week with Mama Graun Conservation Trust Fund to support a conservation management training program to enhance conservation skills in Papua New Guinea.

Esso Highlands Limited will provide funding to Mama Graun over four years for the Enhancing Conservation Capacity Program, and Mama Graun will manage the program, to be delivered in partnership with the University of Papua New Guinea (UPNG) and nongovernment organisations in Papua New Guinea.

“This is a unique, multi-sector partnership with private business supporting a university program backed by numerous nongovernmental organisations,” said Peter Graham, Esso Highlands Limited Managing Director.

“This program will benefit PNG by training Papua New Guineans in techniques to protect the country’s rich biodiversity.”

The program is made up of three key components: a conservation management course, scholarships and work placements.

The conservation management course at UPNG will offer postgraduate diploma and masters levels training. Competitive scholarships will be offered for qualifying individuals. Work placements within conservation NGOs will be offered for graduates of the course, which will allow participants to gain mentoring from industry experts.

“Through these initiatives, the program will help to build an enhanced resource of conservation professionals and strengthened institutions and organisations in PNG,” Mr Graham said.

The conservation management course is based on educational material developed as part of the Strengthening Conservation Capacity Programme, an international initiative which was established in 2003 as a forum for stakeholders to collaborate in strengthening capacity in conservation management and train individuals, groups and organisations.

Significant contributions have been made to the Strengthening Conservation Capacity Programme by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, UPNG, World Wildlife Fund, The Nature Conservancy, Foundation for People and Community Development, Bismarck-Ramu Group, Partners with Melanesians, Research and Conservation Foundation of Papua New Guinea and the Wildlife Conservation Society.

About the PNG LNG Project

The PNG LNG Project is an integrated development that includes gas production and processing facilities, onshore and offshore pipelines and liquefaction facilities. Participating interests are affiliates of Exxon Mobil Corporation (including Esso Highlands Limited as operator), Oil Search Limited, National Petroleum Company Papua New Guinea, Santos Limited, JX Nippon Oil and Gas Exploration, Mineral Resources Development Company and Petromin PNG Holdings Limited.

About the University of Papua New Guinea

Established in 1965, the University of Papua New Guinea (UPNG) is the largest and most comprehensive university in Papua New Guinea and offers courses ranging from Medicine and Health Sciences, through Natural and Physical Sciences, to Law, Business, the Humanities and Arts. The university currently educates in excess of 15,000 students annually in two Port Moresby campuses, five open campuses and 13 study centres. UPNG is governed by a University Council, membership of which includes representatives of the National Parliament, members appointed by the Minister, representatives of the academic and nonacademic staff, university graduates and students, members from connected institutions, and members elected by the Council.

About Mama Graun Conservation Trust Fund

Mama Graun Conservation Trust Fund is a Regional Charitable Trust Organisation established in 2000 to support biodiversity conservation and related sustainable development for the people of Melanesia by providing long-term sustained funding to community-based organisations, non-government organisations, specific government departments and other important players in the community through its grant program. The aim of Mama Graun CTF is to offer the opportunity to any Melanesian Jurisdiction, group, organisation, government, or bilateral/multilateral agency to create a special type of trust account known as an Advised Fund within the Mama Graun CTF structure.