A major challenge facing Papua New Guinea’s foreign missions is dealing with negative public image abroad, Foreign Affairs Secretary William Dihm told Members of Parliament at their induction last Friday.
Other challenges include awareness of roles and responsibilities of the Foreign Affairs Department which extends beyond the country’s national borders, funding for the department as well as overseas missions and posts.
This is in addition to increasing cost of consular support, assessed contributions to international and regional organisations and building institutional and human resource capacity.
Papua New Guinea currently has important relationships with 89 member states of the United Nations and just recently Cabinet approved to enter into relations with a further 25 countries. Resident foreign missions including Apostolic Nunciature (16), Consulates (3), Honorary Consuls (20), International Organisations (23) and Ambassadors and High Commissions accredited to PNG from other countries (30+). This includes APEC (21), ASEAN (10), PIF (18), ACP (79), UN (193).
“Dealing with negative public image of our nation abroad remains a major challenge,” Mr Dihm told MPs.
“PNG has a unique story to tell the world about its diversity, its democracy and development aspirations,” he said.
“Our work is an extension of our national policies to the international community, we therefore need a whole government approach in promoting and protecting PNG’s national interest. We need your support in fulfilling our mission, which is to serve as the focal point of contact and communications between the PNG government and other foreign governments and international organisations.
“Protect and promote the sovereignty and independence of our nation and develop policies relevant to advancing PNG core interests in aid, trade, and development cooperation and other international commitments, oversee PNG’s treaty commitments provide protocol services and manage 20 of PNG’s overseas diplomatic missions and posts and help coordinate representation in major international meetings,” he said.