French President Emmanuel Macron with Prime Minister James Marape at  Variarata National Park, Central Province on Friday 28, July 2023

The President of the Republic of  France, His Excellency Emmanuel Macron, made history as he arrived for an official visit to picturesque Variarata National Park in Koiari, Central Province.

This landmark event marked the first time a President from a higher economy country set foot in the park, signifying a momentous milestone for the people of Koiari, Central Province and PNG.

During his visit, President Macron joined Prime Minister James Marape, other state Ministers, and the French delegation on a hike to the main lookout from the picnic area. In honor of the French President’s visit, Prime Minister Marape announced that the lookout would be named the ‘Macron Lookout’ and the track there will be named ‘Macron Track’.

Addressing the students of Sogeri  National School of Excellence in Central Province, President Macron passionately emphasized the vital role of rainforest conservation in generating employment opportunities in the region.

He commended the efforts of those combatting deforestation while emphasizing the significance of establishing a value chain that supports and compensates individuals dedicated to safeguarding the rainforests.

“Preserving forests creates value chains and jobs, fostering both environmental preservation and economic growth,” President Macron stated.

 “This treasure must be conserved, not just for its biodiversity and carbon capture potential, but also to provide promising job prospects for our youth.”

Responding on behalf of the country, Prime Minister Marape expressed gratitude for the fruitful partnership between France and PNG in rainforest conservation.

He stressed the urgency of adopting sustainable management practices for the long-term benefit of the nation, highlighting the contrast with short-term practices like deforestation, which could deprive future generations of vital revenue from these invaluable resources.

“By managing our rainforests responsibly, we secure the future for our children and grandchildren, ensuring they continue to benefit from this precious natural heritage,” Prime Minister Marape affirmed.

He also underscored how sustainable rainforest management could provide financial support for crucial sectors such as education, road maintenance, and healthcare, reducing the country’s reliance on harmful practices for external assistance.

During the visit, Prime Minister Marape outlined a comprehensive strategy to preserve PNG’s rainforests, appreciating President Macron’s commitment to garnering support not only from France but also from other nations.

He also praised TotalEnergies’ approach in promoting the use of gas as a transitional energy source for the next decade.

Highlighting the global significance of renewable energy, Prime Minister Marape called for collective efforts in safeguarding the planet, emphasizing that the preservation of Earth transcends national boundaries.

President Macron’s historic visit not only strengthened diplomatic ties between France and PNG but also drew international attention to the critical role of rainforest conservation in fostering employment opportunities and ensuring sustainable economic growth in the region.

As the world faces pressing environmental challenges, this momentous occasion served as a poignant reminder of our shared responsibility in preserving the planet for future generations.

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