Parkop challenges ‘least liveable cities’ ranking for Port Moresby

Port Moresby 160621
Port Moresby ... ranked just two places above the bottom-placed Damascus in the 2021 Economist global liveability index. Image: Loop PNG

Asia Pacific Report newsdesk

National Capital District Governor Powes Parkop has challenged Port Moresby’s almost bottom ranking in the 2021 edition of The Economist Intelligence Unit’s (The EIU) Global Liveability report, calling it “harsh” and “irresponsible’.

The report ranks Port Moresby 138th out of 140 cities across the world — the lowest in the Asia Pacific region and in the same league as Damascus, Karachi and Dhaka.

He said Port Moresby has been ranked as “one of the least liveable cities in the world”, along with war-torn cities, reports the PNG Post-Courier.

“This is a harsh verdict on our city, which we have worked so hard to build,” Parkop said.

“We are constantly striving to transform Port Moresby into a world-class city with modern infrastructure, conducive business environment, cultural development through music, arts and creative industry.

To be ranked alongside Damascus is ridiculous and irresponsible, and we want to know how the agency came to this conclusion.”

According to the EIU website, the liveability survey was set in the context of the covid-19 pandemic.

Global lockdowns
The crisis caused “liveability” to decline as cities experienced lockdowns and significant strains on their healthcare systems.

NCD Governor Powes Parkop
NCD Governor Powes Parkop … ““A report like this … paints a bad picture of our city internationally.” Image: EMTV News

However, Port Moresby was one of the few cities around the world which remained largely insulated from the virus.

While cases surged in March 2021, it was swiftly brought under control due to border shut-down, travel restrictions, and strict covid-19 protocols.

Parkop said that Papua New Guinea’s comparatively low covid-19 statistics were evidence to an effective response, including a vaccine rollout launched in the NCD in May.

“We have actively advocated for residents to take the vaccination,” he said.

“The faster, we get vaccinated, the faster the road to recovery.

“During the pandemic, while the gaps in our health care system were exposed, it also gave us an opportunity to identify and rectify these gaps.

New hospital in Gerehu
“We are currently in the process of building a new level-5 NCD provincial hospital in Gerehu which will be the new general hospital for the city as the current hospital has been pre-designated as a National Referral and Teaching Hospital.

“The new hospital project, which has already received approval from the Physical Planning and Building Board, will have 500 beds and will also serve the near-by provinces of Central and Gulf.

“We are also building a new hospital at Kaugere, Moresby South.”

Last year, the National Capital District Commission had unveiled its vision 2030.

This is a comprehensive plan that will guide all future urban development, including infrastructure, affordable housing, roads, transport, utilities and open spaces.

“The National Capital District Commission, our municipal government and I have a clear agenda – we want our city to be a safe, smart and liveable,” Parkop said.

“Though there are many challenges of urbanisation and population explosion, we are committed on delivering on projects like settlement to suburb upgrade, upgrading of roads, building market spaces for informal vendors and creating recreational spaces using the Ela Beach model.

‘We have a plan’
“We have a plan, and we are on track to achieving our vision.”

Slamming the EIU Liveability Report shared recently, Parkop said: “A report like this is totally irresponsible, counterproductive and paints a bad picture of our city internationally.

“It will impact our economic, tourism and cultural reputation.

‘‘So, we are taking it seriously and lodging our protest with the Europe-based agency which conducted the survey.

‘‘We want them to review the ranking.”


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