The new Medium Term Development Plan 2011 - 2015 outlines ambitious targets for sanitation and water supply coverage in both rural and urban areas, however, operational plans are yet to be developed and the absence of a specific national policy, strategy and investment plan for WASH contributes to an uncoordinated approach across the sector.
Diarrhoea and WASH-related illness are a leading cause of mortality in PNG, yet developing safe water and sanitation ranks low in government priorities compared to investment in other public health infrastructure such as hospitals.
In the absence of government coordination, there is a lack of focus on sector coverage monitoring and few donor programs. Particularly in the rural sector, service delivery efforts do not match the scale of need and are reliant on the presence of non-state actors (NSA) and an EU-funded program.
Momentum in the rural WASH sector may be lost when the EU program ends in mid-2012. It is not yet clear if any donor will subsequently adopt coordinated financing of non-state actor activities in this subsector.