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Papua New Guinea and Sepik music legend Felix Yausi posing in front of the “Lukautim Wara Sepik” banner at the Project Sepik Stall during the 2020 Sepik Show.

By Post Courier Online, December 12, 2020. 4:29 PM, Wewak 

The Sepik River remains one of the largest unpolluted rivers in the Asia-Pacific region and is often compared to the Nile and Amazon. The people of Sepik have an inherent cultural bond with the Sepik River. This is symbolized in many of their ancient spiritual rituals, its evidenced in their artistry and legends. One such cultural mark is the crocodile marks initiation, in which men and some women are taken through as a process of education, learning and maturity.

The Sepik culture is highly sophisticated and unique. The Sepik River remains every adventurous traveler must see and is on display at the 2020 Sepik Culture and Agriculture show.However, the Sepik River and the communities that depend on it, face an even bigger threat with the proposed Frieda copper and gold mine. This Mine is proposed to be located in the provinces of West and East Sepik in Papua New Guinea, along the Frieda River, a tributary of the Sepik River. It is one of the biggest copper and gold deposits found in the Asia-Pacific region. If approved, the Mine could have devastating environmental and socio-economic impacts for an estimated 400,000 Sepik River people.

However, the Sepik River remains priceless to the traditional custodians who have affirmed their stand to protect their, land, heritage and future. Project Sepik, a local Community Based NGO has carried out all it can to amplify the voice of the People of Sepik. This group now waits the decision, by the Conservation Environment Protection Agency (CEPA) on the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) which was submitted by Frieda Mine in the hope of getting the Environmental permit. The collective voice of the Sepik people has been projected to the Government and the developer in various ways and through multiple communication platforms. They have declared that the River is the life of the Sepik and therefore it must be protected at all cost.

The Sepik Project team were part at the show and are thankful to be at the event to ensure that the people of Sepik are educated on sustainable developments and the impacts of the proposed mine. 

Project Sepik volunteers at the Sepik Show in Wewak.

 

 

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