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Extractives and Emergencies: the Papua New Guinea Earthquake Response


On the 26th of February 2018, a magnitude 7.5 earthquake struck the Southern Highlands province of Papua New Guinea (PNG), affecting 544,000 people. In addition to traditional humanitarian actors, including international nongovernmental organisations (NGOs), civil society, government and United Nations (UN) agencies, the private sector – notably companies working in the extractive industries (mining, oil and gas) – contributed significantly to the response at unprecedented speed and scale. This practice paper is a rapid analysis of the role played by extractive organisations (‘extractives’) in the 2018 PNG earthquake response. It explores the strengths and weaknesses of their engagement, and proposes that for humanitarian organisations to work more effectively with extractives they need to engage with them more intentionally – to understand, to learn and to plan together. The paper provides a series of questions to guide engagement, in ‘Digging Deeper’ text boxes throughout the paper, for both humanitarian organisations and extractives.