Radio Australia | Asia Pacific
AUSTRALIA'S PEAK SCIENTIFIC BODY says Papua New Guinea's growing population is more of an immediate threat to the region's sustainability than climate change.
James Butler, leader of CSIRO's environment and development team, who released the report, says the window of opportunity for aid spending on the problem is "pretty small."
"We've probably got about 10, 15, 20 years to really get it right," Mr Butler told.
Papua New Guinea's last census in 2011 by the World Bank found that the country had just over seven million people, an increase of 1.8 million from 2000.
Mr Butler says when population growth is combined with climate change, natural resources, particularly around the coast, will come under extreme pressure.
"There's no question over the centuries, people in Oceania have coped with all sorts of tsunamis and volcanoes and earthquakes and so-on and are actually very adaptable in some ways," Mr Butler said.
"But the problem is if you increase population pressure on top of that, it makes basic services like electricity and water and so-on much harder to provide."
Mr Butler says there can be great variation in people's vulnerability across a very short distance.
"The approach we're trying to introduce is a much more fine-grained analysis of the places that are most vulnerable.
"In West New Britain, we're discovering that there are one or two places which are extremely vulnerable and in general these tend to be the highly populated coastal regions or small islands just off shore.
"These places need to have very specific strategies designed for them based on those very specific impacts that we're projecting."