Joint Government Awareness Continues in East New Britain

Sep 6, 2018

UN Liaison Officer, Rui Flores (third from left) with Representatives from both the National Government of Papua New Guinea and the Autonomous Bougainville Government in East New Britain. @Nick Turner/PBF

Buka, 6 September 2018Representatives from both the National Government of Papua New Guinea and the Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG) are working hand-in-hand to further awareness and understanding of the peace process for Bougainvilleans residing outside of Bougainville.

With support from the National Coordination Office for Bougainville Affairs, the United Nations Development Programme and the Peacebuilding Fund, the two Governments are delivering as one to increase knowledge and understanding of the referendum, provide updates with regard to ongoing weapons disposal efforts, and information on the wider implementation of the Bougainville Peace Agreement.

This past weekend in Kokopo, East New Britain saw over 250 people attend a two-day session, which allowed for the local Bougainvillean population to hear from National MPs, members of the ABG and officials from the United Nations.

National Bougainvillean MPs Hon. Timothy Masiu and Hon. Sam Akoitai were in attendance, with Mr Akoitai, a signatory to the Bougainville Peace Agreement, saying that the agreement was jointly created and its implementation must also be undertaken this same way.  

“The peace process relies upon us all working together to achieve whatever outcome we end up with following the referendum. Those of us within the National Parliament may be small in number but we are committed to furthering efforts on joint implementation and joint awareness raising as we progress towards the target date,” he said.

Secretary for the ABG’s Department of Peace Agreement Implementation, James Tanis, said that it was particularly encouraging to see such a large portion of those in attendance being youths.

“This is the future of Bougainville and it is the youth who will play the key role in moving Bougainville forward following the referendum, whichever road it is that we choose to go down,” Secretary Tanis said.

UN Liaison Officer, Rui Flores, said for those in attendance it was now their duty to go out and inform other Bougainvilleans residing in East New Britain about the ongoing peace process.

“For the population who are residing outside of the Autonomous Region, they too must know about the importance of unification, of what a referendum is and of course they must know about the document that guides this process, the Bougainville Peace Agreement.

“It is only people that are aware of the referendum, and of the consequence of their vote, who can make an informed choice come referendum time,” Mr Flores said.

Since May 2018 a second phase of programming in Bougainville was approved by the UN Peacebuilding Fund. This work will continue to support political dialogue between the two Governments and Parliaments, improve and further knowledge and awareness of the referendum and Bougainville Peace Agreement, and support a joint and community focused process for weapons disposal and factional unification in Bougainville.

Contact information

Nicholas Turner, UNDP Communications and Innovation Specialist, +675 7003 9252, nicholas.turner@undp.org

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