Japanese partnership to boost referendum awareness

Nov 13, 2018

The signing between H.E Satoshi Nakajima, Japanese Ambassador to Papua New Guinea and Gianluca Rampolla, UN Resident Coordinator in PNG witnessed by Hon. William Samb, Minister Assisting the Prime Minister on Bougainville Affairs.

Port Moresby, 13 November 2018 The Japanese Government will boost referendum awareness in Bougainville with a 101 million Yen (PGK3 million) contribution towards the production of awareness materials. This support will be implemented by the United Nations Development Programme under the Bougainville Referendum Support Project in the Autonomous Region of Bougainville.

The agreement was signed today in an official ceremony by H.E Satoshi Nakajima, Japanese Ambassador to Papua New Guinea and Mr. Gianluca Rampolla, UN Resident Coordinator in PNG. The ceremony was attended by Hon. William Samb, Minister Assisting the Prime Minister on Bougainville Affairs, Hon. Sam Akoitai, Member of Parliament for Central Bougainville, Mr. Jhon Punde, Deputy Secretary, Department of Prime Minister and National Executive Council and Mr. John Avira, Acting Director for the National Coordinating Office of Bougainville Affairs (NCOBA).

The funding will support the Bougainville Referendum Commission and the Autonomous Bougainville Government’s (ABG) Directorate of Media and Communications to provide more communication and awareness materials to inform the people on the processes of the referendum and its impacts.

Printing equipment for the BRC will enable production and distribution of posters, flyers, leaflets, banners, and other printed materials, while video equipment for the Directorate of Media and Communications will facilitate the screening of video messages from both governments and from the BRC in communities across Bougainville.

The information material will ensure that the people of Bougainville and PNG have a clear understanding of what the practical and legal implications would be either for greater autonomy or independence as well as the information regarding the post-referendum period and the requirement that any final outcome be subject to ratification by the National Parliament.

Speaking at the occasion, H.E Satoshi Nakajima said “I received a request from both the PNG Government and ABG to support the referendum to complete the implementation of the Bougainville Peace Agreement.  The Government of Japan remains committed to work together with the Government of PNG, ABG, United Nations and other development partners for the better future of the people of PNG and Bougainville.”

Mr. Rampolla said: “The people of Bougainville must understand the referendum process before making their choice. The partnership between the Japanese Government and UNDP will enable us to provide this critical support to the Bougainville Referendum Commission, the ABG, and the Government of Papua New Guinea to help raise awareness on the referendum.”

The United Nations has been working in Bougainville since the peace process to support dialogue between the PNG Government and ABG; raise awareness on the referendum and Bougainville Peace Agreement, including the engagement of women, youth, and persons with disabilities in the referendum process; unification through community-focused initiatives; and the establishment and work of the Bougainville Referendum Commission.

Contact information

Mariyam Nawaz, UN Communications Specialist, +675 321 2877 mariyam.nawaz@one.un.org

Shunsuke Saito, First Secretary, Embassy of Japan, +675 7683 6197,  shunsuke.saito@mofa.go.jp

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