At the handover ceremony in Buka. Pictured are (L-R) Robert Tapi Clerk of BHOR, George Manu Bougainville Electoral Commissioner, John Anuma A/Director NCOBA, Thomas Raivet A/ Chief Secretary ABG, Dirk Wagener UNDP Resident Representative, Min. Albert Punghau, Minister for Post Referendum Consultation and Dialogue, Hiroko Fukumoto First Secretary Embassy of Japan, Jemma Lala Counsellor New Zealand High Commission. ©UNDP Buka/L. Stephen

Buka, AROB – 06 March 2020: This week, the Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG) and the Government of Papua New Guinea (GoPNG) received a combined total of USD822,308 worth of assets to support the upcoming ABG elections, post referendum process and disaster responses in the region.

The assets include five vehicles, laptops, ICT equipment, a boat, commercial sized printing press, and office equipment. The assets were transferred as part of the closure of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Bougainville Referendum Support Project (Project) following the completion of the 2019 Bougainville Referendum.

The event was witnessed by representatives from both governments, donors, development partners and community members, including Hon. Albert Punghau, Minister for Post Referendum Consultation and Dialogue, Mr. Thomas Raivet, Acting Chief Secretary ABG, Mr. John Anuma, Acting Director National Coordination Office for Bougainville Affairs GoPNG, recipient parties, and representatives from the Governments of New Zealand, Japan and Australia. 

Mr. Dirk Wagener, UNDP Resident Representative, during the hand-over ceremony in Buka highlighted the successful partnership between UNDP and all those that that supported the referendum. 

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Bougainville Referendum Commission, the ABG and Government of Papua New Guinea, development partners, and the people of Bougainville for their collective contributions to a successful and peaceful referendum," he said.

With the approval of UNDP and in consultation with the Project board, it was agreed the following departments would receive assets:

  • Office of Bougainville Electoral Commission, to support the conduct of the ABG 2020 elections; 
  • Post Referendum Advisory and Planning Secretariat, to support the ABG with the post referendum process; 
  • Department of Community Government, via the Disaster Office, to support emergency response and disaster preparedness; 
  • Chief Secretary’s Office, via the Media Bureau, to support communication and awareness of 2020 elections and post referendum process;  
  • ABG, via the Chief Secretaries office, to support ABG service delivery
  • Bougainville House of Representatives, to support parliamentary outreach services;
  • National Coordination Office of Bougainville Affairs office in Buka, to support National Government’s Coordination of the Post Referendum Process.

Upon receiving the assets, both governments will ensure that the assets will continue to serve the people of Bougainville.

Mr Wagener acknowledged the generous support from the Governments of Australia, Germany, Ireland, Japan, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom towards the Project. 

UNDP through the Peacebuilding Fund, will continue to operate in Bougainville and work with the two governments, upon their joint requests, to support implementation of the Bougainville Peace Agreement.

The Bougainville Referendum Support Project was a single purpose project developed in 2018, upon the request of the two governments, to provide technical, material and logistical support to the Bougainville Referendum Commission. The project received voluntary contributions from the Governments of Australia, Germany, Ireland, Japan, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom, as well as from the UN’s Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs. Following the successful conduct of the referendum and the winding down of operations at the BRC the Project is now closing. 

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