Port Moresby, 12 March 2019 – Political and technical representatives of the Government of Papua New Guinea and the Autonomous Bougainville Government came together in Port Moresby on 4-5 March 2019 to discuss the process of dialogue between the two governments so as to ensure the best methods of addressing post-referendum issues.
Co-Chaired by the Minister Assisting the Prime Minister on Bougainville Affairs, Hon. William Samb, and the Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG) Minister for Peace Agreement Implementation, Hon. Albert Punghau, the Post-Referendum Planning Taskforce involves ministers from both governments, who are supported by officials from both governments.
Deputy Prime Minister and Treasurer, Hon. Charles Abel, and Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Hon. Rimink Pato, were among those attending the meeting that was held at the National Coordination Office for Bougainville Affairs (NCOBA). The ABG was represented, among others, by President Chief Dr. John Momis, Vice-President and Minister of Mining, Hon. Raymond Masono, Minister of Finance and Treasury, Hon. Robin Wilson.
This second meeting of the Post-Referendum Planning Taskforce built on the outcomes achieved at the first meeting of this group in January 2019 and helped to identify the short- to medium-term priorities that can form the pathway for the referendum on the future political status of the Autonomous Region of Bougainville (ARoB) that has been scheduled for 12 October 2019 and for the post-referendum period.
Minister Samb said: “The Taskforce plays a crucial role in bringing together the two governments to put in place strategies for managing the complexities of the post-referendum period. Our work is guided by the overall principle of the Bougainville Peace Agreement: ‘Peace Through Peaceful Means’. That is our priority number one, that we are able to have in place a mechanism that ensures that the post-referendum period is a peaceful one.”
The Post-Referendum Planning Taskforce was established in June 2018 by the Joint Supervisory Body of the Bougainville Peace Agreement of 2001. The outcome of the first meeting held in January 2019 was endorsed by the JSB meeting held in Port Moresby last week.
“This forum gives us an opportunity to iron out any differences that we might have with the National Government and to develop a joint vision for the post-referendum period. We will continue meeting on a monthly basis, to ensure that we develop this process further”, underlined Minister Albert Punghau.
President Momis said: “The Bougainville Peace Agreement is a political agreement. We need to continue this collaborative engagement with our National Government counterparts with a view to finding constructive solutions to the post-referendum period that are mutually accepted.”
The next meeting of the Post-Referendum Planning Taskforce has been scheduled for 26-27 March in Port Moresby.
The meeting was supported by the United Nations Departments of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs and Peace Operations (DPPA-DPO) and UNDP’s “Sustaining Peace in Bougainville” project, supported by the UN Peacebuilding Fund and facilitated by Dr. Christina Murray, Mediation Support Unit (DPPA-DPO), and Ciaran O’Toole, South East Asia and Pacific Programme Director for Conciliation Resources. The two delegations will continue this consultative process in the coming months with a view to presenting a consolidated position on the way forward to the leadership of the Government of Papua New Guinea and the Autonomous Bougainville Government at the next Joint Supervisory Body meeting.
Serahphina Aupong, UNDP Communications Specialist, +675 7374 8724, email@example.com.