The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Papua New Guinea together with the National Government and the Autonomous Bougainville Government today launched a US$2.8 million Sustaining Peace through Economic Empowerment Project in the Autonomous Region of Bougainville. The project supports the implementation of the Bougainville Peace Agreement toward economic growth and development.
Funded by the Government of Japan, the Sustaining Peace through Economic Empowerment Project is designed to support the ongoing Bougainville peacebuilding process for political and economic progress. The project will support the establishment of innovation centers that create opportunities for entrepreneurs, business development, and life skills. It will also provide independent and neutral support to the two governments in the implementation of the post referendum process.
The Ambassador of Japan to Papua New Guinea, H.E. Mr Kuniyuki Nakahara said it was his great pleasure to sign the agreement with UNDP in providing finance for the project.
“The project funding agreement we signed today will contribute not only to the implementation of the Bougainville Peace Agreement but also the economic development of the Autonomous Region, the most needed element for the people’s endeavor as has been stressed by Prime Minister Marape and President Toroama. I am convinced that the Japanese people's desire to help the development of Bougainville will reach the people of Bougainville through this project.”
Ambassador Nakahara said Japan also supported the referendum which was successfully conducted in 2019 by providing necessary materials including printing presses that were also used to the fullest at the last year's regional elections.
UNDP Resident Representative, Mr. Dirk Wagener said at the May 28 signing ceremony that the assistance from the Government of Japan will stimulate opportunities for investment and jobs, particularly for youth and women.
“The Project will support the construction of infrastructure such as the establishment of Innovation Hubs equipped with conference facilities, digital technology labs and tutorial rooms to increase computer literacy and digital competencies of youth, men and women in Bougainville,” said Mr. Wagener.
UNDP supports the implementation of the Bougainville Peace Agreement, and its Post-Referendum process, through a comprehensive programme of support funded by the Governments of Germany, Ireland, United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand. The programme also receives substantive funding from the United Nations Peacebuilding Fund. With the signature of today’s funding agreement, the programme is now supported by the Government of Japan as its largest donor.