National Government and Bougainville Chief Secretaries, Isaac Lupari and Joseph Nobetau have agree on 39 recommendations to be put to the Prime Minister and President at the next Joint Supervisory Body (JSB) meeting – confirmed for 28 – 29 June in Arawa.
The recommendations cover a wide range of issues under the Bougainville Peace Agreement (BPA) including referendum and post-referendum issues, fisheries, outstanding grants owed to Bougainville, weapons disposal and border control.
Chief Secretary to the National Government Isaac Lupari said the meeting of the Joint Technical Team in preparation for the JSB was highly productive, and illustrated the current spirit of partnership, cooperation and preparedness between the two governments.
“These 39 recommendations will support the upcoming JSB to be a more effective forum for progressing referendum preparations and resolution of issues between the two governments under the Bougainville Peace Agreement.”
“It is a time for action and we are working hard,” Mr Lupari said.
“The National Government is fully committed to implementing the Bougainville Referendum in accordance with the Peace Agreement – and this includes a commitment to implementing the referendum on Bougainville’s future political status.”
Bougainville Chief Secretary Joseph Nobetau said the two chief secretaries had undertaken multiple discussions since the last JSB to progress resolutions.
“There has been good work since the last JSB and I wish to acknowledge these fruitful discussions with the Chief Secretary that pave the way for preparing our leaders and supporting Bougainville implement all three pillars of the Peace Agreement,” Mr Nobetau said.
“Bougainvilleans are keen to see leadership resolve issues such as operationalizing the Bougainville Referendum Commission, the referendum question to be put to people and what will happen after the referendum.
“We hope that our recommendations will see resolution or progress on all these issues,” Mr Nobetau said.
“We must continue to work together to support the establishment of a fully operational Bougainville Referendum Commission, one that can conduct an independent, credible and successful referendum.”
Included in the 39 recommendations for the leaders consideration at the Joint Supervisory Body, Arawa, Autonomous Region of Bougainville, meeting are:
• Formally endorse Mr Bertie Ahern, international peace-builder and former President of Ireland, as Chair of the Bougainville Referendum Commission (BRC) and invite him to attend the meeting of the JSB in Arawa from 28 to 29 June 2018.
• That ABG Members of the BRC, Mr Patrick Nisira and Ms Ruby Mirinka be noted and the National Government Members of the BRC be finalised before the meeting of the JSB.
• Establishment of funding of K20 million be transferred to a formally endorsed BRC trust account.
• The full Commission meet no later than 14 days after the JSB
• Officials meet to review legal arrangements related to the Organic Law and the need for possible amendments, including constitutional regulations and associated legal matters to give effect to the operational conduct of the referendum.
• Leaders formally consider questions to be put at the referendum, including the use of symbols and direct BRC to test the questions and ballot paper to ensure it is understood by the people
• Develop agreed process for post-referendum transition
• the two Chief Secretaries meet to examine means through which disbursement of outstanding K437 million can be made
• That the ABG will prepare an expenditure plan for the K135 million to be financed by the National Government in 2018.
• Endorse arrangement for the Second Autonomy review, which is expected to be finalised by the end of October 2018.
• Endorsement of the progress of the Four Phase Weapons Disposal Plan and funding support of K12 million over three years be affirmed, with a commitment that K7million in funds be provided in the 2018 financial year.
Ambassador Isaac Lupari, CBE
Chief Secretary Government of Papua New Guinea
Joseph Nobetau, Chief Secretary
Autonomous Bougainville Government