Official Joint Media Statement of the Joint Supervisory Body Meeting in Arawa, Bougainville on Friday 05 February 2021, by Co-Chairs Hon. James Marape, Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea and Hon. Ishmael Toroama, MHR, President of the Autonomous Region of Bougainville.
Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea Hon. James Marape and President of the Autonomous Region of Bougainville Hon. Ishmael Toroama, on February 5 met at the Joint Supervisory Body meeting.
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In the meeting the two leaders reaffirmed their joint commitment to the implementation of the Bougainville Peace Agreement.
In his opening remarks, Prime Minister James Marape acknowledged that both governments had taken a long break from progressing discussions since the last JSB meeting in March 2020 due to the global pandemic.
However, he thanked the Autonomous Bougainville Government for the patience showed and acknowledged all technical officials for maintaining consistent dialogue on both sides.
Prime Minister Marape said that the national government recognizes the referendum choice of the people of Bougainville, and that the two governments must continue to use the Bougainville Peace Agreement as its main guide while on this peace process.
He announced his government’s commitment to have the joint consultations commence in the first quarter of this year, and reaffirmed his commitment to pursue the path as outlined in the 2001 Bougainville Peace Agreement, which should eventually see National Parliament dealing with the Referendum result.
President Ishmael Toroama in his remarks acknowledged the Prime Minister and his delegation, and described the National Government’s commitment to Bougainville as very strong.
He said that there is great anticipation from the people of Bougainville on the 97.7% vote and much needs to be done to actualize this on both sides. The two leaders discussed on a total of nine agenda items.
Key of which was the Post Referendum Consultation Framework where the two leaders agreed to have the first joint consultation meeting on the referendum result on the 4th-5th March 2021 in Kokopo, East New Britain Province.
The Leaders also resolved through the JSB to formally accept the recent Joint Communique as the roadmap to consultations on the outcome of the Bougainville Referendum. On the Economic and Investment Summit, the leaders acknowledged the preparatory work done so far, and accepted the recommendation to have the Summit held from 5th to 6th May 2021 in Arawa, Central Bougainville.
On Fisheries matters, the JSB resolved to prioritize creation of investment in the fisheries sector to generate revenue for Bougainville, and also to further explore the development of a Tuna Cannery in Bougainville.
The meeting also considered other key issues such as the SME funding, establishment of Foreign Development Offices in Bougainville, taxation and revenue matters and other outstanding financial issues including National Governments commitment to retire fully the K621million outstanding RDG and the K100million a year Special Infrastructure Funds.
The leaders agreed that the next meeting of the Joint Supervisory Body will take place in June 2021, and a third JSB meeting to be held in December 2021.
In appreciation of the continued peace between our Governments and our people as enabled by the Bougainville Peace Agreement, we, in our humility, praise and acknowledge that our Lord is above all and that this Resolution is commended to God for his wisdom and guide on us his servants.
We acknowledge that this is the first JSB co-chaired by the Honourable President of Bougainville Ishmael Toroama and on that note, we recognise that this is a new era of dialogue through peace by peaceful means.
We fully pledge support to each other to continue to maintain and strengthen our relationships at all levels of leadership.
Having met today at the Sharp Memorial Centre in Arawa, we note the recommendations of the Joint Technical Team meeting of February 5, 2021 and endorse the following resolutions;
Agenda 1: Joint Communique on the Outcome of the Bougainville Referendum
- The JSB notes the intentions of the Joint Communique to be the road map to the Inter-Government joint consultations and that the Joint Communique aims to create a mutual understanding and agreement on implementation of the Referendum outcome and defining next
- The JSB notes that the Joint Com1nunique on the Outcome of the Bougainville Referendum was signed on January 11, 2021 at the Sir Manasupe Haus, Port Moresby by the Honourable Prime Minister James Marape, MP and the Honourable President Ishmael Toroama, MHR and witnessed by GoPNG and ABG Attorney Generals Hon. Pila Niningi and Hon. Ezekiel
- The JSB accepts and endorses the Joint Communique as the road map to consultations on the Outcome of the Bougainville Referendum.
Sharp Agreement on the Dispensation of the Constitutional Requirements relating to the Process of Transfer of Functions and Powers:
In the context of the 97.7% vote for Independence by the people of Bougainville in the 2019 Bougainville Referendum;
- The JSB notes the explanation of the ABG on the intent of the ‘Sharp Agreement on the Dispensation on the Constitutional Requirements relating to the Transfer of Functions and Powers to fast track the process under Section 290 of the National
- The JSB notes that the ABG has provided to the GoPNG State Solicitors the document on the Sharp Agreement and notes that the GoPNG State Solicitors have yet to provide legal feedback on the document hence the JSB recommends that a timeframe of two weeks is accorded to provide legal clearance on behalf of the National
- The JSB accepts the Sharp Agreement on the Dispensation of the Constitutional Requirements relating to the Process of Transfer of Functions and Powers and directs that the legal clearance on behalf of the National Government is completed within the timeframe and that the ‘Sharp Agreement’ is signed no earlier than 19th February and no later than 26th February 2021, before the commencement of the Inter-Government Joint Consultations in 4th and 5thMarch,
Agenda 2: Bougainville Economic and Investment Summit
- The JSB acknowledges the JTT recommendations and endorses that Bougainville Economic and Investment Summit be held from 5th to 6th May, 2021 in Arawa, Central
- The JSB cautions that the venue be considered carefully as the JSB expects that the venue must be sufficient to cater for the large number of stakeholders to the Bougainville Economic and Investment
Agenda 3: BCL Shares
- The JSB acknowledges the work in progress on the transfer of BCL shares to ABG’s Bougainville Minerals Limited,
- The JSB endorses the work in progress brief on the transfer of BCL
- The JSB emphasises that lead agencies responsible for this agenda timeframe the transfer of shares and report to the JSB the progress of this
To download the full JSB Resolution
Genuine in our intentions for sustained peace between us, we endorse that our official statements delivered at the opening and closing of this meeting and all records of discussions and notes in this meeting is an integral part of this meeting.
We conclude by reaffirming that ‘man can make decisions but God has the last say, with this affirmation, we leave all resolutions reached here today in the care of our God.