Bougainville Referendum NEWS : #Bougainville #PNG a State in Waiting but no ones paying attention

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“Within a few years, the Pacific Islands region will likely become home to the newest states in the world. Each of these nations is emerging from a complex history of colonization and civil unrest, and the creation of new states in the region has significant political, social, and economic ramifications for the Asia-Pacific as a whole.

The Autonomous Region of Bougainville, currently a province of Papua New Guinea, will follow suit with a referendum in 2019. The decision to stage a referendum came out of the Bougainville Peace Agreement in 2001, following a long and bloody civil war from 1988-1998. The conflict was fought between Bougainvillean revolutionary forces and the Papua New Guinean military — assisted by the infamous private mercenary company Sandline International – and the ten years of fighting left as many as 20,000 dead.”

States-in-Waiting: Introducing Your Future Pacific Neighbors The world’s newest states are likely to emerge from the Pacific Islands. Why is no one paying attention?

Within a few years, the Pacific Islands region will likely become home to the newest states in the world. Each of these nations is emerging from a complex history of colonization and civil unrest, and the creation of new states in the region has significant political, social, and economic ramifications for the Asia-Pacific as a whole.

First up is the French overseas territory of New Caledonia, which must hold an independence referendum before the end of 2018. Following violent clashes in the 1980s between the indigenous Kanaks and the pro-French European settlers, the UN listed New Caledonia as a non-self-governing territory in 1986, effectively placing the territory on its “decolonization list.” After further killings, hostage crises, and assassinations in the 1990s, the French government signed the Noumea Accord in 1998, mandating that a vote on independence was to take place before 2019.

The outcome of the upcoming referendum is difficult to predict, and is causing heated debate in a nation that is already intensely polarized. Changes in 2015 to the electoral eligibility laws prescribed that only the indigenous population and persons who were already enrolled to vote in 1998 would be automatically eligible to vote in the referendum, causing protests among pro-French groups. The latest census results reveal that within a population of 260,000, 39 percent are indigenous Kanaks, whilst 27 percent are European. The remaining 34 percent comprises “mixed race” persons, migrants from other Pacific islands, and a handful of Asian minorities.

As the referendum approaches, pro-independence activists have some hard work ahead of them in order to broaden their appeal beyond the Kanak bloc and gain the majority vote necessary for independence. Little more can be said at this stage while the New Caledonia Congress continues to debate the question of electoral eligibility, but it seems likely that the results will be close.

The Autonomous Region of Bougainville, currently a province of Papua New Guinea, will follow suit with a referendum in 2019. The decision to stage a referendum came out of the Bougainville Peace Agreement in 2001, following a long and bloody civil war from 1988-1998. The conflict was fought between Bougainvillean revolutionary forces and the Papua New Guinean military — assisted by the infamous private mercenary company Sandline International – and the ten years of fighting left as many as 20,000 dead.

Longstanding feelings of alienation toward Papua New Guinea among Bougainville’s estimated population of 250,000 suggests that a strong vote in favor of independence is the most likely outcome of the 2019 vote, meaning that Bougainville could become the world’s next new country.

In appreciating the necessity to establish diplomatic relations with what may well become the newest fragile state on Australia’s doorstep, Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop announced that Canberra would be setting up a diplomatic post on Bougainville in May 2015. The government of Papua New Guinea responded by banning Australians from travelling there, with PNG Foreign Minister Rimbink Pato denouncing the plans as “outrageous.”

Despite the overwhelming support for independence among Bougainvilleans, Papua New Guinea’s frosty attitude toward the question of independence intimates that secession is not entirely guaranteed. Part of the peace agreement was that the PNG Parliament would have “final decision making authority” over the referendum results, meaning that Bougainville’s independence will theoretically require parliamentary consent. It is unclear how this will play out in 2019, and it is also unclear how the UN, regional leaders, and Bougainvilleans themselves would respond if Papua New Guinea refused to ratify a vote for independence.

The Pacific also holds a number of more long-term candidates for statehood. One of the key areas to watch over the next decade is French Polynesia, an island collectivity in the South Pacific that the UN* re-classified as a non-self-governing territory in 2013. As such, the French government was called upon by the UN General Assembly to take rapid steps toward effecting “a fair and effective self-determination process” in French Polynesia, a major win for the indigenous Maohi nationalists.

Similarly to New Caledonia, the French Polynesian parliament is split between the pro- and anti-independence political parties, and these sentiments broadly divide the population into the indigenous and European camps. The political situation is further complicated by the intertwining of the independence movement with the campaign for recognition and compensation from the French government for the 193** nuclear tests carried out in French Polynesia between 1960-1996, with anger and momentum in the latter movement fueling the independence campaign.

While a referendum is some way off in French Polynesia, the events in New Caledonia over the next few years are likely to provide significant impetus for the decolonization process. Aside from New Caledonia and French Polynesia, France has another overseas territory in the form of the islands of Wallis and Futuna. Whilst the islands’ indigenous populations have traditionally been strongly pro-French, Futuna chiefs recently hinted at a potential push for independence in the midst of concerns over French mineral exploitation.

The Pacific Islands of the future seem set for some radical changes. Some of the biggest questions will be those surrounding governance capacity, fiscal independence, and resource management. New Caledonia, home to 25 percent of the world’s nickel reserves, can be expected to undertake a dramatic renegotiation of its mining arrangements upon independence, while the fate of the Panguna copper mine in Bougainville — estimated at a value of $37 billion and an infamous flashpoint for bloody clashes and indigenous exploitation during the 1990s — remains at an impasse.

Sorely neglected within the field of IR analysis, the Pacific Islands region may yet emerge as as one of the geopolitical hotspots of the 21st century. With a number of other independence movements growing across the Pacific — including the Chilean territory of Rapa Nui (Easter Island), Chuuk State in the Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji’s Rotuma islands, Banaba Island in Kiribati, New Zealand’s Cook Islands, Australia’s Norfolk Island, and the Indonesian territories of West Papua, Aceh, Maluku, and Kalimantan, to name a just a few — it’s high time that we paid some attention to our Pacific neighbors.

*An earlier version of this article said that France had re-classified French Polynesia as a non-self governing territory.

**An earlier version of this article said that there had been 196 nuclear tests in French Polynesia.

Sally Andrews is a New Colombo Plan Scholar and the 2015-2016 New Colombo Plan Indonesia Fellow. She is a Director of the West Papuan Development Company and the 2016 Indo-Pacific Fellow for Young Australians in International Affairs.

This article was first published on the Young Australians in International Affairs blog. This article can be republished with attribution under a Creative Commons Licence. 

Bougainville Agriculture News: Boost to cocoa industry in Bougainville PNG

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“Cocoa is Bougainville’s most important cash crop, involving about twothirds of Bougainville families,”

“Strengthening this industry will provide widespread benefits for the whole of the ABG, bringing in more money and providing much-needed employment opportunities.”

A recent study of Bougainville’s cocoa industry found farmers could comfortably triple their production by using the right planting materials and improving their management practices”

A new K7 million a year support package will help Bougainville cocoa farmers boost output, improve quality and gain better market access. The Commodity Support Facility (CSF), launched in Buka today (Thursday, March 17), is a joint economic development initiative of the Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG) and the Governments of PNG, Australia and New Zealand.

The CSF offers grants and targeted assistance to cocoa farmers, dryers, fermenters and traders from across the autonomous region. The whole-of-industry support package will improve access to cocoa pod borer tolerant planting materials, and establish new farmer field schools to help smallholders lift production. Measures will include financial literacy and business management training, and a competition to design improved cocoa dryers and fermentaries.

The CSF will, in the future, expand to support other primary industries prioritised by the ABG, such as coconut or marine resources. ABG Minister for Primary Industries Nicholas Darku said the CSF would help Bougainville’s cocoa industry recover from the impact of the cocoa pod borer. “We have two ingredients on Bougainville. One is fertile soil; the other is hard working people.

“With this support, I know the industry will come back. We will increase our production and ensure Bougainville cements its reputation for producing fine flavour cocoa.” National Coordination Office for Bougainville Affairs A/g Director John Avira said cocoa is a very important cash crop for Bougainville.

“Alongside the CSF support, it is equally critical to have the access roads to bring the product to the market by the farmers,” Avira said “Partnership with other funding sources such as National members DSIP and PSIP could be explored to build roads to ensure the farmers are provided access to market.”

Australian High Commission Minister Counsellor Rod Hilton said the CSF would work with private sector partners to ensure assistance was well targeted.

“We want to ensure that support goes to projects that strengthen Bougainville’s cocoa industry, and contribute to sustainable improvements in production and quality in all regions of Bougainville,” he said.

“That means working with big business, small business and communities, targeting innovators and entrepreneurs. But we also want to see positive impacts for disadvantaged groups, particularly women and young people.”

New Zealand High Commission Counsellor Development, Kathleen Pearce, said the CSF would help everyday Bougainvilleans earn more income and provide revenue for the ABG.

“Cocoa is Bougainville’s most important cash crop, involving about twothirds of Bougainville families,” Pearce said.

“Strengthening this industry will provide widespread benefits for the whole of the ABG, bringing in more money and providing much-needed employment opportunities.”

A recent study of Bougainville’s cocoa industry found farmers could comfortably triple their production by using the right planting materials and improving their management practices.

“I think they can go from about 200-500kg per hectare, to an average of 1500kg per hectare,” Agribusiness consultant David Anderson said. “But the genetic potential of the clones that are being provided to farmers is even higher; up to 2000kg or even 3000kg a hectare.”

Prior to the Bougainville Crisis, the now-autonomous region exported about 30,000 tonnes of cocoa.

Production had recovered to about 26,000 tonnes by 2009, when the cocoa pod borer hit the industry driving production down to about 13,000 tonnes today.

ENDS Enquiries: public-affairs-portmoresby@dfat.gov.au or phone: 325 9333 ext 276

Bougainville Tourism News: Some insights into tourism development in #Bougainville #PNG

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“ABG recognises the largely untapped potential of tourism and is aware Bougainville has the natural attraction to lure adventure and niche’ travellers to its shores. But a lot needs to be done . Success does not come overnight. There are no short cuts and quick fixes in success in anything.

ABG’s financial resources and capacity which has to be shared with other areas and services seeking more urgent attention has not been easy. Clearly, this creates a lot of room and space for private enterprise driven participation in an industry that can be both profitable and enjoyable with the right advice and approach and sense of ownership.

Simon Pentanu was appointed Speaker of the Bougainville House of Representatives in June 2015.

Picture above Bungalows under progress at Uruna Bay Retreat

He comes from Pokpok Island where he has a home and a private retreat through which community participation and paid employment of women and youth amongst its Island communities is being promoted. He advocates“small, rural and local is beautiful” across Bougainville.

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Bougainville’s natural  beauty and attractions, including its vibrant culture like the rest of the country, can be best showcased with serious and deliberate government involvement. For now this is lacking and can be explained largely as a result of lack of resources, capacity and focus and due to the fact that since it was established the tourism office and responsibility has been moved from pillar to post. The settling in, focus, funding and seriousness has been amiss.

With so much potential staring at us in the face tourism in Bougainville it is time our political leaders and bureaucrats alike take the attitude that if tourism has to contribute to ABG’s coffers, then it should be well-intended and for good gain. A number of private operators that have been self-starters to promote tourism are the ones carrying the baton up front. The amount of promotion they are doing both out of joy in promoting the beauty of the Island and as a business is a good story.

The Autonomous  Region today is, in many ways, at the stage in its attempts to promote tourism where PNG was about 30 years ago. Then, PNG started its budding attempts to promote the industry. It wasn’t something easy like a casual walk along the beach, a nearby bushwalk or a small hill climb. It was gradual with early forays into areas of unique attractions like for example driving into a village in Asaro to be greeted by its famous mystical Asaro mud men. There are other numerous examples such as the early cruises up the Sepik or the Baining Fire Dance and the Malagan mask phenomena in the New Guinea Islands. Along the way tourists started fitting their itineraries and visits to the annual calendar of many provincial Cultural Shows which have now become well renown and frequentedannual events. Bougainville can not only learn enormously from these early starts, including teething issues in the rest of PNG but can start to fit its own cultural events around some of the dates of these events.

The PNGTA is a vast repository of information and experience that Bougainville tourism authorities can tap into. The world has become small in an industry that has virtually encompassed countries  globally and where there are no boundaries or barriers to movement or travel, barring religious and fanatical wars. PNGTA is benefitting enormously from its membership, attendance and participation in regional and global tourism events. It has also learnt that it does not have to copy or compete for the same markets like others but has created its own brand of adventure, cultural and niche’ attractions.

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SEE Papua New Guinea Tourism Promotions Authority Website

Along the way PNGTA has learnt some hard, some sad but many useful lessons. The aches and pains have come with the successes and joys in seeing and industry grow into many niche’ attractions around its many tribal and ethnic cultures, languages, landscapes and seascapes. Bougainville stands to gain a lot from the road travelled and challenges met by PNGTA. Bougainville does not have to reinvent the wheel but we can improve the oiling and lubrication in our spokes and nuts and bolts to cruise forward with so much potential begging to be tapped.

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SEE : Bougainville community support and vision puts Bougainville tourism on the world’s stage

Zhon Bosco Miriona, Managing Director of Bougainville Experience Tours for second time in the past few years was able to represent Bougainville on the world stage supported by Colin Cowell an International media and tourism consultant with over 25 years’ experience marketing Indigenous tourism

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In March 2016 Zhon is representing Bougainville in Germany at ITB the worlds largest travel show VIEW ITB SITE Listing

Download the PNG ITB Promo press release

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Top Photo Social media  : Online tour bookings site , Facebook ,@YesBougainville on Twitter and Bougainville Tourism INSTAGRAM are playing an important role in Bougainville Experience Tours  International Marketing

Second Photo Above : Developing partnerships with Wako Napusu Inbound operator Country Tour PNG and Asian operators above to bring in small groups for a 7 day Bougainville Tour Experience

PNGTA has also matured in keeping in check the pros and cons of tourist invasions, so to speak. It is a very sensible approach. The country does not necessarily want to promote tourism for arrivals en mass. This is a very important consideration in developing niche’ markets and keeping cultures genuinely intact. No one can ever completely preserve cultures in a test tube or a freezer but impact of outside influence and modernity can be managed with sensible long term policies and cooperation between government policy makers and independent state supported tourism bodies or corporations. In this regard, in terms of government support to PNGTA it has been a journey on bumpy roads, through humps, pot-holes and sometimes swaying bridges along the way. But the Association has been the richer and mature for the experience.

Bougainville can learn from all of the above. We can forge meaningful contacts, contracts and understanding for assistance in going forward in a planned and deliberate fashion with PNGTA.

It is heartening to see emerging self-start operators like Zhon Miriona Bosco from Bougainville Experience Tours and others in north and south Bougainville to establish links with PNGTA in brooding tourism in Bougainville. In time, there is no doubt other individual operators will emerge as Bougainville continues to open up to one of the cleanest and visible industries that can promote the Island.

ABG recognises the largely untapped potential of tourism and is aware Bougainville has the natural attraction to lure adventure and niche’ travellers to its shores. But a lot needs to be done over the years. Success does not come overnight. There are no short cuts and quick fixes in success in anything. ABG’s financial resources and capacity which has to be shared with other areas and services seeking more urgent attention has not been easy. Clearly, this creates a lot of room and space for private enterprise driven participation in an industry that can be both profitable and enjoyable with the right advice and approach and sense of ownership.

Clear, comprehensive, comprehendible mid to long-term policies is one way ABG can put tourism on a better footing. It is from this position that the Ministry, office and authority charged with responsibility to promote tourism in the Autonomous Region of Bougainville can develop deliberate and better long term view from the standing, stationary start is at now.

In the present Momis-Nisira Government the Minister for Economic Affairs Hon Fidelis Semoso MP has the will, the clout, the credentials and the leverage required to establish a meaningful and working contact with PNGTA. This would move the office from its dormant existence to at least some level headed planning view to where or how far Bougainville wants to take its tourism.

There are some aspects of office work that does not necessarily need huge funds but rather just thinking things through and mapping out. One such area concerns the risks and inhibitions to any opportunity to attracting and expanding tourism as an industry. First and foremost is the issue of law and order. This is a major concern in selling tourism in PNG but to its credit the PNGTA has spared no effort in putting better and localised perspective to this menace. Bougainville can certainly learn a thing or two from the arduous efforts PNGTA has made in this area. Landowner issues is another one when trekking and bird watching or just bushwalking is involved. Issues of benefits to a local community are matters that should attract attention to authorities. Advice and mentoring to willing starters in local areas is another area our officials in tourism office can help without much expenditure in resources or efforts.

The cost of travel to and within PNG is expensive. In more Bougainville it is even more expensive right across the board including airfares, local transport, accommodation, even food in lodges and motels. This should change over time and there is some evidence of this as the level of accommodation and variety of food in Buka and Arawa in more decent accommodation is improving.

Bougainville Office of Tourism Website

Developing an annual calendar around cultural events that are staged by communities for their own importance and purpose at their own time is something the office responsible for tourism in Buka can certainly work on. It is more reliable to plan this way because for communities these cultural events aren’t scheduled around tourist visits but have been a part of their life and cultural significance for years. On the part of tourist office staff this involves going out to the people to promote awareness over time. Instead of waiting for large funds the tourism office should go out to the people for which the cost shouldn’t be huge at all.

Some training and education for intending and existing tour operators and tour guides is a must so there is proper awareness on the do’s and don’ts of tourism. Again there is no need to reinvent the wheel. A working relationship can be established with PNGTA to help the tourism office in Bougainville. To this end there are also opportunities annually for the office of tourism and for private operators to attend tourist expositions hosted by PNGTA and by other Associations in the region.

It often begs the question, what does the office of tourism actually do in Bougainville? This is not a rhetorical question but a question that is being asked more and more. And rightly so. When you have good, attractive, usable and functional product to develop and promote and sell very well  why is it hard to promote and sell. Everyone boasts about how Bougainville is beautiful, how we might become a Mecca for tourists looking for authentic pristine beauty or how relatively peaceful it is for tourist to find once they get here. BUT who is doing the hard yakka that’s got to be done?

The Minister responsible for tourism can be best served by the tourism office by providing good briefs on where we are at, where we want to be in the next four years based on the remaining years of the current Government. And, in addition, how best the Government and private operators can best consult each other. The experience of PNGTA in this regard would be quite valuable. The current Minister’s audacious, no nonsense and result oriented approach would bode well with the benefit of good, regular advice from those that are charged with developing the industry. As already mentioned, establishing meaningful links with PNGTA is bound to pay good, tangible dividends.

Bougainville has always learnt the hard way from its shortcomings. The courage and conviction of the people to succeed at all is always there and has always moved everybody on and forward. Tourism has the potential as a reliable and clean income earner and cash generator . We can do this through joint effort between government and private enterprise and through humbling ourselves to ask others that have travelled this road to help and guide us, specifically PNGTA. PNGTA is already a very recognisable product, a global brand name in the tourism industry.

Bougainville can prove its worth best through doing the hard work led by those tasked and paid in the office of tourism. Any other joint effort will come if the officers and authorities start pegging and advancing their work inside and outside the office. It is not enough to just trumpet out the all too familiar metaphor we are so used to chanting and hearing that “we can do it”.

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Simon Pentanu pictured above learning international tourism marketing from Colin Cowell ” selling ” to 30 international buyers at a travel Expo in Port Moresby 2014. From left Zhon , Colin ,Simon and James Tanis.

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“Bougainville is a land of simple, untouched pleasures; from our turquoise seas to lush rain forests.Experience our unique Bougainville Island, nature, culture, history and friendly people “

 

 

 

 

Bougainville News : A tribute to the late Hon Steven Pirika Kamma MP

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“The loss of a member of a family, especially the head of a family is a painful and devastating experience for any family, in any family anywhere. 

The loss of a leader among us and in our midst when there is still so much to be done is untimely.

The loss of good, honest and committed national leaders mandated by popular choice in democratic and free elections such as we have and value in this Region and in the country, is a tragic loss.

AS we mourn the passing of the late Hon Steven Pirika Kamma and as the people of South Bougainville and the rest of Bougainville realise and acknowledge he will no longer be with us, it is a time too that we look back at his personal achievements and his marks and contributions in life.”

TRIBUTE BY THE SPEAKER SIMON PENTANU MHR

ON THE OCCASION OF A SPECIAL MEETING OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES TO HONOUR AND PAY TRIBUTE TO THE LATE HON. STEVEN PIRIKA KAMMA MP

On Wednesday 03 March 2016 the casket containing the remains of the late Hon Steven Pirika Kamma MP was laid before the House of Representatives at Kubu, Buka, the Autonomous Region of Bougainville. The casket was accompanied on two flights from Port Moresby to Buka by a parliamentary delegation led by the Speaker of the PNG National Parliament Hon Theodore Zurecnuoc. In the delegation were also United Resources Party stalwarts led by Member for Usino Bundi (Madang) Anthony Yagama MP. Stephen Kamma was a loyal member of the Party.

At the time of his passing Steven was Minister for State assisting the Prime Minister on constitutional matters. He was first elected as member for south Bougainville in 2008 and was serving his second term, 2012-2016, in the National Parliament

The Speaker Hon Simon Pentanu MHR led the tributes for and on behalf of the House of Representatives and members of the House. The President, Hon Chief Dr John Momis MHR also paid tribute on behalf of the People of Bougainville. The casket with the remains of the late Stephen Kamma was formally handed to ABG in a short speech on the floor of Parliament by The Speaker of the PNG National Parliament.

Following is a Tribute given by Speaker Simon Pentanu MHR in the House of Representatives.

The Hon the President, and Hon Members of the House of Representatives.

The Speaker of the PNG National Parliament Hon Theodore Zurenuoc MP

Member for Usino-Bundi Mr Anthony Yagama MP

Member for the Autonomous Region of Bougainville, Mr Joe Lera MP

Member for North Bougainville, Mr Louta Ato MP

The family and relatives of the late Hon Steven Piriki Kamma MP

People of Bougainville.

The loss of a member of a family, especially the head of a family is a painful and devastating experience for any family, in any family anywhere.

The loss of a leader among us and in our midst when there is still so much to be done is untimely.

The loss of good, honest and committed national leaders mandated by popular choice in democratic and free elections such as we have and value in this Region and in the country, is a tragic loss.

Honourable Members,

At this juncture, when Bougainville is still faced with many challenges , quite often precarious and trying moments of maturity in its leadership, politics and direction;

At this time when unity and our unification is the clear and loud clarion call from the ABG leadership to all Members of this House, to our four Bougainville MPs in the National Parliament and to the People of Bougainville;

At a time when the people across all communities are seeking more awareness and efforts of all their  elected leaders as the clock ticks down to Referendum;

At a time like this when we lose leaders  in the prime of their political and other public life;

AT ALL THESE TIMES AND MORE, I dare say that death is a cheat on Bougainville.

Honourable Members,

Your life is a priceless gift to you. You cannot re-invent it. You cannot recreate it. You cannot copy it. You cannot clone yourself. Your Life is a gift from God. From Nature. From the Universe. From Mumira. From Tantanu. From Sunahan. Kumponing. All you have do is be mindful and look after it, take care of it. We must all spend some down time on our Health and Wellbeing. This is a message we must all store and carry in our hearts and minds as leaders all the time. It is your duty of care to do so. We owe this to the people who elected us to represent them as we go about our responsibilities to rebuild Bougainville. The state of any nation, any country is judged not only by its wealth and avarice but by the health of its citizens, especially its leaders.

AS we mourn the passing of the late Hon Steven Pirika Kamma and as the people of South Bougainville and the rest of Bougainville realise and acknowledge he will no longer be with us, it is a time too that we look back at his personal achievements and his marks and contributions in life.

This is also an occasion we pay tribute to the late Member’s life and recognise his successes, contributions and the legacy he leaves behind.

Stephen Pirika Kamma had a lot of heart and spent a lot of effort to go ahead in business. He had a lot of heart and worked hard to get into national politics. He did very well on both scores.

Steven also had a lot of heart and faith in himself that it was his responsibility to work hard for his family so they could get ahead in life. He also did very well on this score.

The late Stephen Kamma faced up to and moved on from the Bougainville crisis to gather himself in Rabaul, East New Britain province. A devastating natural disaster, the volcanic eruptions in Rabaul in September 1994 was another blow to his budding business. But instead of dwelling on the misfortunes,  this gave him more determination to lead his family from the front, and not complain and make excuses to fold up. Through all of this and at all times Stephen maintained his family intact.

With an eye for opportunities and contempt for failure after the hard years at home and a natural disaster in Rabaul the late Stephen Kamma headquartered his signature business in pest control in Port Moresby.

I believe from sharing times and moments together as a good friend that it was his control at the helm and determination move on and his personal trials and tribulations in the face of adverse and un-mitigating disasters that made him thinking about public life in politics.

The late Steven’s idea of politics was driven not necessarily by the notion of representation of people per se but rather by his idea that a representative is chosen, among other things,  to bring about practical, visible and tangible results competing in an arena where leaders are vying  for resources and where a leader’s worth and ability is judged often by what developmental changes and improvements he or she can effect to the lives and well-being of the people.

This country is a very rural society where the majority of our people still live in villages. The best evidence of a meaningful link by an elected leader in many ways is a residence among one’s community in the village. The late Mr Kama had a home in his village in his community where he spent considerable time, relatively speaking, with his people.

His record of contacts, links, discussions and offers of advice to the President, some Ministers and members of this House, especially from south Bougainville  is a record he can be justifiably proud of as a national MP. His presence and visits and projects is what did the talking for him.

On the ground in Bougainville as well as in Port Moresby from to time his direct approach to our President on many occasions when matters of interest to Bougainville needed to be explained or when differences and confusion between Kubu and Waigani needed moderating the Hon Member often appeared when he would make  the judgment that his help and arbitration was called for to maintain dialogue between the National Government that he was an integral part of and ABG leadership. His quiet interventions did not always become news stories.

The late Hon Member always keenly followed the ABG elections and the formation of Governments after elections on the ground in the Region. To this end he maintained contact with members from his region and electorate in the south.

Hon Members,

This House recognises and places on record its grateful appreciation of the service and duty of the late Honourable Member as one of the 4 elected Members in the National Parliament. Under the provisions of the Bougainville Constitution our 4 Bougainville MPs in the National Parliament are also Members of this House.

Stephen Kamma, you are laid on the floor of this House as a member of the House. It is not only right but also fitting that this is the case because while our three national MPs each represent the three regions and the regional members represents the whole island, collectively you all represent the People of Bougainville.

The honourable member passed away in office as a Minister of State. Despite issues with his Health the Steven Kamma never winced or blinked his eyes about the duties and responsibilities of a Minister. He stayed on the crease batting to the last innings without getting out. There is no doubt he wanted to see his second term in Parliament right through to the end. Unfortunately this was not to be. While some people may criticise this, the late Minister always kept in touch and abreast and still took decisions right to the end. He valued and knew that two voices for Bougainville in Cabinet was better than one.  He was  loyal to the Government he was a part of. He was a loyal member of his Party.

The Hon late Stephen Kamma is the first Bougainvillean since elections started in PNG in 1964 and since Independence in 1975 to die in office as a serving member and Minister of State.

We have lost a self-made businessman, a proud Siwai entrepreneur  like many other Siwais that are the heart-throb of business and commerce in many areas in Bougainville. He was a kind hearted philanthropist to those that he helped and that knew him well personally.

He found assurance and confidence with his peers in Parliament regardless of the changing and tumultuous times PNG is going through . Bougainville has lost a leader, a proud carrier of our mantle at the national political level. Hon Stephen Kama is a big loss to Bougainville at a time we can least afford to lose our elected leaders.

This House extends its deepest sympathy and condolence to the family of the late Steven Kama, Anna and her children Michael and Pamela and their adopted children at this difficult time in their bereavement. You have a lost a loving husband and father.

May God bless his soul as he rests in His Kingdom. May he rest in Eternal Peace

To conclude, may I on behalf Members assembled here this morning and the People of the Autonomous Region of Bougainville offer our sincere thanks and appreciation to you, the Hon Speaker of the PNG National Parliament and your delegation for accompanying the remains of the late Honourable Stephen Kamma and gracing us with your presence on this occasion. Thank you for handing him back to Bougainville, especially to his people in south Bougainville through  this House.

 

Bougainville President Press Release : First address of the State to Bougainville

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First address of the State to Bougainville

Part One

ABG President Chief Dr John Momis speaks on key issues that ABG is currently addressing. Momis made his first appearance for this year at a media conference held on Monday 8th 2016.

President Momis, firstly wished all citizens of Bougainville a Happy New Year.

He wasted no time in addressing the issues and challenges faced by his government the Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG);

• Bougainville Peace Agreement (BPA)

2016 will bring some big changes and improvement to Bougainville.
If we look at the bigger vision of what BPA is, you will begin to see that only in Bougainville, WE have a strong government.

We have the right to vote for a referendum to get independence.

PNG constitution does not allow other provinces to get autonomy the same as Bougainville. PNG constitution does not allow any other provinces to get independence.

This is a unique right of the constitution of Papua New Guinea. This, the Bougainville Peace Agreement (BPA) is a result of Peace in Bougainville an outcome that ended the war, a bloody war that killed 15-20,000 people.

The powers, which the ABG already has, cannot be taken back by the national government. It is irretrievable. It is protected under the provision called double entrancement clause in the peace agreement.

The National Government cannot get back all the powers that Bougainville has already drawn down.

According to the Peace Agreement, and inline with the constitution, the National Government and ABG must work together to achieve results of the peace agreement.

The two must have a joint partnership in implementing the peace agreement. This means that the national government has a very big responsibility to make available all the provision funds to operate ABG and fund services to the people of Bougainville.

The national government is not at liberty with all funds. When doing so, the national government has broken the constitution and the peace agreement.

ABG has a lot of power under the Bougainville Peace Agreement. But because we don’t have enough knowledge and experience all these powers are not in use and are not functioning.

When we have enough educated people and if we build capacity then all powers will function and the people will see the results and outcome of the true meaning of drawing down those powers.

But before that can happen as well, the government (ABG) must make new policies and laws. Having draw down of powers without policies and legislation will not bring out any results. And they become non-existent although already existing. This is a big problem in Bougainville because there are not enough educated people with experience in law, planning, and finance to make new policies.

• ABG’s biggest challenge
This means that Bougainville must have a lot of educated people who can make laws to encourage new ideas.

ABG’s biggest challenge is not having enough human resource that is equipped with a capacity of creating new laws and policies that can move the region forward.

• National government breaking law

The National Government is breaking the law when it is not meeting all the funding under the Bougainville Peace Agreement that is suppose to compliment the functions of the Autonomous Bougainville Government. This is a controversy to the constitution of the National Government and the Bougainville Peace Agreement and the leaders and people of Bougainville.

ABG is not begging the National Government for money. The National Government owes ABG money.

Before the crisis, Bougainville was the main income driver for the National Government. Contribution from Bougainville to the National Government was tremendous.

And so, the action of the National Government shows that the government has no gratitude of Bougainville’s contribution in the past.

• Joint Supervisory Body (JSB) 15th and 16th of February 2016

The Autonomous Bougainville Government will raise this issue again at the Joint Supervisory Body (JSB) meeting that will be held on the 15th and 16th of February.

JSB is a special meeting held between the National Government and the ABG to address and resolve critical issues raised by the ABG to the National Government and from the National Government to ABG. It is a special meeting held between both governments to negotiate inline with the peace agreement.

We hope that there is already work done to resolve a lot of issues faced by ABG.

To be continued…

State’s first address to the Public
Part 2 (A continuation from part one)

President Chief Dr John Momis elaborated on the five principles of his government during his first term as the president for the second house of government in 2010.

Five principles
The five principles as first announced in the inauguration of the 2010 government:
1. Unification of all Bougainvilleans.
2. Securing the political future of the Bougainville Peace Agreement.
3. Promoting Good governance in the rule of law.
4. Public Awareness

1. Unification
A principle that believes in strengthening unity amongst the people and government by acknowleding that:
• The outcome of the referendum will be difficult to achieve if their is no unity. The outcome of the referendum will be a result of the two governments (GoPNG and ABG) consulting each other on the outcome.
• It means that for unity to take place, we must agree to become a member of a team.
• Unity means encouraging a lot of debates on referendum in Bougainville and PNG.

2. Securing the political future of the Bougainville Peace Agreement
A principle that believes in strengthening the ABG by:
• Strengthening and increasing the laws of Bougainville. ABG has its own laws already. Mining laws, Lands, Education etc
• A preparedness of the ABG to conduct the referendum successfully and the questions to consider in preparation for the vote
• Encouraging ABG to archieve complete autonomy. ABG autonomy is 90% of Independence.
• Preparing Bougainville for referendum.

Good governance in the rule of law
A principle that believes in good governance in the rule of law by:
• Accepting and upholding a democratic system of government.
• Upholding the constitution and law and order and not agreeing to the traditional or customary way or any other way of upholding the law.

Building public awareness
A principle that believes in using the media as the way forward for awareness:
• The media must sing and dance the same tune when disseminating information about mining, referendum, investment, and development…
• The media and NGOs must not confuse the public with wrong information.
• It refers to ABG having dialogue discussion with the people of Bougainville and the government and PNG.
• For both ABG and GoPNG to jointly implement the peace agreement.

President Chief Dr John Momis urged for every citizen to take responsibility with their lives.

Responsible of each citizen
It is every citizen’s responsibility to:
• Go to church and have a strong relationship with God.
• Have an interpersonal relationship with your family (ies), clan, community,
• Be concerned about issues in your local area, community, and societies within your constituency, other constituencies and around Bougainville.

President Momis made other announcements.
New announcement are:
• Vice President Patrick Nisira and his team was in Scotland to learn about how referendum was conducted in that area
• This year there will be more trauma counseling programs under the UN Peace Building fund in Bougainville.
• ABG will have funding to implement economic programs tailored for people who can become self-reliant including the government.
• ABG will approve the new Public Service structure for Bougainville this year. All positions will be reviewed, approved and advertised.
• The Bougainville Peace Agreement (BPA) is now known as the model peace agreement in the world.

Bougainville Women’s News : Australia supports Young Women’s Leadership Project in Bougainville

Australia supports women in Bougainville

The project will emphasise the value of women candidates and promote men’s respect for the rights of their wives and partners to choose who they wish to vote for,”

Ambassador Stott Despoja said

Deputi Spika blong Autonomous Bougainville Gavman, Francesca Semoso em i salim bikpela tok tengkyu long gavman na pipol blong Australia long help ol i bin wok long givim Autonomous Region blong Bougainville.

Australia is supporting two new projects aimed at improving leadership skills and voter awareness among women in the Autonomous Region of Bougainville.

Australia’s Ambassador for Women and Girls, Natasha Stott Despoja, today launched the Young Women’s Leadership and the Voter Awareness and Leadership Education projects while on a visit to Bougainville.
Funded through the Australian aid program, the K2.8 million Young Women’s Leadership Project will support young women to build leadership skills and confidence to have a greater voice in local and regional government affairs and policy development.
The K1 million Voter Awareness and Leadership Education project will assist men and women to fully participate in and understand democratic processes.
“The project will emphasise the value of women candidates and promote men’s respect for the rights of their wives and partners to choose who they wish to vote for,” Ambassador Stott Despoja said.
Australia supports gender equality in the Autonomous Bougainville Government through a jointly developed and agreed to gender investment plan (2014-19) valued at $14 million. The plan focuses on three key areas: to reduce gender-based violence and provide support services for survivors; strengthen women’s leadership and influence in decision-making; and improve women’s economic opportunities.
In consultation with the PNG Government and the Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG), Australia is increasing its aid to Bougainville to support stability by strengthening governance and service delivery, promoting social cohesion and economic growth, and empowering women and youth.

Deputi Spika blong Autonomous Bougainville Gavman, Francesca Semoso itok tenk yu long Australia long despla raon blong Ms Stott Despoja long Bougainville

Deputi Spika blong Autonomous Bougainville Gavman, Francesca Semoso em i salim bikpela tok tengkyu long gavman na pipol blong Australia long help ol i bin wok long givim Autonomous Region blong Bougainville.

Long nau ia, gavman blong Australia igat wanpela 14 million dollar 2014-2019 program wantaim ABG long sait long helpim ol meri.

Stat long Trinde ikam inap long tede, Ambassador blong Australia long sait long ol meri na gels, Natasha Stott Despoja em ibin visitim Bougainville.

Long Trinde em ibin lonsim Bougainville Women’s Federation facilities long Buka.

Ms Despoja ibin bungim to ol 4 pela meri insait long ABG palamen.

Na Francesca Semoso husat i memba makim ol meri long North Bougainville i tok ol meri lida ia ibin tokim Ms Despoja long go toksave long bikpela tengkyu long gavman blong Australia long olgeta help long olgeta yia.

Bougainville House of Representatives : Statement by the Speaker Simon Pentanu

 Simon Pentanu

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES 

Office of the Speaker

STATEMENT BY SPEAKER

Budget session

The Speaker of the House of Representatives Simon Pentanu MHR has announced the 2015 Budget meeting will commence on Monday 21 December at 2 o’clock pm. This is the date agreed to in consultation with the President and the Minister for Finance taking into account the preparation time for the budget to be finalised. The House will meet over two to three days to consider and approve the Autonomous Region’s  budget for 2016.

This will be the final meeting for this year. The first meeting of the House in the New Year will be in March at a date and time to be fixed by the Speaker in consultations with the President.

In a prepared statement the Speaker also made brief reference to a number matters on his impressions to the start of the Third House 2015-2020.

Parliamentary Committees

The Speaker said the start to his term in Office has been eventful. It has been a period of settling in for all members, including Ministers. The Speaker expressed a particular delight that the House has appointed its main and important select and statutory parliamentary committees early in the life of the Third House. The parliamentary committee system in its full operational capacity would provide the best opportunities for members to play their rightful roles in wider and inclusive ways as leaders, lawmakers and elected representatives.

 Parliament poorly resourced

Mr Pentanu said resources,  financial resources in particular, will continue to be a challenge in the administration of the Parliament. In this regard the Speaker said that sadly, over the last ten years the Parliament which is an important arm of the Government has been poorly resourced. Even more appalling, the Legislature as one of the three symbiotic arms of the Government has been regarded , if not degraded as if it is just another administrative arm of the Autonomous Bougainville Administration.

He said that unless this attitude is changed Parliament and its parliamentarians will not play their representative, lawful roles as long as the Parliamentary Service continues to be poorly resourced. He said it is already obvious to him that the demand on members’ time and effort compared to the meagre resources that come with the office of a member is enormous. A Parliament and parliamentary service that is adequately resourced can plan well in supporting the constitutional mandate of elected leaders and provide integrity and respect to the roles they are expected to perform.

Financial Accountability

Our whole financial administration regime and accountabilities for funds at every level need to be blow torched and overhauled. We cannot continue to walk up and down the same corridors and expect different results. I am confident however, we have the leaders in Parliament to institute changes through well thought out and considered decisions to demand more and better accountabilities overall over ABG’s finances  in order to do and achieve more from the resources Bougainville is raises and receives. Our members are not just law makers, the Parliament is also the highest oversight body to which the Executive and the bureaucracy is accountable.

Women’s participation

Our women parliamentarians have shown confidence, commitment, desire and a strong will to make their marks inside and outside Parliament as they strive to represent women of Bougainville. Their participation in debates, the questions they direct at the ministerial benches and their appreciation of what their roles entail has been impressive so far.

Former combatants

Our three members representing the former combatants have contributed to discussions and debates in an assured way. They are members of important parliamentary select committees. However, as representatives of interest groups the members need more assistance in articulating the hovering constituency issues in a way that Parliament and Bougainville leadership may be able to involve or utilise their membership in a progressive way in connection with the constituents they represent.

Positive start

The management of the business of the House, the corporation and collaboration with the Executive in Parliament and attendance and  participation by all members during parliamentary sessions has been pleasing. Members have benefitted from inductions at the start of their political and parliamentary career. Member’s attendance and participation at a recent parliamentary seminar jointly hosted by the Department of Referendum, Peace and Veterans in a rural setting was very encouraging.

Autonomous funding

Ours is a Parliament by the People, for the People, of the People and we must go back to the People at every opportunity.  I do not see why this should be difficult when this is the duty and desire of all members. It is absolutely possible with proper planning and adequate funding under an arrangement in which Parliament is funded separately in an autonomous arrangement where it is provided and is accountable for its funding.

 

Bougainville News Alert: BRA and PNG military to reconcile 20 years after war ends

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There are plans for a reconciliation between the Papua New Guinea Defence Force and the former Bougainville Revolutionary Army.

The Bougainville Civil War caused incredible devastation and loss, including this picture taken at the ruins of Arawa Hospital in 1997. Photo: AFP

Radio NZ is reporting

Both armies opposed each other during the Bougainville civil war which ended nearly 20 years ago.

Now, with the region preparing for a vote on possible independence from PNG, the Bougainville parliamentary referendum committee wants the former warring groups to reconcile.

The committee chair, Joseph Watawi, says both the PNGDF commander, Brigadier General Gilbert Toropo, and the former leader of the BRA, Sam Kauona, back the plan.

He says reconciliation is vital for the future of Bougainville.

“It is a must that this reconciliation take place and I guess it is an act to get and ensuring that the peace is sustained. And it is also part and parcel of the spirit and the letter of the Bougainville Peace Agreement.”

Bougainville Independence News: Is China in frame as midwife to a Bougainville nation?

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China’s constructions on ­reclaimed rocks in the South China Sea are a headache for ASEAN, the US and Australia, what if Beijing became the patron of Bougainville a large emerging island state that stares across the ­Pacific to the US fortress of Guam?

Rowan Callick Reporting in THE Australian

Earlier this year 130 operations were performed on the US Navy hospital ship Mercy. Its nurses, dentists and optometrists saw more than 6000 patients and its veterinary surgeons treated 140 dogs and cats and more than 2500 farm animals, during a two-week stay in Bougainville and in Rabaul, also in Papua New Guinea.

The US’s Pacific Command is a massive deliverer of humanitarian services every year around the Asia-Pacific. And Bougainville, an autonomous region of PNG, is a worthy recipient.

Conditions have deteriorated on the island, which after boasting the best living standards in PNG before civil war broke out in 1989 is now one of the nation’s worst performing provinces, with few job prospects and poor health and education levels, even for a country languishing at 157th of the 187 nations on the UN human development index.

But there is another, strategically potent, reason why the US might well wish to pay particular attention to Bougainville. That’s because within five years its 250,000 people will go to a referendum on independence and Bougainville, with deepwater ports and lengthy runways that could be swiftly rehabilitated, lies 2500km straight across the horizon from Guam.

PNG Prime Minister Peter O’Neill recently told The Australian a “yes” vote would not necessarily lead to independence, which remained the responsibility of the national parliament.

“We have a diverse and tribal country, so we can ask ourselves, where does it stop? We have no ­interest in thinking about independence, but about services, and the wellbeing of the people on Bougainville,” he said.

Nevertheless, the odds are strong on Bougainvilleans opting for independence. An independent but economically struggling Bougainville would be forced swiftly to seek patrons. The Autonomous Bougainville Government, led by former priest John Momis, has repeatedly stated an economically viable future requires the return of mining.

Rio Tinto has demonstrated its lack of confidence in reopening Bougainville Copper Ltd — which would cost an estimated $6.5 billion — by instigating a review of its 53.6 per cent stake, which has been under way for more than a year.

A groundbreaking ceremony, or Bel Kol (the cooling of anger), at which landowners, ABG, mine owners and other groups would bury the hatchet, has been postponed yet again due to the hostility of former combatants, some of whom retain their small arms.

It looks increasingly possible that Rio Tinto will walk away from the mine, which it was forced to close 26 years ago, despite it still containing copper, gold and other metals worth about $50bn and ­locals strongly backing its reopening at elections despite a hard core waving the threat of violence to keep it closed.

It could hand its shareholding to a trust for Bougainvilleans, as BHP did when it walked away from the environmental controversies at the Ok Tedi mine.

Or Rio could try to sell it, in which case the PNG government might be a buyer — or might ­nationalisation it, as happened at Ok Tedi two years ago. The ­national government is already the second largest owner of BCL, with a 19.1 per cent stake.

But nationalisation would be very hard to effect and counter-productive to the good relations needed for any chance of a referendum outcome supporting continued PNG sovereignty.

The bottom line is that only one source can provide the cash and the engineering required to resurrect the mine — the Chinese government. China is the only country to be expanding rapidly its aid — however tied — in the Asia-Pacific as part of President Xi Jinping’s maritime silk road ­vision.

Mr Momis, 75, a complex figure who has evinced strong nationalist feelings for PNG and Bougainville, has strong connections with Beijing, where he served as ambassador from 2006 to 2009.

Australia has worked to maintain strong links with Bougainville too, having played a major role, working alongside New Zealand, in the peace process and providing continuing aid. But the relationship suffered some turbulence when Canberra announced in the May budget the opening of a consulate on Bougainville before it had been fully agreed by Port ­Moresby.

Whoever becomes Bougainville’s best friend, whether it ­remains part of PNG or seeks to strike out on its own, must have deep pockets.

The stakes are also high, as Asia-Pacific waters, already the world’s most crucial trading channels, become increasingly crowded with the escalation of spending on ocean-going navies, including by Australia.

Bougainville has been a highly strategic island before. In 1943, it was where US fighters shot down Isoroku Yamamoto, the commander-in-chief of the Japanese Imperial Navy.

The Australian Strategic Policy Institute warned two years ago that “misunderstandings between Port Moresby and the ABG persist … The most likely referendum outcome — PNG refusing to ratify a clear but far from unanimous vote for an independence Bougainville is utterly unprepared for — would be destabilising”.

“Australian interests would be profoundly engaged if the situation there deteriorates sharply.”

ASPI director Peter Jennings added this week that the sharper maritime strategic competition emerging in the region made ­Pacific islands even more vulnerable to exploitation from powers eager to secure access for ships, aircraft and intelligence-gathering capabilities.

Bougainville Government opportunity : Media and Communications Adviser – Buka, Bougainville

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The Media and Communications Adviser will assist the Autonomous Bougainville Government’s (ABG) Bureau of Public Affairs, Media and Communications to develop a Media and Communications Strategy and Implementation Plan (2015-2020)

  • Short term, periodic inputs to June 2016 with possibility of extension
  • Based in Buka, Bougainville
  • Fantastic adviser opportunity in a challenging Governance program

The Program

The Provincial and Local-level Governments Program (PLGP) is Australia’s mechanism to support initiatives of the Government of Papua New Guinea that aim to improve service delivery by strengthening the capacity of sub-national levels of government. PLGP is at the forefront of forward-thinking strategies which contribute to the development of Papua New Guinea.

APPLY ON COFFEY WEBSITE

The Position

The Media and Communications Adviser will assist the Autonomous Bougainville Government’s (ABG) Bureau of Public Affairs, Media and Communications to develop a Media and Communications Strategy and Implementation Plan (2015-2020) with special focus on the public information and awareness requirements for supporting the Bougainville Referendum on Autonomy and Independence scheduled for 2020.

The adviser will also assist the ABG to identify the broader priority investments (infrastructure, human resource development, institutional arrangements) to improve communication on and understanding of the Bougainville Peace Agreement.

The Person

The ideal candidate for this position will have experience in developing and implementing communications strategies in developing countries. You will bring strong interpersonal skills and have the ability to advise on high level communication and information dissemination.

It is expected that the candidate bring highly developed oral and written communication skills and have the appropriate interpersonal communication skills to relate and negotiate effectively, including being able to convey concepts clearly and concisely with a diverse range of stakeholders.

The ideal candidate will be able to demonstrate experience of capacity building in the developing country context, including mentoring and enhancing skills of national staff.

Relevant qualifications in communications, public relations, marketing, journalism or another relevant discipline are essential.

The position is classified asB3 under the DFAT Adviser Remuneration Framework. For full details please view via www.dfat.gov.au

For any enquiries, please contact internationaldevelopment@coffey.com and quote the job reference number.

Applications close: 1 November 2015

Coffey has a 40 year history in successfully delivering international development projects on behalf of donors right around the world, including Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, USAID and the UK’s Department for International Development. Our people work side by side with local partners to support stability, economic growth and good governance, positively changing people’s lives..