Bougainville Economic News: Grand Chief Momis wants to jumpstart economic activities that will transform to economic growth

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“Let us be realistic and practical this time. Let us learn to accept realities and work for solutions and alternatives. Let us stop dwelling on problems, but instead come up with solutions,” President Momis said.

“We all know that we have been denied what is constitutionally and legally ours on matters of funding. This government will continue to work through diplomatic channels and if necessary, the courts to demand what is due us,”

“With this in mind, we work on the premise and framework that at this time we have limited resources

ABG President Grand Chief Dr. John Momis economic statement (see below )

The Autonomous Bougainville Government’s third House met on 21st July) for the first time as it begins its five year tenure.

In his first address to the third House’s first sitting, ABG President Grand Chief Dr. John Momis told the new members that they all share the same honor and privilege of having been chosen by the people of Bougainville to lead and provide them with a better life and a better future.

“Our people see in us the workers with responsibility for the realization of their dreams and aspirations, more than ever they want us to amplify their voice as they shout to be freed from the grip of poverty and marginalized life,” the President said.

“They want us to create meaningful and sustainable projects for them to breathe a little and ease their pain and suffering, they want us to create laws, policies and programs that will raise their dignity as persons,” he said.

The President went on to say that the people would like their leaders to guarantee that their children of the next generation shall overcome better than they are today, they want us to get them out of the depths of the poverty so they can gradually enjoy in the next years decency in food, clothing, shelter and education for their children.

President Momis said that he expects the third Autonomous Bougainville House of Representatives to make a difference as he reiterated the six major tasks that his government would be addressing.

The six major tasks outlined by the Momis led Government are Unification of all Bougainvilleans, Improving welfare of all Bougainvilleans by promoting appropriate economic development, Securing Bougainville’s future by fully implementing the three pillars of the Bougainville Peace Agreement: achieving full autonomy, preparing for the referendum and achieving complete weapons disposal.

These also include Promoting good governance and the rule of law and ending corruption, Public Awareness and Improving basic services, as outlined by the President Grand Chief Dr. John Momis during his inaugural address in June.

“During the Crises we were one, we stood our ground and we fought and made sacrifices but unfortunately instead of emerging as a rejuvenated community we disintegrated and went our different ways, we were all weakened and paralyzed by the absence of a culture we once had as Melanesians,” the President said.

“Today I stand before you to pose this challenge to each and every one of you, let us not fail our people, let us not abandon our people, we have heard enough, seen enough, discussed enough-this is the time for all of us to roll up our sleeves and soil our hands.

Momis on Economic Development

Since the formation of the third house of the Autonomous Bougainville Government in June a new Ministry, the Ministry of Economic Development was created in order to fast track economic projects and activities.

ABG President Grand Chief Dr John Momis said that creating favourable economic conditions will jumpstart economic activities that will transform to economic growth and in turn will provide the basis for the ABG to have the basis for fiscal self-reliance through its own taxes.

“Let us be realistic and practical this time. Let us learn to accept realities and work for solutions and alternatives. Let us stop dwelling on problems, but instead come up with solutions,” President Momis said.

“We all know that we have been denied what is constitutionally and legally ours on matters of funding. This government will continue to work through diplomatic channels and if necessary, the courts to demand what is due us,” the President added

“With this in mind, we work on the premise and framework that at this time we have limited resources.

The President has already issued directives to the ABG Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Economic Development to start an inventory of what it has in resources, identify all potential internal sources of revenue and determine the gap between what we have and what we want to achieve.

The two ministries must also act on narrowing the gap, formulate policies and laws to raise revenue, implement policies and laws on control and proper fund management, increase savings mechanisms in our operation and define guarantees for our domestic and international investors.

“I must make it clear, here and now, that we need both those domestic and foreign investors. Domestic investors in Bougainville are already doing much. We have significant local investment in large and small stores, in guest houses, in PMVs, in construction of buildings and roads and many other sectors,” the President said

These local investors who have taken many risks since the conflict ended, need for more support and encouragement and developing plans and mechanisms for the incentive they need must be a major focus of our new ministry.

For the most part, foreign investors will be encouraged to operate in other sectors where domestic investors do not have the capacity.

“Fiscal self-reliance is a tall order at this point in time. Yet, I firmly believe that when we work together purposively and want it badly enough we can achieve it,” Momis said

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

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International tourism Buyers (travel agents and wholesalers) interested in sending visitors to Bougainville PNG have given the recent South Pacific Tourism Exchange (SPTE) 2015 and especially Bougainville as a future growing tourism destination the ‘thumbs-up’ after two-days of successful business-to-business meetings at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre .

Tour operators, hotel and accommodation providers as well as National Tourism Offices from 16 Pacific Island Countries converged into Melbourne with over 60 international buyers from the traditional source markets of Australia and New Zealand to the emerging long haul markets of the United States, China and Europe to conduct business and networking.

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Zhon Bosco Miriona, Managing Director of Bougainville Experience Tours for second time in the past year 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.

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

Mr. Miriona said without the help of Bougainville small business and other sponsors and supporters  (see list below) I would not have been able to attend this important but expensive international marketing opportunity for Bougainville.

“Our fundraising in Arawa raised 5,270 kina and it really proved that a wide range of organisations and individuals understand the economic, cultural and social benefits  that international tourism can bring to Bougainville. Hopefully this new Government can also see that they need to develop a Bougainville Tourism Plan 2015-2025 to strategically invest in tourism infrastructure training and marketing “Mr. Miriona said

Mr Miriona stated SPTE 2015 was bigger than initially anticipated and the large number of buyers and sellers at this year’s event is indicative of the growing interest in the Pacific region’s only tourism exchange.

“The overwhelming response to SPTE 2015 from both the buyers and sellers has contributed to its success! Our PNG team worked especially hard to ensure that the quality of buyers from our international markets would add value to the exchange, especially for our regional member areas like Bougainville. The PNG Tourism Promotion Authority and Colin Cowell have been a fantastic support developing Bougainville tourism over the past few years. I am pleased to say that with all this support Bougainville does have a bright future” Mr. Miriona added.

Mr Miriona went on to say that the major problem that Bougainville cultural tourism has is that the Bougainville Government cannot guarantee funding or dates for the many festivals or events that occur each year throughout the island such as Mona and the Reeds Festival .

“Like other major cultural festivals throughout Papua New Guinea we need to lock in dates and funding five years ahead so that International buyers and cruise ships can plan and sell tours”

Mr Miriona went on to highlight some of the other international marketing that he and Mr Cowell did whilst in Melbourne

“This year SPTE 2015 extended an invitation to the international media that were in Melbourne for the Australian Tourism Exchange and I was able to do a number of radio interviews promoting Bougainville tourism

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Radio Australia Interview with Bruce Hill

Bougainville open and ready for tourism

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 Bougainville igat bikpela potensal long turis bisnis

Turis bisnis opereta long Bougainville Zhon Bosco Miriora i tok Bougainville wantaim olgeta hap blong Papua New Guinea igat bikpela potensal oa samting long divelopim sait long turis.

 With  pictured above with Zhon and Wako
Mr Miriona papa blong  Bougainville Experience Tours i tok ol klinpla environment, pasin tumbuna na ol pisin long ol bikbus inap pulim planti turis igo long Auttonomous rijan blong Bougainville.
Mr Miriona ibin stap long South Pacific Tourism Exchange sho emi bin kamap hia long Melbourne long wik igo pinis.
Planti turisam laen blong olgeta hap blong Pacific ibin stap long despla bung em Australia Tourism na South Pacific Tourism Organisation ibin ronim.
Mr Miriona itok gutpla environment emi nap helpim ol pipal i kisim moni nau na long bihaen taem.
Bisnis blong Mr Miriona i save stretim rot blong ol turis i go long ol ship na balus long go wokabaut long Bougainville.

Check out the website

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A BIG THANK YOU TO THE SPONSORS

List of Lodges, corporates and individuals who attended and donated for the fundraising for BET rep to attend the 2nd South Pacific Tourism Exchanges in Melbourne Australia.

NO. Names Amount
1 Poonang Nava Inn K600.00
2 Arawa Transit Lodge K300.00
3 Rising Sun K300.00
4 Gasa Lodge K300.00
5 Urunaa Island Lodge K300.00
6 Riverside Lodge K300.00
7 National Airport Corporation K100.00
8 PNG Ports Limited K300.00
9 Gold Dust Ltd K300.00
10 Eastrac K300.00
11 3 Rocks K300.00
12 Hon Member Nick Darku K300.00
13 Bougainville Earth Works K300.00
14 Kompaini Plant Hire K300.00
15 Jayberth K150.00
16 Lucy Sagoro K30.00
17 Vincent Simon Bus Service K200.00
18 Raymond Marai K300.00
19 Nigana Bus Service K100.00
20 Danny James K50.00
21 Lawrence Mattau K30.00
22 Joe Mennou K30.00
23 Gerard Tagussy K30.00
24 Tuvoro Service Station K50.00
Total 5,270.00

 

 

 

Bougainville Health and Tourism News: American “Mercy ” ship to visit Bougainville

Mercy-San-Diego

 

AMERICAN MERCY SHIP DUE TO ARRIVE KIETA
by Aloysius Laukai in Arawa

The American floating Hospital carrying 850 personnel will arrive in Kieta on June 28th,2015.

This was revealed by the Managing Director of Bougainville Experience Tours, Zhon Bosco Miriona in Arawa today.

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MR.Miriona told New Dawn FM that his company has been engaged to to facilitate day tours for the personnels during the six days the ship will be in Kieta.

The hospital ship USNS Mercy was deployed from San Diego for the annual Pacific Partnership humanitarian deployment to the South Pacific.

During its four-month mission, the Mercy’s medical staff will visit Fiji, Kiribati, Papua New Guinea, Micronesia, the Philippines, the Solomon Islands and Vietnam, the Navy said.

Various charitable organizations will also take part in the 10th Pacific Partnership voyage, along with representatives of Australia, New Zealand, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, Canada, Timor Leste, Fiji and France.

Pacific Partnership was inaugurated in 2006, two years after the devastating tsunami that swamped the coastline of several Indian Ocean nations. Part of the mission is to help countries with disaster preparedness.

Mr Miriona said Doctors on board the ship will attend to patients during the ship’s stay in Kieta but bookings to see these doctors must be made through the Arawa District Hospital.

MR MIRIONA said that his group will only be looking after tours for these personnels from the 28th of June to the 3rd of July.

He said that the USNS Mercy will travel to Rabaul after Kieta.

Bougainville Tourism Website

 

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Bougainville Tourism News: Australian tourist and business travel ban lifted by PNG govt.

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Papua New Guinea foreign minister announces lifting ban on Australians travelling to Bougainville

With the Zhon Bosco Miriona Managing Director from Bougainville Experience Tours travelling to Melbourne on June 18 to market Bougainville tourism to the Australian and International market at the South Pacific Tourism Exchange this positive news for Bougainville was well timed.

“With 50% of our tourist and business travellers coming from Australia this is very good news for all our guest houses, hire cars and tour operators ” Mr Miriona said ” our tourism industry was facing a massive economic impact that would have taken years to recover

The ABC reported last night

Papua New Guinea has lifted a ban on Australians travelling to the autonomous region of Bougainville, the foreign minister Rimbink Pato said, adding that Australia and PNG have “reached common ground” on issues relating to the ban.

“Travel restrictions on Australians travelling to Bougainville have been lifted as of today,” he said in a press release.

Last week, Mr Pato banned all Australian tourist, business and short-term entry visa-holders from entering Bougainville, which is an autonomous region of PNG.

The ban does not apply to work and permanent visa-holders.

There was opposition from Bougainville’s president John Momis who called on PNG to overturn a travel ban on Australians, saying it breached the spirit of the peace agreement giving the island autonomy.

‘Lapse in communication’

The PNG government expressed shock when Australia first announced plans in its budget to open a foreign diplomatic mission in Bougainville.

The government said it learnt about the move via the media, prompting the travel ban.

But Mr Pato said prime minister Peter O’Neill “reaffirmed Papua New Guinea’s position that the government does not approve of the establishment of an Australian diplomatic mission on Bougainville.”

“While the manner in which the proposal was announced was unfortunate, we have discussed the issue with our Australian colleagues,” he said.

“We recognise that there is a serious lapse in communication and we can now move on from this issue.”

However, the Australian Government said the first formal discussion of the proposed foreign mission occurred on May 12.

Foreign minister Julie Bishop said the matter was discussed with PNG officials in December 2014 and again prior to the budget.

According to Mr Pato, Ms Bishop said in a letter to Mr O’Neill, the Australian Government “regrets their miscommunication regarding the proposal for an expanded presence in Bougainville, and for the way the announcement has been reported and portrayed.”

Bougainville is an autonomous part of PNG, but will be holding a referendum in the next five years to consider independence.

The region is currently holding elections for a new president and government that will shape the date and wording of a referendum on independence from PNG.

Rebels fought a decade-long civil war with PNG, sparked by conflict over the then-Australian-owned Panguna mine.

The island was granted autonomy under a 2001 peace agreement and a referendum on independence must be held between July 2015 and July 2020

Bougainville Tourism News : Historic Japanese Yamamoto WWII crash site opened to tourists in Bougainville

new dawn

The World War II crash site of a military plane carrying Japanese admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, who masterminded the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbour, has been opened to visitors in Bougainville for the first time in more than five years.

Yamamoto’s plane was gunned down by allied forces in 1943, sending the Mitsubishi G4M ‘Betty’ crashing down into the thick jungle of Papua New Guinea’s autonomous Bougainville region.

Access to the site at Kokopo village, in the region’s Buin district, had been closed due to a land dispute between rival clans.

But the area recently reopened, with local tourism operators hoping this year — the 70th anniversary of the end of the Pacific War — would result an increase in the number of international visitors.

Visitors stand in front of the Yamamoto crash site in PNG's Bougainville region

Historic WWII crash site opened to tourists in Bougainville for first time in more than five years

“The plane is still sitting there in the jungle. But at the moment, the people there have made gardens close to the site,” Zhon Bosco, owner of Bougainville Experience Tours, told Pacific Beat, adding the area was being cleared.

“We’re having a lot of inquiries, people are already booking with us to see the site. But most of them haven’t confirmed the dates to come in.”

Interest in the war strategist and Japanese navy commander is as strong as ever, particularly among the growing number of Japanese tourist travelling to the Pacific to learn more about their military past.

“For Japanese people, it’s one of the most significant World War II history sites around,” Mr Bosco said.

He said visitors would not be deterred by the long travel time or land disputes surrounding the crash site.

“We have a network with the locals. For Yamamoto crash site, we have connection with them so every time when people want to go there, we tell them there are people coming in, so they prepare themselves,” Mr Bosco said.

“I think people coming here, they will not have any problems with security.”

Yamamoto’s legacy remains

Yamamoto is remembered for his role in the attack on Peal Harbour in the US, which left more 2,400 Americans dead and another 1,000 people injured.

Japanese Admiral Yamamoto Isoroku

“Yamamoto is the most exalted hero in the imperial Japanese navy’s history. And he’s been untainted by Japan’s defeat, and he’s been untainted and any hint of war crimes,” US naval historian Mark Stille said.

“He remains a hero in Japan today.”

Yamamoto was instrumental in planning the attack on Pearl Harbour, which was not a strategic priority of the Japanese navy until he agitated for it.

“Here’s a man who thought he knew the American psyche. He thought that by — putting it simply — sinking a few battleships that he would shock the Americans into a negotiated peace,” Mr Stille said.

“Of course the exact opposite thing happened. Had the Japanese stuck to their strategy, perhaps occupying the Philippines on their way to Malaysia and Singapore, and the areas down south, that they had to have for the oil they needed to break the US embargo.

“Had they done that there would have been a different US reaction.”

Yamamoto was shot down after American code-breakers found out he was planning to visit troops stationed off Bougainville.

For Tour bookings contact Zhon Bosco Miriona

www.bougtours.com Tel International : +675 736 56050 Local PNG 73656050

 

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Bougainville Tourism News : First Japanese tourists to visit reopened WW2 Yamamoto site

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After 10 years of closure, Bougainville’s iconic World War II relic has reopened to tourists.

Story By Ishmael Palipal

The crash site of the Mitsubishi G4M ‘Betty’, which carried the Japanese Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, is located at Kokopo village of Makis Constituency in Buin District.

Admiral Yamamoto was one of the Japanese masterminds of Pearl Harbor attack and was gunned down with his war plane on 18 April, 1943 by US forces, causing his plane to crash south Bougainville.

According to the landowners Chairman Mr Raphael Bakiri, before the crisis the Yamamoto crash site was one of the hottest tourism spots in Buin District.

He stated that the place took in many tourists every day and the villagers now want to revive that.

“The place was very restricted because it is on the border of two clans,” Mr Bakiri said.

“This caused a conflict, but after the recent reconciliation they are very happy to make revenue out of it in an equal basis.”

Chairman Raphael Bakiri standing at the side of the Bougainville Experience Tours hire car with Steven Tamiung of Bougainville Experience Tours.
Chairman Raphael Bakiri standing at the side of the Bougainville Experience Tours hire car with Steven Tamiung of Bougainville Experience Tours.

According to Mr Steven Tamiung of Bougainville Experience Tours (BET), the first Japanese tours will visit the Yamamoto site in the month of April. These are Nichibu Research Group who is already booked with BET to do a four day tour and Yamamoto site is their priority site to visit.

BET also stated that more interested requests for the site are coming in. One confirmed for June and July is Japanese Homestay documentary filming group.

Steven Tamiung stated that according to the villagers, Bougainville Experience Tours is the first and the only tourism consultants that the landowners are engaging to bring tourists to the site.

“The landowners are very happy to engage us to help bring in tourist to visit the site,” Mr Tamiung said.

“They have agreed to the price of K150 per head for international tourists to visit the site.”

For more info check out Bougainville Experience Website

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Bougainville Autonomy Arrangements Joint Review : Download the 116 page report here

Review

 

The attached 116 page review contains a significant level of background material. The Review will be read by people who may not have access to essential information about Bougainville. We hope that this information will contribute to greater understanding of the broader context for the Joint Resolutions

It is now a public document having been tabled in the ABG House in March 2014 and the National Parliament in February 2015.

DOWNLOAD HERE

Joint Review of Autonomy Arrangements (JSB and RC approved Joint Resolutions)

This is a joint review by both governments of Bougainville’s autonomy arrangements as required under the constitutional laws. The review was due in 2010 and was not initiated until 2013.

This report, the Review, is the joint report of both governments. It is informed by six separate reports prepared by independent experts appointed by both governments. Their reports are contained in a supplementary volume. The views expressed in those reports are the views and opinions of those experts and they do not necessarily represent the views of either or both governments.

Both governments have decided to be forward looking and practical in accepting this joint report. Establishing Bougainville’s autonomy is a new journey for all parties to the Bougainville Peace Agreement. It was to be expected that there would be blockages, stumbles and some disagreements. Nonetheless, considerable progress has been made since the signing of the Peace Agreement.

The Review sets us on a joint path to remedy some of the major weaknesses while at the same time preparing for the Referendum which is due in the period May 2015 to May 2020.

The Review contains Joint Resolutions – actions by both governments at the JSB held at Kokopo on 18 October 2013 and refined at the Referendum Committee 26 October 2013. The governments will agree an implementation plan against which we will monitor progress and report to the JSB, and the respective parliaments.

The Review contains a significant level of background material. The Review will be read by people who may not have access to essential information about Bougainville. We hope that this information will contribute to greater understanding of the broader context for the Joint Resolutions.

As required by the constitutional laws the Review will be tabled in both parliaments through the National Executive Council and the Bougainville Executive Council respectively.

Below are the first few pages FYI

The Referendum Committee directed that these Joint Resolution be referred immediately to the respective Cabinets for endorsement and tabling in the respective Parliaments with the Joint Review and the Reports of the Independent experts as provided under Section 337 of the Papua New Guinea Constitution.

Planning for 2015 Autonomy Review

1.1 Joint planning for the next review of the autonomy arrangements will commence in late 2014 with the review to be conducted in the first quarter of 2015.

Review of Bougainville Constitution

2.1 The Bougainville Constitution will be reviewed by the ABG in 2014.

2.2 The recommendations from the constitutional review will be made available to the independent experts who conduct the analysis that contributes to the 2015 joint review by the National Government and ABG of Bougainville’s autonomy arrangements.

Greater awareness of Bougainville’s vision and autonomy

3.1 The ABG needs to articulate in a brief accessible document the kind of society Bougainville desires to be in the long term (not just political independence) and formulate a long term higher level strategic vision and plan for realizing the espoused vision based around the aspirations of the Bougainville Peace Agreement and the people. All other planning and service delivery functions should take their cues and direction from the strategic vision.

3.2 The Bougainville Awareness Framework will be the basis for a comprehensive (region-wide, multimedia and direct face-to-face dialogue) awareness campaign be undertaken to inform the people and leaders of the strategic vision, the meaning of autonomy, how it is being implemented and its benefits, and the context and process for the impending referendum.

3.3 The ABG will take responsibility, with the National Government, for initiating a regular series of briefings with local and key national political and public service leaders to seek to significantly increase their awareness and understanding of Bougainville’s vision and entitlements.

Draw down of functions and powers to be consolidated

4.1 The governments will:

  1. jointly review the current Framework for the Draw Down of Functions and Powers;
  2. jointly take stock of and review the progress of the draw-down of functions and powers by all sectors operating in Bougainville. In 2014 the focus will be on completing and consolidating the transfer of the functions listed in Table 2 of the Joint Review;
  3. provide guidance to ensure that all future requests for the draw down of powers and functions, commencing with environment and health, comply with Sections 3 and 4 of the Organic Law and where applicable Section 43 of the Bougainville Constitution.

4.2 The drawdown of powers and functions process will be coordinated by the Chief Secretary and Chief Administrator respectively to expedite the evolutionary and smooth drawdown of functions and powers through the preparation of legislation for consideration by the Bougainville House of Representatives.

4.3 Greater attention will be given to calculating, negotiating and agreeing the on-going funding arrangements for each function and power to be drawn down by the ABG according to the provisions of the Organic Law.

4.4 The governments will work together to seek additional expert resources (including from development partners) to strengthen the ABG to manage the orderly draw down of powers and functions, and their subsequent implementation, particularly to contribute to analysis and policy development in legal, staffing, planning, financial and organisational aspects.

Social and Economic Development

5.1 Law and order – that priority be given to strengthening law and order (weapons, police and community justice) and resolving key existing conflicts that continue to hinder return to normalcy, peace and development in parts of Bougainville (e.g. Konnou and Siuwai crises).

5.2 Economy – a broad based and integrated economic strategy be designed and implemented that would include:

  1. high impact projects, down-stream processing of coca and copra and small to medium enterprises; and
  2. Support be extended to strengthening economic institutions for growth of private enterprise. A specific initiative in exploration of impact projects needs to be investigated with a view to creating much needed employment.

5.3 Infrastructure investments be coordinated through the Joint Project Management Unit such that all of the Region is connected via transportation and communications links in the shortest possible time.

5.4 Education and Health –ABG continue to expand the delivery of education and health services, especially to inland areas of North, Central and South Bougainville and at the same time orientate education and health service delivery to be in line with the strategic visioning above. Specific attention will be given to:

  1. Lost generation – that Education Division (in collaboration with relevant divisions such as Community Development, Veterans Affairs, development partners and NGOs) design and implement a specific education program targeting the lost generation.
  2. Certification and Accreditation of artisans – that ABG through a relevant division, design and implement a Trade Testing, Certification and Accreditation program for skilled village artisans in anticipation for the vocational employment when mining and other economic opportunities commence.
  3. Opportunities for the provision of vocational and technical education must be explored as a matter of urgency with reforms to entry requirements into vocational and technical schools to be started.

5.5 Strategy for Less Developed Areas – all three regions in Bougainville have pockets of isolated communities facing severe under-development. Examples include Visai in the Buin district, Rataiku in Siuwai district; Marau in Bana; Torokina; Kunua; Rotokas; and West Coast of Buka. The ABG will formulate a strategy for progressively linking and opening up these areas to social and economic development.

5.6 The governments will contribute to the immediate expansion of the reach of radio throughout the Region by ensuring current projects are implemented expeditiously.

Grants

4.5 The governments agree to discuss and negotiate a solution to the payment of outstanding Restoration and Development Grant calculated according to law and to ensure that it is then properly calculated, appropriated and paid annually to the ABG in a timely manner.

4.6 The ABG will prepare detailed budget submissions for each new function and power delegated or transferred to the ABG detailing staffing and goods and services budgetary requirements for the first and subsequent three years of implementation in Bougainville of that function or power. These submissions will be endorsed by the BEC, and where required by the Bougainville Constitution, the House of Representatives.

Audit Functions in Bougainville

7.1 The ABG will establish an internal audit function within the Administration before 1 January 2015 to be funded under the Recurrent Grant arrangements.

7.2 The PNG Auditor General will establish an office in Buka before 31 March 2014 with ABG assistance for housing and office space.

ABG Budget

8.1 The ABG will, with National Government assistance, seek to develop and implement a four-year rolling program budget for development and recurrent expenditure with the intention of giving greater certainty to the planning, budgeting and financing of all government plans and service delivery activities. This will be closely linked to the estimates prepared under Joint Resolution 4.3 (Budgets for powers and functions to be drawn down.)

8.2 The ABG will seek to capture in PGAS greater detail on the geographical spend for all development activities.

8.3 The ABG will seek partner support to undertake detailed annual expenditure analysis to contribute to the development of future budgets and assist in the prioritisation of expenditure for service delivery and enhancing autonomy.

8.4 The ABG will work with all development partners to seek to have their contributions recorded in the ABG annual budget.

Medium term economic and fiscal analysis

9.1 The ABG will commission expert assistance to undertake economic and financial analysis on the cost of various options to implement the BEC’s vision for Bougainville taking into account various development scenarios over the next five to ten years.

Financial Reporting and Capacity Improvements

10.1 The ABG will significantly improve the level of reporting on financial matters and projects to the BEC, indivicual ministers, the Bougainville House of Representatives, the National Government, development partners and the community.

10.2 The ABG will develop and then implement a comprehensive capacity development strategy to build the competencies and capabilities of the new ABG Finance and Treasury Department from January 2014.

Taxation

11.1 The ABG will host a Taxation and Revenue Summit in early 2014 to educate the political leadership and the public service of both governments about the tax and revenue arrangements and issues available to Bougainville under the existing Organic Law. Its objective will be (a) to achieve a consensus on a broad strategy, and priorities, to secure improved efficiency and effectiveness in administering the taxation and other revenue entitlements and (b) to contribute to future revenue policy development being properly informed particularly when it seeks to improve the ABG’s ability to achieve the fiscal objectives of the Peace Agreement.

11.2 Based upon the outcome of the Revenue Summit ABG will review its Office of the Chief Bougainville Collector of Taxes to assess future staffing and capacity needs.

11.3 The ABG will activate arrangements to establish the audit function provided in the Organic Law to monitor the collection of revenues by the IRC.

11.4 The IRC will be provided with additional resources in Port Moresby, the regional office and in Buka to undertake its role including an increased awareness program across the region.

Public Administration

12.1 An immediate joint review be carried out on NCOBA to determine its continued relevance and its future roles and responsibilities. The ABG and the National Government should give serious consideration setting up the ABG to manage coordination with the National Government on its own with current NCOBA resources shared between an ABG representative office and the ministry.

12.2 The ABG with the assistance of the National Government will take immediate steps to put in place a weapons disposal plan and set a concrete time to implement weapons disposal prior to 2015. It then should move quickly to implement this plan.

12.3 The ABG take immediate steps to put in place a peace and reconciliation plan and that this plan be immediately implemented before 2015.

12.4 The new structure and operations of the Bougainville Public Service will strengthen and enhance reporting and accountability arrangements including enhancing the roles of ministers and the BEC in setting policy and monitoring the performance of the Administration.

12.5 The ABG will develop and implement a capacity building programme, based around the White Paper on Councils of Elders to resuscitate the capacity of Councils of Elders and Village Assemblies to ensure that they are operational and remain sustainable as the second tier of government in Bougainville.

Good governance

13.1 The governments note the expert’s view that when all the reports are read together and a number of indicators are looked at it is doubtful if it could be said that the ABG was achieving the required standard of good governance in public administration as at mid-2013.

13.2 The governments agree that for future joint reviews greater clarity is needed on the set of indicators (having reference to the constitutional definition) against which good governance is to be assessed taking into account the available sources of quality data.

13.3 In early 2014, with Department of Provincial and Local Government Affairs’ assistance, the ABG will complete a joint organisational assessment using an agreed set of Key Result Areas and indicators based upon the Provincial Performance Improvement Initiative, to be repeated in early 2015 to feed into the 2015 joint review of the autonomy arrangements. ABG and Department of Provincial and Local Government Affairs will seek to involve a representative from East New Britain Province (and/or Milne Bay Province) in the assessments given those provinces’ above average performance in service delivery.

13.4 The ABG will complete its 2014-2016 Corporate Plan by 31 March 2014.

Capacity Development

14.1 The governments agree that they will apply significant resources, with the support of development partners, to implement the BEC approved Capacity Development Strategy for the Autonomous Bougainville Government (November 2012).

House of Representatives and Principal Legal Officer

15.1 The governments will engage, when appropriate, in collaborative efforts to consider the issues of construction of a permanent Parliament building for the House. [This is dependent upon the ABG and its people determining the location of the seat of government.]

15.2 The ABG will undertake a review to assess the required level of resources for the House for the next five years, including recruitment of its necessary administrative support staff, build office capacity and fund resources necessary.

15.3 The ABG will expand programs for induction (after 2015 elections) and ongoing training of Members of the House of Representatives so they understand their roles and the parliamentary procedures and processes. [This should be alongside the AusAID funded mentoring of the House by the NSW Parliament.]

15.4 The ABG will immediately recruit the Bougainville Principal Legal Officer, the principal adviser to the BEC, through an open and transparent process and support the office with lawyers, support staff and resources.

Law and Justice

16.1 Recognising that improving law and order is the people’s highest priority, the governments agree that there is a need to develop and implement, as soon as possible, a clear implementation plan for the transfer of police and correction services functions and powers to the ABG based upon the specific constitutional provisions

16.2 As part of and under the recently launched police modernisation program, GoPNG will give special attention to infrastructure capacity development, funding of resources and police manpower in Bougainville to bring police service to at least pre-crisis level.

16.3 The Police Service, Correctional Service, the Courts and the other law and justice constitutional offices are an integral part of law enforcement, maintaining peace and order and for public security. Both governments will give attention to building the capacity of all aspects of the law and justice system in order to prepare the ABG to be able to enact its own laws to transfer of related powers and functions when appropriate and affordable.

16.4 Given the importance of establishing and maintaining law and order in Bougainville both governments will support the police and correctional services special working groups to analyse and develop appropriate short and medium term funding proposals for the police and correctional services in Bougainville based upon an optimal configuration of staff and facilities.

Mining

17.1 The governments will review the 15-step strategy and seek to implement it in full consultation with each other.

17.2 The governments will as a matter of urgency meet in the Joint Consultative Coordinating Committee on Panguna Negotiations and agree the budget and potential sources of support for a comprehensive program of consultation, analysis and information-sharing so that the ABG, the landowners and the National Government are fully prepared to advocate and negotiate among each other and with BCL the new terms and conditions for mining and exploration leases associated with Panguna Mine.

17.3 Both governments will continue to support building staff capacity of the ABG Mining Department and other departments in order for them to be fully prepared to administer, implement and monitor mining (including issuing, managing and monitoring of mining tenements) and other legislation associated with the possible re-opening Panguna Mine, other mining operations (if any).

17.4 The ABG will continue to consult the National Government through the Department of Mining Policy and the Mineral Resources Authority on the ABG’s proposed transitional law in accordance with the Alotau Agreement, prior to the House enacting the law. The ABG to continue wider consultation of all stakeholders in the ARB in formulating its mining legislation and the Panguna negotiations.

The Referendum

18.1 The governments will meet quarterly in the Referendum Committee, and then at the Joint Supervisory Board, to monitor and discuss the preparations for the Referendum.

18.2 The governments agree that the Referendum will be conducted by an independent agency established for that purpose under Section 58 of the Organic Law on Peace -Building in Bougainville-Autonomous Bougainville Government and Bougainville Referendum 2002.

18.3 The governments agree that by 31 March 2014 the work plan for establishing the arrangements to conduct the Referendum will be completed including specifics on the roles, responsibilities and resources needed for:

  1. the administrative arrangements including establishing the independent agency to conduct a free and fair Referendum in Bougainville;
  2. engaging with international partners to obtain support for the independent agency and the conduct of the Referendum;c. seeking secure sources of funding for the agency to conduct a free and fair Referendum;d. maintaining and supporting regular fora for officials (Referendum Committee) and political leaders;

    e. establishing a Bipartisan Parliamentary Committee of the National Parliament on Bougainville Affairs and a similar committee of the Bougainville House of Representatives so as to provide oversight, direction and monitoring of progress towards the Referendum;

    f. establishing a process of consultation with Bougainvilleans, and others, determine the link or links a person has to have to Bougainville, including those of non-residents, to vote in the Referendum [See Peace Agreement Article 315 and Organic Law Section 55];

    g. reviewing the legal and administrative Rules for the Conduct of the Referendum as contained in the First Schedule to the Organic Law taking into account issues and experiences arising from two Bougainville elections and any other relevant matter.

    h. establishing a process of consultation with Bougainvilleans and others, to seek agreement on the options to be voted on in the Referendum, including independence [PNG Constitution Section 338];

    i. developing and implementing a generalised awareness campaign within Bougainville on the process and arrangements for Referendum. [Awareness on the Referendum itself will be conducted impartially by the independent agency established to conduct the Referendum.]; and

    j. complying with the Bougainville Constitution’s general and specific provisions for consultation within the Region including with traditional leaders and others.

    Feedback to the People

    19.1 The government will support the independent experts to meet with the people of Bougainville through a series of public consultations to close the consultation loop through feedback and deliver the Joint Review to the communities. These sessions will include representatives of both governments.

    .

Bougainville Tourism News: Over 50 American tourists visit Pororan Island

 

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By Aloysius Laukai

More than 50 American Tourists visited PORORAN island in North Bougainville aboard the Tourist vessel OCEANIC DISCOVERER (7  March) .

This was the first time for a Tourist boat to visit the island which is on the North West Coast of Buka island and surrounded by other smaller islands.

Oceanic Discoveror

Since the end of the conflict Tourist boats have  been visiting Bougainville since 2009 and the number of vessels have increased.

The Oceanic Discoverer  berthed just off the main Pororan island and tourists had to get on a smaller ferry to take them about five minutes boat ride to the island where the whole village including those from nearby YAPARU and YITOU villages were waiting with displays of both sea shells, artifacts and dancing and singing.

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Tour Organizer LAWRENCE BELLEH was very happy that his people had done well to welcome the visitors and this included ground preparation to prepare the village for the visitors.BELLEH said that he was satisfied that the people of Pororan had created history by getting a tourist boat to their island and that the team leader on the vessel had promised that PORORAN would be included ss one of their destinations in the future.

According to the visitors who were Americans this was their first time in the South Pacific and that they really enjoyed coming to Bougainville.

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The Oceanic Explorer  arrived at Pororan island just after 11 am yesterday and left Pororan after 9pm last night which is also one of the longest visits by a Tourist boat to Bougainville so far.

Other Boats that have visited Bougainville are Clipper Odyssey and the Orion.

A TV Crew from the PNG TV Station EMTV flew in from Port Moresby to cover the visit for their weekly TOK PIKSA program.

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Bougainville Development : New K8.25 Million roadwork’s Buka to Arawa -the economic and social lifeblood of this island

Arawa Roads

Transport infrastructure is fundamental to the ongoing social and economic development of Bougainville and we are delighted to be able to fund these works and partner with ABG to improve the safety and reliability of the road network

Australian High Commissioner, Ms Deborah Stokes said she was proud to be able to support this project.

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Work has now begun on six kilometres of resealing works to support the essential road link between Arawa and the capital Buka. The project is funded by the Government of Australia.

This project falls under the Papua New Guinea – Australia Transport Sector Support Program and is part of Australia’s long term commitment to transport infrastructure in Papua New Guinea. Maintaining sections of the network such as this stretch is a vital part of keeping the road reliable, in good condition and reducing the lifetime cost of the road.

ABG’s Chief Secretary, Monovi Amani, was quick to highlight the impact that a well maintained road network has on the people of Bougainville. “The road between Kokopau and Arawa is the economic and social lifeblood of this island. Maintaining a reliable and safe road means a better chance for businesses and for our citizens to access crucial services.”

The K8.25m project will ensure that small businesses like the Rising Sun guest house in Arawa will be able to reduce operational costs with a well maintained road. “My business relies on the road to bring guests and goods to town. The condition of the road has a direct impact on my running costs; regular new tyres and vehicle maintenance can be very costly.” said owner Betha Lorenz.

The works contract has been awarded to local company Dekenai who have considerable experience working in this part of Bougainville and provide major employment opportunities for local workers. Resealing is expected to be completed by April of this year.

The resealing will start at the entrance to Panguna at Morgan Junction, providing two sealed PMV laybys next to the market area, and finish at the Tunuru turnoff. Australian High Commissioner, HE Ms Deborah Stokes was proud to be able to support this project. “Transport infrastructure is fundamental to the ongoing social and economic development of Bougainville and we are delighted to be able to fund these works and partner with ABG to improve the safety and reliability of the road network

Tourism News: Bougainville and PNG continues to attract International cruise ships boosting tourism, economic and cultural opportunities

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Bougainville continues to attract International cruise ships boosting tourism, economic and cultural opportunities throughout island according to Bougainville tourism operator Zhon Bosco Miriona .

“One of the potential benefits of cruising is that it brings visitors to remote areas that cannot otherwise to reached, providing a boost to village economies through the provision of shore excursions, cultural experiences and handicrafts”

As the PNGTIA points out cruising allows a new source of economic income and development which can provide associated benefits in areas such as health, employment and education,”

Zhon Bosco Miriona Managing Director (pictured below left recently promoting to international market): Bougainville Experience Tours and regional member for the PNG Tourism Industry Association , manages cruise ship tours from Kieta and Arawa

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Picture at top: Passengers of a cruise ship arriving at the Kuri Resort :130 visited with 24 of them going diving.

 

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UPDATE from Lawrence Belleh ABG Tourism CEO : In March 2015 a cruise ship will visit the Queen Karoola Harbour  Bougainville .This is the first trip to the old Kesa Plantation that is being considered to be turned into a tourism hub on the Northern tip of Buka Island. The hub would benefit  Haku, Halia, Hagogohe, Peit and Tons constituencies and their people. There will be also a  visit to Pororan Island to experience the sand, beach, cultural displays (photo above)  and the opportunity buy Bougainville souvenirs.

 Media coverage

Shipping companies are taking an increasing interest in PNG, with passenger arrivals surging and even big ships now heading to PNG’s and Bougainville shores, Brian Johnston reports.

A P&O cruise liner arrives in Milne Bay. Credit: David Conn

The cruise news looks good. According to a report by the Pacific Islands Forum in mid-2013, the cruise industry has grown 125 per cent since 2005 and 143 new ships have been launched.

Particularly strong growth has been recorded in the Asian and Australian markets; a record 834,000 Australians took a cruise holiday in 2013. That puts Papua New Guinea in a geographically advantageous position.

What’s more, there’s plenty of room for expansion: currently only one in a hundred international cruisers (about 200,000 passengers) visit any Pacific island. In PNG, only five per cent of holiday arrivals are cruise passengers.

‘Cruise tourism in Papua New Guinea is facing a bright future with increased international interest in cruising and increasing willingness from cruise shipping companies to include Papua New Guinea on Pacific itineraries,’ concluded a recent report from the PNG Tourism Promotion Authority (TPA).

 

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The World ( pictured above) arriving last June at Pokpok Island ( pictured above from Simon Pentanu ) , Central Bougainville.

Significant markets

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PNG 9000xThe US, New Zealand, Japan and the UK are significant markets, but half of all cruise visitors to PNG are Australians. That sector is also significant because many cruises are one way, with Australian visitors often extending with land-based holidays.

The PNG Government is taking notice. In 2010 it launched its first comprehensive cruise strategy which looked to improving port facilities and opportunities for shore excursions, waiving visa fees for cruise passengers, and reducing pilot fees by half. With expedition cruising already established, the aim was to entice luxury mid-size ships and even big operators.

‘Cruise tourism in Papua New Guinea is facing a bright future with increased international interest.’

In October 2014, the TPA launched a trade website to educate and inform travel agents. It has also emphasised PNG as a cruise destination in international trade shows and tourism events in Europe, the US and Australia.

While new jetties have been built in Kitava and Kaibola, among others, Milne Bay became the focus of efforts, since Alotau already had a good port and is well positioned on potential cruise routes from Australia. Wharfs were extended and new public facilities added.

In 2013, the arrival of P&O Cruises’ 2050-passenger Pacific Dawn in Milne Bay showed the strategy delivering results.

Pacific Dawn’s entry into the region allowed a new wave of low-cost travellers to see the beauty and thriving culture of PNG at a much lower price point than travel to PNG previously allowed,’ says Stuart Thompson, TPA’s Australia and New Zealand representative.

‘It’s a game changer. Mass cruising provides greater consumer awareness, growth in demand and increased repeat visitation. As we’ve witnessed with Vanuatu, cruising has the potential to attract a percentage of past passengers back to the destination for an extended holiday.’

Growing presence

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Currently P&O Cruises visits five PNG ports and will add Kavieng and Madang early this year. It has already announced a significant increase in its cruise presence, with its 2015-16 program including its first back-to-back PNG cruises from Cairns, and its first dedicated PNG cruises from Brisbane and Sydney.

‘The addition of two more ships has given us the flexibility to increase our PNG itineraries and open up new destinations. P&O’s return to PNG was possible because of the strong support of the national government and local authorities, particularly in relation to the provision of infrastructure to accommodate cruise ship visits,’ explains P&O Cruises’ CEO Ann Sherry.

In 2014, Pacific Dawn wasn’t alone in visiting PNG waters. Other visits were made by Japan’s NYK Cruises, Holland-America Line’s Amsterdam, the British ships Black Watch and Caledonian Sky, French Polynesia-based Paul Gauguin, ultra-luxe residential cruise ship The World and three ships from both Hapag-Lloyd and Silversea. Princess Cruises now features PNG across 14 different cruises; it has also added PNG to its 2016 world cruise.

‘Mass cruising provides greater consumer awareness, growth in demand and increased repeat visitation.’

Small-size expedition ships continue to have a strong presence, among them Coral Princess Cruises’ Oceanic Discoverer and North Star Cruises’ True North, which carries a helicopter and Zodiac landing boats for access to remote areas. One of its three itineraries focuses on diving the remote Louisiade Archipelago. Aurora Expeditions has a 12-night cruise from Cairns that includes the Trobriand Islands and Tufi fjords.

Cruising benefits

One of the potential benefits of cruising is that it brings visitors to remote areas that cannot otherwise to reached, providing a boost to village economies through the provision of shore excursions, cultural experiences and handicrafts.

The TPA says 90 per cent of revenue from coastal tourism operators comes from cruising in some destinations. “Cruising allows a new source of economic income and development which can provide associated benefits in areas such as health, employment and education,” says Stuart Thompson.

With the big surge in PNG cruising barely two years old, that remains to be seen, but certainly these are exciting times for cruise tourism in PNG and Bougainville. Watch this space.

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