Under the Joint Inter-Government Consultations, post referendum consultation included the Tabling of (the) Kokopo Joint Statement and the Tabling of (the) Wabag Joint Statement. The JSB acknowledged and endorsed both joint statements.
First on the agreement under JSB matters, was the implementing of the Sharp Agreement. This included Fisheries where the JSB
- Acknowledged the work in progress on the transfer of fisheries powers.
- Noted the need for finalising the ABG Fisheries Trust to effect release of annual K5million grant to the ABG
- On the Benefit Sharing Arrangement, the JSB endorsed that;
- Any discussion on formula or figures in the Benefit Sharing Agreement work be suspended to allow the work by Marine Resources Assessment Group (MRAG) to progress.
- The deadline of the remaining four months to be strictly observed and a clear outcome be reported after this timeframe. In the event that the formulae is not completed by the end of August 2021, ABG propose that the current interim amount of K5 million annually be increased to K150 million.
- Delimitation of Bougainville internal waters is in progress and is being conducted by Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC). A report will be submitted to both government when the work is completed.
The JSB also noted the updated in the implementation of the Bougainville Peace Agreement (BPA) 9 (b) on Taxation arrangements and directed technical officials to progress work on the matter to seek further clarity on the amount of funds remaining held in the IRC Trust Account and remit funds to the ABG.
It has also noted and acknowledged the update on the implementation of the one-line budget and re-direct the Arawa established Technical Working Group (Resolution #5) to convene and explore ways forward for implementation.
The JSB also notes model used in shaping Bougainville and recommends other National and ABG Departments adopt similar framework in implementing the Sharp Agreement.
The third outcome is of the progressive update of 5th Februrary, JSB Resolutions, which covered the Economic Summit, BCL Shares and Foreign Missions.
It is work in progress for the Bougainville and Investment Summit, by the National Commerce and Industry and ABG department of Economic Development, to sort out misunderstandings on the establishment of two separate Trust Account, and prepare for the summit as per realigned dates in mid-November.
The JSB notes the update on transfer of BCL Shares where Department of Treasury will provide to the NEC a submission seeking rescinding previous decision that the shares be paid to Panguna Landowners, but rather be paid to the ABG.
Finally, the JSB noted that the continued debt of K5 million incurred from the 2012 and 2017 National General Elections, which has the potential to disturb the Local Level Government elections by aggrieved service providers, of which the ABG has been subjected to threats relating to this outstanding.
The JSB directed the OBEC to provide details of the outstanding K5 million to the PNG Electoral Commission and NCOBA, to coordinate full payment of the amount.
JSB has noted the need to establish a Post Referendum Secretariat, and it has endorsed the next JSB to be held in Buin, South Bougainville this October.
Under the Joint Statement, the PNG Government and the ABG see to the following:
- Acknowledge the requirements of s. 342 of the National Constitution for both the National Government and the Autonomous Bougainville Government to consult on the results of the Referendum;
- Acknowledge that the first consultation was held on 18th and 19th May, 2021 at Kokopo East New Britain Province, and that the Referendum results of 97.7% choice for separate independence was tabled at this consultation;
- Acknowledge that the Bougainville Independence Consultation team tabled in the Kokopo Consultation, the Year ‘2025’ as the year for the Declaration of Bougainville’s Independence.
- Acknowledge that the Kokopo Consultations agreed to consult on a joint roadmap in the second consultation;
- Acknowledge that the second consultation was held in Wabag on 6th July, 2021;
- Consulted on the joint roadmap that will guide the post referendum process;
- Acknowledge that the process needs to be agreed upon to decide that final political settlement.
Both governments have agreed to five important actions following this second JSB, including taking immediate actions, which are focused on the full implementation of the Bougainville Peace Agreement, with focus on completing outstanding tasks and determine a political settlement no earlier than 2025 and no later than 2027.
Photo credit: Prime Minister’s Media Unit