Second autonomy review underway

The second joint review of Bougainville’s autonomy arrangements has begun, providing the two governments with an independent report ahead of Bougainville’s independence referendum.

ABG Chief Secretary, Joseph Nobetau, said the review was the second since the formation of the Autonomous Bougainville Government, and would look at autonomy implementation from both sides of the government.

“The Review Team have provided their work plans to myself and National Government Chief Secretary Isaac Lupari, and will soon travel to Bougainville to undertake consultations,” Nobetau said.

“We look forward to a review with practical outcomes that set out the way forward for autonomy and the referendum.

“Implementing autonomy is a joint responsibility, not just for Bougainville. Therefore the Review Team will verify our joint progress, as well as make recommendations to overcome obstacles that stand in the way of Bougainville fulfilling its high level of autonomy and conducting the referendum.”

The review is supported by the United Nations at the request of both governments, with leaders at the Joint Supervisory Body endorsing a team of independent experts to conduct the review.

The Team, led by former provincial parliamentarian from Canada, Kevin Deveaux, will meet with a wide range of people from national and Bougainville Ministers and MPs, government officials across a range of sectors, civil society, ex-combatants, youth and women’s groups.

They will look at four areas of autonomous authority handed to the ABG: financial arrangements; delivery of public service, technical and legal aspects; and good governance.

“Establishing Bougainville’s autonomy has been a new journey for both governments. It was to be expected that there would be blockages, stumbles and some disagreements,” Nobetau said.

“Nonetheless after just 13 years since the formation of the first Bougainville government, considerable progress has been made, with many challenges yet to be addressed.”

The autonomy review requirements are set out in the Bougainville Peace Agreement and the Constitution of PNG and Bougainville.

The Review Team will travel to Bougainville in the last two weeks of August and are scheduled to complete their report by the last quarter of 2018 for Joint Supervisory Body deliberation.

(Bougainville filepic)

Press release