Mr Trivedy called for urgency in implementing the rest of the provisions of the Peace Agreement especially the referendum on the future of Bougainville.
Mr. Trivedy said “The target date for referendum is now set for 15 June 2019. It is now the responsibility of all parties to ensure that all of the necessary preparatory work is completed expeditiously so that the referendum is organized efficiently to deliver a free, fair and transparent outcome. It is important for this work to commence as soon as possible. With National Elections in Papua New Guinea scheduled in 2017 and the APEC Summit planned for 2018, it is also vital for key decisions including on the Referendum body to be taken by the National Government and the ABG in a timely manner.”
In order to bolster the wider awareness on the peace agreement and the coming referendum, the UN chief handed over to the ABG a Mobile cinema/outreach vehicle, a community information centre on the referendum and 10,000 copies of the Peace Agreement. He added that these facilities “will not only increase awareness and dialogue on the peace process and the referendum, but will also help in increasing community discussions around the Sustainable Development Goals.”
The head of UN in Papua New Guinea concluded “The people of Bougainville can be assured that the United Nations will continue to cooperate and collaborate with both the National Government, the ABG and other development partners to assist in keeping the peace process on track…”
President of the Autonomous Bougainville Government, Chief Dr John Momis commended the UN for its support of the peace process in Bougainville. The President also separately launched the National Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) Bougainville Shortwave band and the autonomous government’s website.
Chief Dr. Momis said that 19 years ago the fighting ended after negotiations facilitated by the international community: “It is now 15 years since we signed the peace agreement, and I think you the people of Bougainville deserve the greatest deal of credit because it is your commitment that has made us go for 15 years with no significant occurrence of violence.”
President Momis also called for “strong resolve and unity” among Bougainville’s people to ensure lasting peace, development and social justice.
Ruby Mirinka, herself a signatory to the BPA and now an advocate for women’s rights spoke passionately about the need for the peace process to benefit women and children in particular. She called for economic transformation and self-reliance “so that in the coming years, we don’t just celebrate, we celebrate successes, our achievements and progress.”
UNDP’s support to the Government of Papua New Guinea and Autonomous Bougainville Government is made possible through the UN Peace Building Fund and is aimed at helping the two governments consolidate peace, enhance community cohesion, good governance and build capacity of various government departments.
For more information and media interviews, contact:
In, Buka, AROB: Lawrence Bassie, Peace Building Fund Programme Coordinator. Email: Lawrence.firstname.lastname@example.org or Julie Bukikum, Head of Governance. Email: Julie.email@example.com