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Bougainville autonomy - Implications for Governance and Decentralisation

CollectionsANU Dept. of Pacific Affairs (DPA) formerly State, Society and Governance in Melanesia (SSGM) Program
Title: Bougainville autonomy - Implications for Governance and Decentralisation
Author(s): Wolfers, Edward P.
Date published: 2006
Publisher: Canberra, ACT: Coral Bell School of Asia Pacific Affairs, College of Asia and the Pacific, The Australian National University
Series/Report no.: State, Society and Governance in Melanesia (SSGM) discussion paper series: 2006/5
The founding and guiding principles for the establishment, operation and development of the Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG) are contained in the Bougainville Peace Agreement. Insofar as they are concerned with political/constitutional/institutional reform, they represent an attempt to transform and channel previous, violent conflicts into political processes and institutions (Bachler n.d.; cf. Widner 2005 and Ghai 2004). They are, therefore, concerned with governance – the process by which society collectively attempts to solve problems, maintain public order and meet other shared needs – and not just government – one of the main instruments used for such purposes (Osborne and Gaebler 1993:24; cf. Wolfers 2006a:4). This is made clear by the way in which the arrangements for Bougainville autonomy are embodied together as but one of three pillars in a much broader Agreement, concerned with autonomy, a guaranteed referendum on Bougainville’s political future, and weapons disposal. In fact, the three pillars themselves are only part of an Agreement which also provides an amnesty for persons convicted and immunity from prosecution for offences committed during the Bougainville conflict, and a commitment by former combatant groups to disband and work through a unified set of administrative and political structures – the ABG. The broader concern with governance expressed in the attention the Agreement gives to weapons disposal, amnesty and reconciliation is given additional, clear expression in the provisions dealing with the referendum, which state that the timing of the referendum in the 5- year window allowed, 10-15 years after the establishment of the ABG – that is, between 2015 and 2020 – will be determined by reference to weapons disposal and good governance (in the case of the latter, defined with regard to internationally accepted standards as they are applicable and implemented in the circumstances of Bougainville and the rest of Papua New Guinea).
ISSN: 1328-7854


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