Wednesday, May 27, 2015

O'Neill: Human resource capacity building is a priority for the nation

Prime Minister Peter O'Neill  said strengthening human resources in Papua New Guinea is one of the most important challenges faced today and everyone in the country needs to play a part.
He made the comments yesterday while awards to leading Papua New Guinean organisations that have made an outstanding contribution to developing the human resource capacity of the nation. 
The awards were presented on the opening day of the 2015 Papua New Guinea Human Resource Institute (PNGHRI) National Congress in Port Moresby.
 "Our nation in a period of true transition and it is absolutely vital we get this transition right,"  O'Neill said.
"As a community, and as a country, we need everyone to do his or her part in making sure that we develop our country to have a better standard of living.
"Our Government is focusing on ensuring the transition we are going through today is going to deliver real benefits to Papua New Guineans, especially for our children into the future.
"This human resources conference is very important in ensuring our country takes a strategic approach in strengthening the human resources capacity.
"I am looking forward to receiving the outcomes of your deliberations."
The Prime Minister said education was central to fully develop human resources in Papua New Guinea.
"One thing I want our people to remember is that this government is all about educating people in our country through investment in students, teachers and infrastructure.
"As an example, with new infrastructure we are able to increase the intake at the University of Papua New Guinea.  This is due in part to the increase in student accommodation when we hand over the Games Village to the university.
"The Government will continue to invest in the learning facilities in our country, and we are naming these institutions in the budget so that money goes direct to these schools.
"The funding of education, like many core government services, can be delivered at a local level where needs can be properly assessed and funds delivered direct.
"Our Government is ensuing that for the first time there is a transition of funds that are going directly to the districts and to the local communities.
"We are funding Local Level Government authorities this year with K100,000 and next year this will again increase to K500,000.
"This is for every LLG in the country, and we are funding every district through funding that has never been there before.
"I urge people to go to the remote areas and see that this funding is being fully used."

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

PM O’Neill bilateral meeting summary from Japan

Prime Minister Peter O'Neill  held a series of bilateral meetings with regional Leaders as part of the 7th Pacific Islands Leaders Meeting (PALM 7) in Iwaki City, Fukushima, Japan.
Major multilateral conferences provide opportunities to speak informally with Leaders from our partner countries, while also taking enabling formal bilateral meetings with as many Leaders as time permits.
The Prime Minister held formal bilateral meetings in Iwaki City with the Leaders of the delegations from Samoa, Vanuatu, the Solomon Islands and Australia, that provided an opportunity to discuss matters of joint significance.


O'Neill met with the Prime Minister of Samoa, Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi, and advised his long-serving counterpart of Papua New Guinea's desire to present him with the nation's highest award.
"I informed Prime Minister Malielegaoi that the Government of Papua New Guinea would like to bestow upon him a Logohu Award," Prime Minister O'Neill said.
"As the senior statesman of the Pacific island countries, Prime Minister Malielegaoi has been instrumental in advancing regional development and cooperation, and facilitating warm relations between countries.
"We look forward to the Logohu Award being presented to Prime Minister Malielegaoi when he visits Port Moresby in September for the Pacific Islands Forum Leaders' Meeting."
The Prime Ministers further discussed Papua New Guinea investments in Samoa and plans for the Bank of South Pacific to expand its operations to Samoa.


In the meeting between O'Neill and the Prime Minister of Vanuatu, Joseph Natuman, the leaders discussed disaster relief following Cyclone Pam in April this year.
"It was important to have Prime Minister Natuman's personal perspective of ongoing efforts to recover from the damage caused by Cyclone Pam,"  O'Neill said.
"The disaster support provided by Papua New Guinea has been well received and is being used to help people in Vanuatu to rebuild their lives."
The Prime Ministers further discussed the possibility of expanding air links through an air services agreement that would further facilitate trade and investment between the two countries.
Prime Minister Natuman also advised that Vanuatu university students would be coming to study in Papua New Guinea from the first semester for 2016 as part of the Memorandum of Understanding that was recently signed between the two countries.

Solomon Islands

O'Neill reaffirmed Papua New Guinea's commitment to the Solomon Islands in his meeting with Deputy Prime Minister, Douglas Ete, highlighting the ongoing development support arrangement that is in place.
"The Solomon Islands is a very important friend of Papua New Guinea and we are providing development support to improve lives," the Prime Minister said.
"We have in place a 100 million Kina development corporation assistance program that we are delivering over five years.
"This was formalised in 2012 and we will present the next tranche of this support when we attend the MSG meeting in Honiara in June."
The leaders also discussed the Melanesian submarine telecommunications cable and the advantages this will bring to the broader region.


The final formal bilateral meeting for the Prime Minister was with the Australia's Foreign Minister, Julie Bishop, which covered a number of issues of concern including the proposal for a consular office in Buka, the Manus Regional Processing Centre and visa issues. 
Also attended by the Papua New Guinea's Foreign Minister, Rimbink Pato, the meeting provided an opportunity to reach common ground on some outstanding issues.
"We accept that there was a misunderstanding and communications processes were not followed in relation to the foreign consulate proposal. 
"I will leave it to Australia to make a formal announcement on their views and we look forward to moving on.
"With the Manus centre we are seeing the number of asylum seekers reduce as many return to their home countries. 
"Those who are approved and deemed to be legitimate refugees, and want to make a contribution and apply their skills in our community, will have the opportunity to stay."
The Prime Minister has called for progress to be made in coming to a shared position on facilitating easier visa access for Papua New Guineans seeking to visit Australia.
"This visa issues as been complicated for several reasons, but we now need to move to a resolution whereby travel for Papua New Guineans and Australians between our countries is simplified."
This issues is anticipated to be raised at an upcoming ministerial level meeting between Papua Guinea and Australia in Port Moresby in June.
The Prime Minister earlier held bilateral meetings with the President of Palau, Thomas Remengesu Jr, and Japan's Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, earlier in Tokyo.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Low cost weekend packages to the Madang Festival

From Sir Peter Barter (someone who has faithfully promoted Beautiful Madang amidst the deafening howls of the Mad Dogs)

MTS owners of the Madang resort and Kalibobo Village are offering special packages to see the Madang Festival over the Queens Birthday Weekend to coincide with the  spectacular Madang Festival.
The packages offered start at just K699 per person from Port Moresby and K499 from Lae and Wewak, they include return airfares on Travel Air, three nights accommodation in budget rooms at the beautiful Madang Resort, buffet breakfasts, transfers, airport transfers and tickets to see the Madang Festival which promises to be one of the largest festivals in PNG with more than 40 sing sing groups, 20 bamboo bands, sporting events, canoe races and novelty events.
MTS executive Alex Paira said that the packages are made possible in conjunction with the cooperation of the Madang Resort and Travel Air which are expected to attract many residents in PNG to visit beautiful Madang and an affordable rate.  Mr Paira said that there is only limited space. Those interested in bookings should not hesitate and book immediately and take advantage of the special rates.   Apart from witnessing the Madang Festival, the Madang Resort is offering free use of Kayaks, sailing catamarans, tennis and sightseeing tours are available upon request.
Travel Air Depart Port Moresby on Friday afternoon and return to Port Moresby and Wewak on Monday.  There are special conditions which are available upon request and bookings can be made on line or email Tel 4241300 indicating Madang Festival Package.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Importance of tsunami awareness highlighted at PALM 7

Prime Minister Peter O'Neill  has joined fellow Pacific Leaders in commemorating the tragic loss of life that occurred following the Japan's East Coast Tsunami in 2011.
The commemoration was led by Japan's Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, near Iwaki in Fukushima Prefecture, as part of the 7th Pacific Islands Leaders Meeting (PALM 7) being held in Japan.
O'Neill made special note of the resilience of the survivors in the town, and said they share a special bond with survivors of the Aitape Tsunami that occurred in Papua New Guinea 1998.
"Our thoughts and condolences go to the families who lost loved ones in the tsunami, and to the survivors who suffered as a result of the disaster," the Prime Minister said at one of the locations where the tsunami struck in Japan.
"While we can see the aftermath of the tsunami and the destruction that it leaves behind.
"Only those people who experienced a tsunami can fully understand the power and the horror of the waves as they destroyed this town in Japan and villages up and down the coast from Sissano Lagoon in Papua New Guinea.
"We remember the lives lost and the lives ruined by these terrible events."
 O'Neill said lessons have to be learned from disasters such as tsunamis, this includes clear planning and strategies implemented to preserve life and property.
"We cannot stop tsunamis but we can work together to develop ways to reduce their impact on communities.
"New technologies are making it easier to ensure that people can receive tsunami warnings and take action.
"People in places that are at-risk need to be ready to act at a moment's notice when a tsunami warning is issued.
"Public education is essential in saving lives in these disasters and Papua New Guinea supports Japan's proposal to have an annual United Nations Tsunami Awareness Day."
Floral wreaths were laid at the disaster area that is now undergoing extensive rehabilitation and defences established to protect against future tsunamis.
PALM 7 was hosted by Prime Minister Abe and the President of Palau, Thomas Remengesu Jr, in Iwaki on 22-23 May 2015.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

PM O’Neill highlights localising development program delivery

Prime Minister Peter O'Neill  has highlighted the importance of tailoring approaches to the implementation of development programs to work in local circumstances.
O'Neill made the comments in his first intervention at the Plenary Session of the 7th Pacific Islands Leaders Meeting (PALM 7) that is taking place in Iwaki, Fukushima Prefecture, Japan.
The first session of PALM7 highlighted approaches by countries to facilitate development in their context, and utilising multilateral forums to advance initiatives around the region.
The Intervention by the Prime Minister provided context to core development priorities in Papua New Guinea, and acknowledged Japan's support for Pacific development initiatives

Text of Intervention by Prime Minister O'Neill:

Development in our region is guided by sustainable principles and approaches that should be determined by our individual and collective responsibility.
The region recognises the changing global circumstances that highlight the fragility of the global ecosystem and the additional value it places on the environment, climate security, and food and water security.
Our region has the greatest potential, but we are also faced by some of the most significant challenges in the world today.
The SIDS Accelerated Modalities of Action SAMOA Pathway expresses those challenges and priorities. 
We are grateful for the Government of Japan's action to extend support in the Pacific Region to encourage sustainable development.
The region's particular vulnerabilities and strengths are noted in the Sustainable Development Goals and post 2015 Development Agenda.
Too often there is a problem with the definitions used to set development targets.
As an example, the Millennium Development Goals should not be seen as a one-size-fits-all approach.
While Papua New Guinea continues to have challenges in meeting the MDGs as defined in the global criteria – but we are seeing real development in our country through the implementation of core development priorities.
These are in education, healthcare, security and infrastructure.
By providing free education for all children we have been able to increase access to education from just over one million children to nearly two million children in the last three years.
We are extending universal healthcare throughout our country, which has very remote areas, that are challenging to reach.
We have placed a priority on increasing spending on security, the judiciary and corrective services.  We are also building the infrastructure that our people and our SMEs need to trade and to travel.
These are the important elements in the development of our country, and in any country.
In the facilitation of development in any country, again, there is no-one-size-fits-all approach to development. 
I also want to take this time to acknowledge the Government of Japan for the pilot initiative on the Pacific Environment Community (PEC) Fund which addresses key environmental issues and the effects of climate change in the region.
This will indeed bring positive change to the lives of our people.
There is need to progress this pilot initiative, and I call for the Government of Japan to continue to support the PEC Fund and replicate it across the region, particularly those most affected.
We applaud regional programs in dealing with the causes and effects of climate change in our region.
We welcome Japan's Green Climate Fund and the fund that has been announced today.  This will help countries in our region improve energy efficiencies – particularly renewable energy sources.
Thank you.

NB: The conference is co-Chaired by the Prime Minister of Japan, Hon Shinzo Abe, and current Chair of the Pacific Islands Forum, the President of Palau, Hon Thomas Remengesu Jr.

Friday, May 22, 2015

PM O’Neill’s first day in Japan prior to PALM 7

Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea Peter O'Neill has undertaken a range of high level government bilateral meetings and business consultations in Tokyo prior to the 7th Pacific Islands Leaders Meeting (PALM 7) that begins I today in Japan.
Meetings with the leaders of Palau and Japan provided an opportunity to discuss significant bilateral issues, and with leading Japanese businesses the Prime Minister was provided insight to business and investment opportunities in PNG.
The first bilateral meeting of the visit was with the President of Palau, Thomas Remengesu Jr, where the two leaders discussed Pacific Islands Forum policy issues as Palau prepares to pass Forum Chair responsibilities to PNG.
"President Remengesu has provided clear leadership to the Forum policy agenda and I commend him for his work particularly in the area of marine conservation," the Prime Minister said.
"We look forward to Palau's attendance at both the Pacific Islands Forum Meeting in September, as well as 50 athletes coming for the Pacific Games in July."
Meeting with Japan's Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, over a working lunch, PM O'Neill said a number of issues were discussed that were of significant importance to both countries.
"In the areas of tourism, fisheries, development and disaster preparedness, our two countries have shared interests," PM O'Neill said.
"These are matters that will continue to evolve through discussions between our officials, and we expect to reach new agreements at our next meeting.
"Following Prime Minister Abe's visit to Papua New Guinea last year, he has invited me to return to Japan for a State Visit later this year.
"This will also provide an opportunity to bring a large number of Papua New Guinean businessmen and businesswomen to Japan to build on our established commerce and investment ties."
The commerce and investment opportunities in Papua New Guinea were also the subject of discussion with business representatives from companies that included JX Nippon Oil and Sojitz Corporation, Marubeni Corporation.
"There is already a lot of Japanese business interest Papua New Guinea and we want to expand that base.
"Japanese investment in our country continues to grow and this is employing more and more Papua New Guineans.
"There is also increased opportunity for Papua New Guinea exports to Japan.  As one of the strongest economies in the world, Japan is an important market for Papua New Guinea that we will continue to grow."
The first formal day of the PALM 7 Leaders Summit begins today. 

Bilateral meeting between Papua New Guinea and Japan Prime Ministers

Trade and cultural exchange between Papua New Guinea and Japan will continue to strengthen through the advancement of issues discussed by the Prime Ministers of the two countries at a meeting in Tokyo yesterday.
Prime Minister Peter O'Neill and his Japanese counterpart, Shinzo Abe, met on the eve of the 7th Pacific Islands Leaders Meeting (PALM7) Summit in Japan. 
During the working lunch the Prime Ministers discussed issues that included tourism, fisheries cooperation, development projects and tsunami awareness.
"It was a pleasure to meet with my honourable friend, Prime Minister Shizo Abe, as he prepares to host the very important PALM 7 Summit," PM O'Neill said.
"Papua New Guinea and Japan have a very rich partnership that creates opportunity for trade and investment, and also tourism.
"We are looking to create new opportunities for Japanese people to visit Papua New Guinea for leisure and historical visits.
"Papua New Guinea is the final resting place for many Japanese war dead.  While this part of our shared history began in a terrible war, as countries that are at peace, we extend the courtesy for relatives of to pay homage to their loved ones and ancestors.
"With Prime Minster Abe we have discussed establishing further memorials at important locations in Papua New Guinea.
"In relation to broader tourism activities, we are discussing work for the upgrade and expansion of Tokoak airport.  We hope this would lead to the possibility of direct flights from Japan to Rabaul.
"This is a perfect tourism destination of Japanese people looking to enjoy relaxing holidays on our beaches and experiencing our culture."
The Prime Minister said Japan and Papua New Guinea have agreed to further cooperation in the fisheries sector. 
"Japan has tremendous opportunity for our fisheries sector and we are looking at options to improve this trade for the good of both countries.
"There are regional considerations we have to take into account in relation to fisheries and marine resources, so this is an ongoing discussion we will have with Japan as well as other island nations."
Japan has again pledged its support to development projects in Papua New Guinea that are helping to rebuild infrastructure and facilitate cultural engagement with Japan.
"I took the opportunity to express our appreciation to Japan for a range of projects that include national road improvements, agricultural capacity building and programs to deal with the affects climate change.
"Japan is providing 27 billion Yen (K600 million) to support ongoing infrastructure projects that include rebuilding work to increase the capacity of Nadzab Airport.
"A further 300 million Yen (K6.5 million) is being provided by Japan to assist in disaster management and preparation in Papua New Guinea.
"Japan has also allocated US$1.5 billion to the Green Climate Fund and is encouraging Papua New Guinea and other Pacific Island nations to utilise this facility in dealing with climate change."
During the meeting, Prime Minister Abe expressed his satisfaction with his State Visit to Papua New Guinea in 2014, and has invited Prime Minister O'Neill to undertake a State Visit to Japan where ongoing issues can be achieved and agreements reached.
The Prime Ministers discussed the possibility of holding the first Joint Committee meeting under the Japan-Papua New Guinea investment treaty as part of the program for this visit. In their discussion, Prime Minister O'Neill also pledged Papua New Guinea's support for Japan's proposal to establish an annual United Nations World Tsunami Day.
"Papua New Guinea fully supports the establishment of a United Nations World Tsunami Day on 25 November each year.
"This day would raise awareness amongst at-risk communities to prepare for the possibility of a tsunami and this will save lives.
"This day would also provide an opportunity to commemorate the lives lost to tsunami's in Japan, Papua New Guinea and right around the world."
The PALM 7 Leaders Summit will begin in Iwaki-city, Fukushima prefecture, today and conclude on 23 May.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

President Joko Widodo concludes State visit to Papua New Guinea

Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea Peter O'Neill has expressed satisfaction with the outcome of meetings that that took place with the President of Indonesia,  Joko Widodo, during his State Visit on 11-12 May.
During the two days of meetings, PNG and Indonesia discussed a range of issues that include increasing cross border cooperation for energy production and crime prevention, and deeper engagement in multilateral forums including the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG).
"We have agreed to provide Papua New Guinea's support for Indonesia having associate membership of the Melanesian Spearhead Group, which Papua New Guinea will gladly endorse and pursue with the other leaders of the Melanesian group.
"This will enable the five Melanesian provinces in Indonesia to participate in cultural, trade and investment engagement between our Melanesian countries and communities within the region.
"This will also enable Melanesian people to participate in sporting events and other activities of cultural significance.   
"We will further strengthen our own relationship with Melanesians of which 11 million are on the Indonesian side of our border.
"I again salute the President for his courage in ensuring that we take a step forward in the relationship on how we engage with the Melanesians in the Indonesian provinces.
"This is truly a unique understanding that has been reached between the two Governments."
Prime Minister O'Neill said there will be a further enhancement of cross-border trade that ranges from grassroots commerce and SME exchange, through to major utilities trade.
"We agreed to strengthen economic opportunities along the border region where Indonesia is investing in infrastructure that we would like to have access.
"This includes telecommunications, power generation and the road infrastructure that is being built and has a waiting market in Papua New Guinea."
The Prime Minister further highlighted engagement between the two countries in other multilateral forums.  This includes APEC where he said Indonesia was Papua New Guinea's biggest supporter in securing the opportunity to host APEC in 2018, and in ASEAN where Papua New Guinea has Special Observer status.
"Indonesia is also our number one supporter in our engagement in the ASEAN countries and the ASEAN region, and for this we are grateful."
The two countries also signed an MOU on Co-operation in Preventing and Combating Transnational Crime, and an MOU on Co-operation in the Field of Human Resource Development in Petroleum and Energy.