Port Moresby, 18 April 2018 – The Government of New Zealand has strengthened its support to the National Government of Papua New Guinea (PNG), the Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) through a one-million-dollar (US) contribution to UNDP’s Bougainville Referendum Support Project (BRSP).
Endorsed by both governments at the Joint Supervisory Body meeting of December 2017, the BRSP aims to support the Bougainville Referendum Commission (BRC) to deliver an effective referendum.
The BRSP will assist the BRC through technical expertise, the procurement of operational items such as voter registration equipment, and outreach activities including the production and distribution of awareness materials. The project will also conduct training of media and other key partners on their respective roles in the referendum process.
The project will coordinate closely with activities funded by the UN Peacebuilding Fund and other international partners to support the National Government of PNG and the ABG not only to hold a successful referendum, but also transition peacefully through the post-referendum period.
The United Nations Resident Coordinator for Papua New Guinea, Gianluca Rampolla, said: “The United Nations continues to work with both the National Government of PNG and the ABG on the implementation of the Bougainville Peace Agreement, and the successful staging of the referendum constitutes a significant aspect of this work.
“We are incredibly privileged to have a supporter such as New Zealand, and we look forward to furthering this relationship.”
Sue Mackwell, the New Zealand High Commissioner to PNG, hopes that their funding will encourage other international partners to also support the project.
“The peace process in Bougainville continues to break new ground, and we hope that other donors will join the Government of Papua New Guinea and the Autonomous Government of Bougainville in being part of this important process,” Ms Mackwell said.
Both the United Nations and New Zealand have played important roles in the peace process in Bougainville dating back to the earliest days in the late 1990s.