Bougainville referendum set for 2019

A historic signing ceremony establishing the new Bougainville Referendum Commission (BRC) was held yesterday at the Prime Minister’s Office, Manasupe House Waigani, Port Moresby.

Under the Bougainville Peace Agreement (BPA) signed between the Government of PNG and Leaders of Bougainville in 2001, the peace partners agreed to have a referendum on the political future of Bougainville by 2020. This signing of the Agreement and the Administration Arrangement for the establishment of the BRC paves the way for the independent institution to plan, prepare and execute the electoral event.

The documents were signed by the PNG Commissioner of Elections Patilias Gamato and Bougainville Electoral Commissioner George Manu and countersigned by Chief Secretary Ambassador Isaac Lupari and ABG Chief Secretary Joseph Nobetau.

Yesterday’s signing follows the outcome of the peace partners Joint Supervisory Board meeting of May 2016 where a target referendum date of 15 June 2019 and the referendum plan were agreed.

The ceremony was witnessed by Minister for Bougainville Affairs John Lera, Minister for Communications Jimmy Miringtoro and South Bougainville MP Timothy Masiu. The ABG was represented by the Vice President and Minister for Referendum Patrick Nasira, Secretary for Referendum, Veterans and Peace James Tanis and Secretary for Public Service and Justice Kenneth Nenai.

Development partners from the UN, Australian High Commission, European Union and New Zealand High Commission were also present at the signing ceremony.

The UN Resident Coordinator/UNDP Resident Representative, Roy Trivedy congratulated both governments for achieving this historical milestone. He emphasized the UN/UNDP’s willingness to continue to support effective implementation of the BPA

SOURCE: UNDP Media Release