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Papua New Guinea  

OPEN GOVERNMENT PARTNERSHIPS Action Plan


INTRODUCTION Papua New Guinea has faced series of corruption and non-accountable implementation of government. However, PNG’s Prime Minister Peter O’Neill believes that “The challenge of corruption must be the effort of all citizens and governments to ensure an open government for all, yet this effort may take longer time than we think it will.” We know that the mandate of the accountable government has been there in our constitutions, thus we think that the Open Government Partnerships is a suitable platform for us to accelerate good corporate governance. Amongst the nations in Asia Pacific, Papua New Guinea (PNG) is one of the countries with highest corruption practices. PNG’s governments are notorious for corruption. We were ranked 150th out of 176 countries for Corruption Perception Index, thus we need a highly groundbreaking reform to change the government, and we need OGP to do it all at once. Through series of efforts, the government of PNG has been working so hard to implement the reform in the key principles as follows: 1. Control-mechanism 2. Online-based improvement 3. Improvement indicator

EFFORTS TO DATE During the last decade, Papua New Guinea has surely stepped to the new era of democracy. The New Era in Combating Corruption. Prior to the reelection in 2012, Prime Minister O’Neill has launched a much publicized anti-corruption drive. It showed that Prime Minister O’Neill had started to commit on corruption eradication by forming another anti-corruption agency, The National Anti-Corruption Strategy Task Force (NACSTF). The primary goal of NACSTF is to implement The National AntiCorruption Strategy 2010-2030, which had been ratified by the UNAC in May 2007. The NCTF’s task will include the formation of National Integrity Commission or the Independent Commission (ICAC). Recently Department of Prime Minister has released the draft of organic law of Independent Commission Against Corruption and sought for public critics. Eradication the Main Factors of Corruption in Papua New Guinea. The reasons why corruption exists and occurs are context-specific. They are embedded in country history, social norm, political context, administrative tradition and economic situation. But the main reasons existing uniquely in Papua New Guinea are social norm and resources abundance. One of the norms collaterally related to cronyism is Wantok System or Wantokism. Ideally Wantokism is positive culture to operate as welfare buffer. But in modern society, Wantokism contributes to disastrous upshots, namely


in opposing corruption. Government has long noticed this phenomenon and formulated some preventive efforts in economics sector: promoting cooperative business societies through technical support, training and finance. These initiatives are hopefully effective to suppress Wantokism in economic sectors. In the future, government needs to issue the initiatives to mend the core of problem, not only in economic areas. The next factor is abundance of natural resource. In spite of rich natural resources, the exploitations have not resulted in substantial social and human development (Sharman, 2012). Richard Auty for the first time refers this phenomenon as resource curse. To tackle these problems, government has done some actions, including, repealing the controversial act and delegating the COI to investigate corruption-risk area. Both are done by assessment of CSO. Protecting Incorporated Land Group from Ownership Infringement. It is clear that in Papua New Guinea, ILGs hold the massive role. About 97% of Papua New Guinea Land is owned by local communities through inheritance system in clans. But today, ILGs right is endangered by abuse done by corrupt government and predatory foreign companies. According to Commission of Inquiry (COI) only 4 out of 42 leases receive proper consent and under acknowledgement of local communities. The rest 38 leases are fraudulently acquired and other 33 leases are left unknown. Government of Papua New Guinea has taken corrective actions by commissioning COI and amending the laws pertaining to Incorporated Land Groups. Local Group Empowerment and Community-driven Development. There are more than 800 local communities that constitute Papua New Guinea social sphere. This number comprises almost 12% of worldwide ethnicities. To enhance future development, government of Papua New Guinea has to involve local communities into national development. Numerous technical assistance and remunerations have been issued by the government to ensure the local communities participation in development or World Bank states term as Community-driven Development.

New initiatives 1. Public Service Improvement a. Open Government To Improve The Quality of Public Service. Public service should be held in accordance to its root objective ‘to serve the society’. Whereas we can see that overall regulatory of public institutions remains poor. Despite some reform efforts, progress towards the structural changes needed to promote entrepreneurial activity has been limited. Private enterprises face numerous and timeconsuming bureaucratic hurdles • PNG 101: backtobasic.co.pg This program will set to be the integration of cooperative reforms from various ministries and public institutions to ensure a faster, more reliable, more affordable, and clean implementation of public service. This integrated effort will be channeled through backtobasic.co.pg that will feature those collaborated public services to make the people easier to access the information, and also use the services.


To accelerate and catalyze this attempt, we must ensure that CSO will be involved in monitoring the reform objectives and implementation. b. Open Government To Set A Benchmarking Measurement To Control The Quality of Public Service. In order to control and measure the effectiveness, and most importantly, the success of the public service reform, we need to make series of indicators that consist of the evaluative objective set in the beginning as a controlling tool. • Public Service Reform Indicators We will create series of indicators that will entail each of the public services about to be reformed at backtobasic.co.pg. The indicators will be a measurement towards how we value the success of the reform, and it will be evaluated per annum. The evaluation report then will be launched online, and be the provision to make a decision of the area of further improvement. 2. Local Communities a. Open Government to Protect The Right of Local Landowner • Fostering the Role of Commission of Inquiry and Reconciling Internal Inefficiency Lately COI’s report into Special Agriculture Business Lease has revealed a shocking trend of mismanagement and corruption in all stages of the process. Only 4 out of 42 SABL received proper consent and other 33 SABL remained untouchable. According to the reveal, Government has to strengthen the Commission and give political assistance to increase the investigation rate of COI. However, Government also needs to mend the internal clash and direct COI in revealing the fraudulency. • Reforming the Bureaucracy in Issuance of SABL and Agroforestry Project Department of Lands and Physical Planning is a legal stakeholder in the SABL process, but since the SABL process is arbitrary, DLPP can come in the beginning, middle or ending of the process, whereas. As the consequence, DLPP cops the blame for SABL abuse while stakeholders in the middle and at beginning of the process get away without any blemish. In addition, SABL usually involve Agroforestry Projects which vested Institution to administer is an enigma. There is a constant confusion between deciding Agroforestry Projects under Papua New Guinea Forest Authority (PNGFA), Department of Agriculture and Livestock (DAL) or DLPP. To tackle this problem, Government needs to reform the bureaucracy and set clear paths in issuance SABL and AP.


o Department of Lands and Physical Planning have to watch the whole issuance procedures of SABL from the very beginning to ending. o Agroforestry Projects should be administered by DLPP to simplify the bureaucracy. The involvement of AP in SABL issuance is really common since most of lands are still covered by deep forest. This merger can cut down the bureaucracy and promote easier control mechanism by government. • Incorporation of Access to Information Standard in Records Kept of SABLs Landowners and citizens find difficulties in finding the SABL official release. To overcome the problem and embrace the openness, Government would take series of action: o To post the issued SABL in National Gazette and Official DLPP Portal. Citizens and CSOs are able to overview the SABL and correspondingly refer the SABL to further investigation by COI (if it is needed). o To standardize the SABL information. The information should cover name of ILG and consent giver, landowner company (if exists), lease period, company in which lease is issued for operational purpose, exact boundary lease permits, and agreements between interested parties. o To seek for assistance from CELCOR for community socialization regarding to existence of such standardized access to information. Abovementioned action will be delivered in 1 year period. • Reforming Land Group Incorporation Act Government of Papua New Guinea has realized that the right of Incorporated Land Group is crucial. In assistance with Centre of Environmental Law and Community Rights (CELCOR), Government addresses this issue by amending the Land Group Incorporation Act in the following ways: o Include new requirements for incorporation. The leakage in Land Group Incorporation Act 1974 creates way to misuse and abuse in registration. This results in the increase of land disputes and position of new ILG as short cut to obtain land owner consent for resource exploitation. Therefore government should include new requirements and revoke all existing ILG in 5 years. During 5 years, existing need to resubmit the application. For biannual agenda, government has to implement the new requirements for new registration submission. The new requirements consist of: 1. Inclusion of proposed members of ILG


2. 3. 4. 5.

Sketch of land borders Establishment of management committee Quorum of 60% in business transaction Involvement for minimum 2 women management committee 6. Official bank account

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• Guaranteeing Local Landowner Access to Judicial System and Procedures Regarding to Right of Ownership Local communities reside in remote area in which access to procedures regarding to ownership protection and judicial system is intricate. They sometimes need to walk hours in though jungle to district capital to access judicial system and information. To address this problem, government should: o Establishing independent land tenure tribunal to provide accessible review for customary owners to challenge lease issued on their lands. Government can cooperate with CELCOR to guarantee the long-lasting establishment of the tribunal. o Socializing the FPIC rights. FPIC is the right held by indigenous peoples to withhold or give their consent to projects that affect their lands. o Both actions can be finished in 2 years. b. Open Government to Embrace Local Level Participation and Empowerment • Piloting the Rural Service Delivery and Local Government Project Pilot This collaborative initiative between the Department of Provincial and Local Level Government Affairs (DPLLGA) and World Bank is designed to improve access, quality and management of basic public services in rural areas. To implement the pilot project, DPLLGA picks 2 provinces for period 2 years project. The first measurement undertaken is social assessment for 6 months to identify key principles held by local communities. The social assessment recommends the platform of pilot project to effectively address the goals. •

Involvement of CSOs and Churches to Support Technical Assistance, Remuneration, and Trainings for Local Communities. Role of churches in Ward level is really crucial hence government need to engage churches as partner. Then government, along with CSOs and churches, conducts several capacity building. Or reversely, thrice in annum, local stakeholders, such as ward councilors, are invited to district capital to follow some training that cannot be conducted in ward level. Therefore government needs to sufficiently provide provisions.


3. Accessibility & Accountability of Information a. Open Government To Ensure A Just And Independent Financial Check-And-Balances Mechanism That Reforms The Government’s Budget And Spending Accessibility And Accountability. • ‘NOUVEAU TEAM’ Independent auditor committee The Auditor-General Office of Papua New Guinea’s open budget and audit launch have not worked independently with various corruptive and misleading practices in its operation. Hence, the government needs to create a program to curb this issue, in order to ensure the government’s budget will be held accountable – independently – and open for public. This program will be the check-and-balances controlling tool to monitor the budget accountability of PNG’s government as a transitional reform towards the current Auditor-General’s Office. There will be a trial for the first 5 years with the period of 2 financial cycles per annum (10 cycles for total in 5 years). This shorter period is intended to ease the accountability check, hence it can prevent corruption more effectively. The team will consist of representation from PNG’s government-owned “Auditor-General”, and 5 other certified public accountant offices from private sector that will work together with representation of NGOs. •

Biennial budget report online release of openbudget.co.pg In line with abovementioned solution about the audit committee, the report of government’s fiscal management as well as the accountability check (audit) report will then be launched in the openbudget.co.pg so it will be accessible for the society to monitor’s government’s fiscal management.

Those initiatives of budget transparency and accountability reform will take major involvement of CSO in which to be the part of the committee, and generally to control the process. 4. New Corruption Solutions a. Open Government to Prevent the Negative Upshots of Wantok System in Economic and Political Life of Papua New Guinea. Wantokism is positive aspect in guaranteeing welfare of citizens of Papua New Guinea and must remain ideal without creating opportunities for cronyism and nepotism. To ensure the aforementioned, government need to • Educate Young Generation about Corruption Young generation will soon replace the older. They soon become the reformists and agents of change in politics, economics, and social. Educate the youth about the latent danger of corruption, especially in applying Wantok System in sectors which it does not belong to, such as political and economic life. •

Involving Elder in Eradicating Wantokism Misuse


Elders hold great role in social system in Papua New Guinea. They become high-profile individuals which posse decisive role in the clan. By involving and creating discussion between Elders, Government and CSOs, mutual goal in eradicating opportunities of nepotism can be achieved. Both initiatives are hard but possible to be done. These can be simultaneously done by holding key idea of involving CSO. Government will soon face difficulties in penetrating the local communities hence the first action should be engagement with CSO to set effective frameworks. b. Open Government to Ensure Natural Resources and Environment are Conserved and Used for the Collective Benefit of All. As mandated by the 4th national goal, “Papua New Guinea’s natural resources and environment to be conserved and used for the collective benefit of us all, and be replenished for the benefit of future generation” Above statement is clear that government along with citizens have responsibility to wisely harness and replenish the natural resources for vast benefit. • Improve Sustainable Community-Based Natural Resources Management Government Government provides leadership, financial, and human resources to improve local communities’ access to exploit natural resources. This decentralization of natural resources management eventually combats poverty and increase direct participation of local communities to development. Along with this initiative, government has to involve CSOs to mobilize communities at local level and support biodiversity conservation, low-carbon, and climate-resilient livelihoods. This framework is effectively done in 2015 as mandated in Medium-term Development Plan (MTDP) of Papua New Guinea •

Implement Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) is a multistakeholder initiative comprised of government, companies, CSOs, investors, and International Organization to publicly disclose their revenues from oil, gas, and mining assets, and companies make parallel disclosures pertaining payments they make to government. Mining is booming in PNG. As evidence, PNG have over 260 active exploration licenses, 20 under renewal and additional over 100 being processed. Future revenue estimation is going to be huge. Government and CSO have to collaborate to safeguard the income received by state to be wisely allocated for national benefits.


o Involvement the CSO to effectively mobilize citizens to scrutinize government report on natural resources retribution. CSOs, like Publish What You Pay (PWYP) aggressively campaign the openness in extractive industries. Government should collaborate to such CSO to provide check and balance. o This initiative will effectively work after government reformation in extractive sector for 1st year and full implementation in 2nd year to all active explorations in 3 sectors: mining, oil and gas.


Papua New Guinea Action Plan