Decentralization/Federalism: Bougainville Peace Agreement

BPA (B)(3):

11. The Bougainville Constitution will provide for the organization and structures of the government for Bougainville under the autonomy arrangements ('the autonomous Bougainville Government') in a manner consistent with this Agreement.

BPA (B)(4):

28. The Bougainville Constitution will provide that the institutions of die autonomous Bougainville Government will include a legislature which shall be a mainly elected body, but may also include members appointed or elected to represent special interests, such as women, youth, churches.

29. The Bougainville Constitution will provide for the autonomous Bougainville Government to include an accountable executive body.

30. There will be a head of the executive whose title, method of appointment, and powers and functions will be specified in the Bougainville Constitution.

31. The Bougainville Constitution may provide for an impartial judiciary for Bougainville, or may provide for Bougainville to operate either in full or in part under courts established under the national Constitution.

32. The powers, functions and procedures of the legislature, executive and judiciary will be as specified by or under the arrangements in this Agreement and the Bougainville Constitution.

33. The Bougainville Constitution may establish other institutions that may be required for the autonomous Bougainville Government to carry out its powers and functions effectively, including institutions responsible for public administration provided for elsewhere in this Agreement (such as bodies to administer separate public service, police, teaching service and correctional institutional services bodies) and local government bodies.

34. Decisions made by both the Constituent Assembly and the legislature of the autonomous Bougainville Government about establishing institutions proposed to be part of the autonomous Bougainville Government shall be made only after considering the costs likely to be involved in such decisions and the administrative capacity necessary to implement them.

Such decisions include those about:

(a) the number of seats in the Bougainville legislature from time to time;

(b) the courts within the Bougainville judiciary;

(c) provision in the Bougainville Constitution for institutions other than the legislature, the executive and the judiciary.

35. The Bougainville Constitution will make provision for the accountability of all institutions created under it.

36. Provision in relation to accountability will include arrangements concerning a public accounts committee of the legislature, audit of provincial accounts and management of the revenue funds and accounts of the autonomous Bougainville Government.

37. Until the autonomous Bougainville Government is established through elections, the Bougainville Interim Provincial Government will continue to operate in accordance with the Organic Law on Provincial Governments and Local-level Governments and also in accordance with arrangements already agreed between the Bougainville parties.

38. When the Organic Law on Provincial Governments and Local-level Governments ceases to apply in Bougainville and the autonomous Bougainville Government is established, the Bougainville Interim Provincial Government and the Bougainville People's Congress will cease to exist.

39. Bougainville will have the power to create independent Constitutional Officeholders to carry out powers and functions within Bougainville's constitutional responsibilities.

40. National Constitutional Office-holders will continue to carry out their responsibilities in areas of national jurisdiction in Bougainville.

41. National Government and Bougainville Constitutional Office-holders may enter into cooperative or agency arrangements to avoid gaps and duplication and to encourage common standards.

42. The autonomous Bougainville Government will bear the cost of creating and maintaining Constitutional Office-holders in Bougainville.

43. The bodies established by or under the Bougainville Constitution to make appointments of Bougainville judges, other constitutional office-holders, and heads of the Bougainville Police and any body equivalent to the Correctional Institutional Services shall include two nominees of the National Government.

44. (a) The autonomous Bougainville Government may establish its own independent Salaries and Remuneration Commission under the Bougainville Constitution to recommend the salaries and other conditions of elected leaders, Constitutional officeholders and statutory heads (including heads of the Bougainville Police and any body equivalent to the Correctional Institutional Services) appointed under that Constitution; the autonomous Bougainville Government will meet any additional costs.

(b) The recommendations made by the Bougainville Salaries and Remuneration Commission will take full account of advice from the National Salaries and Remuneration Commission concerning the maintenance of relativities of pay and conditions with those for similar offices in other parts of Papua New Guinea and at the National level.

(c) The Bougainville legislature will have the power to accept or reject (but not to amend) recommendations from the Bougainville Salaries and Remuneration Commission.

45. (a) The National Salaries and Remuneration Commission will continue to recommend the salaries and other conditions of elected leaders, Constitutional officeholders and statutory heads appointed under the Bougainville Constitution until and unless the autonomous Bougainville Government establishes its own Salaries and Remuneration Commission.

(b) The autonomous Bougainville Government will be represented on the National Commission when it deals with positions under the Bougainville Constitution.

50. Consistent with national sovereignty, the National Government will exercise powers and functions on the National Government list in relation to Papua New Guinea as a whole, including Bougainville.

51. The agreed National Government list is as follows:

• Defense;

• Foreign relations;

• Immigration;

• Highly migratory and straddling fish stocks;

• Central Banking;

• Currency;

• International civil aviation;

• International shipping

• International trade;

• Posts;

• Telecommunications;

• Powers required for direct implementation of the National Constitution, as amended in implementation of this Agreement (for example, citizenship, national elections);

• All other powers for which the National Government is responsible under other provisions of this Agreement.

Bougainville List of Powers and Functions

52. The list of powers and functions of the autonomous Bougainville Government
will:

(a) include all known or identifiable powers not on the National Government list, beginning with the powers that have been available to provincial governments under the National
Constitution;

(b) be developed during the drafting of the Constitutional Laws implementing this Agreement.

53. The Bougainville list will include the power to decide on foreign investment applications for Bougainville, and the autonomous Bougainville Government may establish its own administrative mechanism in relation to foreign investment matters for Bougainville.

Implementation History

2001

No Implementation

The decentralization or power devolution provision in the 2001 peace agreement was envisaged in terms of establishing an Autonomous Bougainville Government with its own Executive, Legislative and Judiciary authority. In order for this to happen, the Papua New Guinea constitution had to be amended, as did organic law. No initiatives were taken on constitutional and organic law amendments in 2001.  

2002

Minimum Implementation

On January 23, 2002, the PNG Parliament unanimously passed the Constitutional amendments related to Bougainville. Both sides of the House were united to ensure that the proposed legislation, giving more autonomy to the Bougainville Government, remained on track for the final reading in March. The amendment also allowed for a referendum on independence to be held within 10 to 15 years.1 On March 27, 2002, the PNG Parliament voted unanimously in favor of proposed a constitutional amendment and organic law on peacebuilding in Bougainville.2 This cleared a pathway for the establishment of the Bougainville Constitutional Commission, which had the responsibility to draft a constitution for Autonomous Bougainville. On September 3, 2002, Bougainville Governor, John Momis, officially announced the appointment of the Bougainville Constitutional Commission (BCC).3 The new constitution would provide the constitutional foundation for the establishment of an autonomous Bougainville Government within the confined territory. 

  • 1. "Papua New Guinea: Bougainville bill clears first hurdle," BBC Monitoring Asia Pacific, January 24, 2002.
  • 2. "Papua New Guinea premier says 'no turning back' on Bougainville autonomy," BBC Summary of World Broadcasts, March 28, 2002.
  • 3. "Papua New Guinea: Bougainville Constitutional Commission announced," BBC Summary of World Broadcasts, September 3, 2002.
2003

Minimum Implementation

No information available on the progress made towards establishing an Autonomous Bougainville Government as part of the territorial power sharing.   

2004

Minimum Implementation

On 14 January 2004, the National Government handed over the Constitution to the Autonomous Bougainville Government in Arawa.4 The constitution not only establishes an autonomous Bougainville, but also has a provision for an independence referendum 10 to 15 years down the road.  

  • 4. "Papua New Guinea government hands over Bougainville constitution," BBC Monitoring Asia Pacific, January 17, 2005.
2005

Full Implementation

From May 20 through June 2), 2005, the first elections were held for the Autonomous Region of Bougainville. They were deemed fair and transparent by the International Observer Team.5 In the election, a former separatist leader, Sam Kabui, won the presidency in a landslide - taking more than 55 percent of the vote in the first round. Kabui's party, the Peoples' Congress Party (PCP) emerged as the largest faction in the 39-seat parliament and proceeded to form a coalition government. The new government was inaugurated on June 15, 2005.6 Even though elections took place in 2005, according to Wolfers, “the ABG has been set up with formal responsibility for substantial functions, powers and control over resources and government services, Bougainville autonomy remains a work-in-progress."7

  • 5. "Report of the Commonwealth-Pacific Islands Forum Expert Team, General Election for the Autonomous Bougainville Government," May-June 2005, http://www.thecommonwealth.org/shared_asp_files/uploadedfiles/E26ADF45-7..., accessed December 15, 2010.
  • 6. "2005: Sixtieth Anniversary Edition - Towards Development, Security and Human Rights for All, United Nations," 2008 Yearbook of the United Nations, p. 454.
  • 7. Edward Wolfers, “Challenges of autonomy in Papua New Guinea’s Autonomous Region of Bougainville,” Journal of Pacific Studies 30(1) 1–22, 2007.
2006

Full Implementation

Territorial power provision implemented in 2005 with the formation of the Autonomous Bougainville Government. No further developments. 

2007

Full Implementation

No further developments observed.

2008

Full Implementation

No further developments observed.

2009

Full Implementation

No further developments observed.

2010

Full Implementation

No further developments observed.