Constitutional Reform: Bougainville Peace Agreement

BPA (B)(3):

11. The Bougainville Consititution 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.

14.The Bougainville Interim Provincial Government in consultation with the Bougainville People's Congress will establish a Constitutional Commission and a Constituent Assembly to make the Bougainville Constitution.

15. (a) The National Government will be kept informed and allowed adequate opportunity to make its views known as proposals for the Bougainville Constitution are developed.

(b) Before the Bougainville Constitution is adopted by the Constituent Assembly, there will be consultation with the National Government about the contents of the draft Constitution.

16. A Constitutional Commission broadly representative of the people of Bougainville will make proposals for a Bougainville Constitution.

17. The Constitutional Commission will consult widely with the people of Bougainville to understand their views on a Constitution for Bougainville, and will prepare a draft Bougainville Constitution for consideration by the Constituent Assembly.

18. The people of Bougainville, through a representative Constituent Assembly, will consider the draft Bougainville Constitution.

19. The Constituent Assembly will debate and may amend the draft Bougainville Constitution, and will adopt the Constitution in the manner set out in this clause.

20. The parties will co-operate in facilitating the establishment of the Constituent Assembly.

21. Subject to other provisions of this Agreement, the arrangements used to establish the Bougainville Constitution and the structures and procedures for the autonomous Bougainville Government established under it will meet internationally accepted standards of good governance.

22. (a) Following adoption of the Bougainville Constitution, the Constituent Assembly shall transmit a copy of that Constitution to the National Executive Council.

(b) Upon being satisfied that the requirements of the National Constitution for the Bougainville Constitution have been met, the National Executive Council shall advise the head of State to endorse that Constitution.

23. The National Government will gazette the Bougainville Constitution upon its endorsement by the Governor-General.

24. The constitutional amendments will include an agreed procedure to ensure that the Bougainville Constitution can be brought into effect without delay.

25. The Bougainville Constitution will come into effect on a date after its endorsement by the Head of State, and in the manner provided for in that Constitution.

26. The Bougainville Constitution will be supreme law as regards matters that fall within Bougainville's jurisdiction, and Bougainville laws and institutions will be required to be consistent with the Bougainville Constitution. The Bougainville Constitution will be enforceable:

(a) in the Supreme Court; and

(b) the Bougainville courts, to the extent provided for in the Bougainville Constitution.

27. The Bougainville Constitution may be amended only by the Bougainville legislature following a procedure and requirements (inclusive of voting majority) as may be prescribed by the Bougainville Constitution.

BPA (C)(15):

309. The National Government will move amendments to the National Constitution to guarantee a referendum on Bougainville's future political status.

310. The choices available in the referendum will include a separate independence for Bougainville.

311. (a) The amendments will provide that the outcome will be subject to ratification (final decision-making authority) of the National Parliament.

(b) The autonomous Bougainville Government and the National Government will consult over the results of the referendum.

312. (a) The constitutional amendments will guarantee that the referendum will be held:

• no earlier than 10 years and, in any case, no later than IS years after the election of the first autonomous Bougainville Government;

• when the conditions listed below have been met;

• unless the autonomous Bougainville Government decides, after consultation with the National Government and in accordance with the Bougainville Constitution, that the referendum should not be held.

(b) The conditions to be taken into account include:

• weapons disposal; and

• good governance.

313. (a) The benchmarks to be used in determining good governance will take account of internationally accepted standards of good governance as they are applicable and implemented in the circumstances of Bougainville and the rest of Papua New Guinea. These benchmarks include democracy and opportunities for participation by Bougainvilleans, transparency, and accountability, as well as respect for human rights and the rule of law, including the Constitution of Papua New Guinea.

(b) The National Government and the autonomous Bougainville Government will co-operate in ensuring progress towards the achievement and maintenance of these benchmarks.

(c) The agreed procedures for review and resolution of disputes will be used to determine whether Bougainville has achieved the standard of good governance intended by this Agreement.

314. (a) The referendum on Bougainville's future political status will be conducted in accordance with agreed constitutional arrangements.

(b) The constitutional amendments and any Organic Law required to implement the agreed referendum arrangements will be introduced into the National Parliament together, and drafted to take effect at the same time.

315. Eligibility to vote in the referendum will be the same as for national elections in Bougainville plus non-resident Bougainvilleans (detailed criteria to be finalized through consultation).

316. (a) The question(s) to be asked in the referendum should be clear and agreed by the National Government and the autonomous Bougainville Government.

(b) The choices should be presented so as to facilitate a clear result.

317. The referendum will be free and fair.

318. The National Electoral Commission and the authority responsible for conducting elections in Bougainville will be jointly responsible for conducting the referendum.

319. International observers will be invited to observe the conduct of the referendum.

320. This agreement will be given effect through Constitutional Laws.

Implementation History


No Implementation

The executive branch reform provision here is envisaged in terms of reforms that took place to implement the autonomy provision of the peace agreement, which required constitutional amendments. No initiatives were taken toward constitutional amendments on issue related to Bougainville in 2001.


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 a proposed constitutional amendment and organic law on peacebuilding in Bougainville.2

On September 3, 2002, Bougainville Governor, John Momis, officially announced the appointment of the Bougainville Constitutional Commission (BCC).3 The new constitution would bring substantial reforms to the executive powers of the PNG Government. 

  • 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.

Minimum Implementation

No information available. Constitution committee was formed in September 2002. 


Full Implementation

On 14 January 2004, the National Government handed over the Constitution to the Autonomous Bougainville Government in Arawa.4 The Constitution establishes an autonomous Bougainville, as well as includes a provision for an independence referendum.  

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

Full Implementation

No further developments observed.


Full Implementation

No further developments observed.


Full Implementation

No further developments observed.


Full Implementation

No further developments observed.


Full Implementation

No further developments observed.


Full Implementation

No further developments observed.