Natural Resource Management: Bougainville Peace Agreement

BPA (B)(6):

85. The National Government will provide for the autonomous Bougainville Government to be represented on:

a) delegations negotiating access and other fisheries agreements regarding Bougainville waters and waters beyond the guaranteed three nautical mile limit and within the Exclusive Economic Zone and the continental shelf associated with Bougainville territory; and

b) bodies responsible for determining total allowable catches, licence numbers and reservation of licenses for domestic fishers in such waters.

86. An agreed formula (based on derivation less costs) will provide for National Government fishing revenues from fishing in those waters to be distributed to the autonomous Bougainville Government.

87. The autonomous Bougainville Government will decide on the allocation of an agreed quota of domestic fishing licenses for highly migratory and straddling fish stocks.

88. The autonomous Bougainville Government will be responsible for the sustainable management of other fisheries in Bougainville's waters.

Implementation History

2001

No Implementation

Natural resource management in Bougainville is contingent upon the autonomy provision in the 2001 peace agreement. The Bougainville agreement on an autonomous government for Bougainville was tabled in Parliament on October 17, 2001 for parliamentary approval.1 The agreement, however, was not approved in 2001.

  • 1. "Papua New Guinea: Bougainville agreement tabled before parliament," BBC Monitoring Asia Pacific, October 18, 2001.
2002

No 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.2 On March 27, 2002, PNG parliament voted unanimously in favor of a proposed constitutional amendment and organic law on peacebuilding in Bougainville.3

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

No Implementation

No information available on natural resource management.   

2004

Minimum Implementation

On 14 January 2004, the National Government handed over the Constitution to the Autonomous Bougainville Government in Arawa.4 The constitution established an autonomous Bougainville, but also has a provision for land and natural resources, which establishes the customary rights of Bougainville people. 

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

Intermediate Implementation

Bougainville established control over natural resources in 2004. In 2005, Bougainville governor stressed to diversify the Bougainville economy “with greater revenue from fishing, tourism and mining would insulate Bougainville from commodity price fluctuations.5

  • 5. "Papua New Guinea: Governor stresses need for strong Bougainville economy," BBC Monitoring Asia Pacific, August 8, 2005.
2006

Intermediate Implementation

Bougainville established control over natural resources in 2004. "Members of the Bougainville House of Representatives believe mining is still the main revenue earning thrust for Bougainville. Member for Baubake Constituency in Buin, South Bougainville, Thomas Lugabai supported his Taonita Teop colleague Joseph Gitovea who had compiled and presented a paper on why mining should be seriously looked at to raise the region's ailing economy."6

  • 6. "House Backs Mine Opening," PNG Post Courier, October 22, 2006.
2007

Full Implementation

The Autonomous Bougainville Government had fully established its control over natural resources. In June 2007, ABG Mining Minister, Mathias, said that the ABG would not hesitate to take over any mining and exploration rights on Bougainville. He said that the, “ABG wanted to see, among others, the abandoned Panguna mine reactivated but only under the direction of an acknowledged and proven operator with an outstanding environmental and stakeholder rights record. He said when the Panguna mine first started, the plight of the local landowners was not taken into consideration and nothing was done to enhance direct landowners' involvement."7

  • 7. "Papua New Guinea's Bougainville to safeguard mining stake," BBC Monitoring Asia Pacific, June 20, 2007.
2008

Full Implementation

In 2008, to spearhead the economic recovery, the Autonomous Bougainville Government, led by President Joseph Kabui, entered into an historic agreement with Bougainville Resources Development Corporation (AROB) Ltd (BRDC), granting by way of a commercial contract with BRDC the sole right to deal with resource landowner companies on Bougainville outside the Panguna area. This will be with respect to mining exploration and development for a period of three years with an option to extend to five years. To maintain its rights, BRDC will pay an annual $US5 million (K14.2 million) agreement license fee to the ABG, as well as undertake a $US35 million (K99.8 million) exploration program over the first three years.”8

  • 8. "Bville on recovery trail," PNG Post-Courier, May 1, 2008.
2009

Full Implementation

Bougainville government established full control over natural resources.

2010

Full Implementation

No further developments observed.