Archive for October, 2012

By Joel G. Waramboi

This year PNG celebrated 37 years of nationhood. One thing that has not stopped growing ever since is our population, and in the last 10 years, our population has been growing rapidly at about 2.4% per annum, reaching 7 million people in 2012. During the same period, although there is no concrete data, our per capita gross domestic product (GDP) could have declined dramatically due to several factors like lower outputs from agricultural crops and commodities. On the other hand, the inflation rate has risen, which now sits at around 10%.

This is an alarming trend, and by 2016, the population is expected to be around 12 to 15 million. This will place huge demands on increasing food production and assuring food security for our people. Reports from the Asian Development Bank shows that the natural resources sector (agriculture, forestry, fisheries) contributes almost 70% of total cash income for people in PNG. These industries will continue to be prime movers of the local economy.

From 2014 onwards, revenue inflows are expected from the LNG project. In September last year, the then Agriculture and Livestock minister Sir Puka Temu called on the government to put some of this money into food and agriculture industries. His calling is timely, and must be supported at the political level. In 2005, the PNG Government adopted the Green Revolution and Export-Driven Economic Recovery Strategy. For the sector, this strategy was aimed at improving production and creating market demands for our crops to meet growing domestic demand, and also to seek export market opportunities.

In recent years, we have seen several vehicles that could have taken the sector forward, like the Public Investment Programme and the National Agriculture Development Plan, go by. Last year, a forum aimed at setting a roadmap for policy intervention to develop the food and agriculture sector was held in Madang. We hope this translates into tangible outcomes that can spur growth and development in PNG.

Several projects and programmes have been tried out before on tree crops, livestock, fisheries and other natural resources industries. But as far as food crops are concerned, no investments have been made. One potential food crop that requires minimal capital injection is the sweet potato (kaukau). Since being introduced nearly 300 years ago, it is now the most important food crop in terms of both production and consumption. Total annual production for PNG has been estimated at 2.9 million tonnes, with the Southern (620,000) Eastern (470,000) and Western (425,000) highlands provinces being the main producers, followed by Enga (340,000) and Chimbu (294,000).

It is a staple food, and provides 64% of the energy needs for people. Five years ago, per capita consumption was 2.2 kg/person/year, and this year, increased to 2.8 kg/person/year. One reason to explain this is that, in the last 10 years, sweet potato has been traded in increasing volumes as a cash crop in urban centres of Port Moresby, Lae, Kokopo and other centres.

There are many constraints that affect production and marketing of the crop, including soil fertility, rats (which can destroy up to 10% of the crop), poor access to roads, lack of farmer extension services, and poor post-harvest handling practices that lead to rotting, broken roots and subsequent loss in monetary value. Currently, a few ‘commercial’ sweetpotato farmers are located in the Asaro and Waghi valleys, who grow mainly for coastal urban markets.

Currently, utilisation and consumption of sweetpotato in PNG has primarily been in the form of boiled or roasted roots. There is no processing of the crop. In the past, some research and product development work was done at the PNG Unitech into products like flour, chips, crisps and composite bread. Recently, NARI successfully released sweetpotato based feeds (silage) for pigs. Experiences from Vietnam and China have shown that the crop could be highly utilized for livestock production, where it constitutes 70% of pig feeds.

Past and current R&D work on sweetpotato suggest that it can be a potential commercial crop for PNG. On-farm processing of sweetpotato could form an additional income-generating activity where a constant supply of the fresh roots and demand for processed products is secured. With government assistance, this industry can be transformed from its currently under-utilised status to a commercially viable industry.

Sweetpotato processing is increasingly being commercialized in many countries in Africa, Asia and the United States. In Australia, the sweetpotato industry is worth A$40 million annually.

There is low-cost extrusion equipment available, costing as low as $10,000 (K24,000) with production capacity of 30 kg/hour. These have successfully been used in rural communities in Vietnam, China, Peru, Kenya and other countries to make noodles, pasta, vermicelli, flakes, crackers, puffs and other products. Besides extruded foods, these communities have also used sweet potato flour for substituted biscuits, bread and scones, while fresh roots have been processed into chips and crisps.

Currently, fresh kaukau roots are sold at around K2-5 per kg in the open markets in PNG. Although there are no statistics, some rough calculations show that, if processed, the dry flour could cost as low as K0.80 per kg, providing a cheaper product compared to wheat flour. This means that, retail margins can be relatively good for entrepreneurs. Processing not only increases the utilisation and consumption, but also fetches premium prices if sold, increases cash income opportunities for people, and avoids bulkiness during handling. Sweetpotato processing technologies are relatively simple, and can be adopted easily through farmer co-operatives and women’s groups.

Generally, there appears to be a strong and all-year round demand for processed products. Changing food habits, increasing urbanisation, demographic changes and population growth are all positive factors that can make food processing a viable option in PNG.

The PNG government and all line agencies must now take a complete policy shift and focus, and realign both macro-economic and sectoral policies, and allocate funding and resources to develop the agriculture and food processing industries in the country. Alongside this, it should also invest in rural infrastructure programmes to create enabling environment that will support industry development and growth in rural communities.

We should also take a stock of what and why the industry has not developed over the many years. If past investment options (if any) have not worked, what other models and options can we try? How about setting up an organisation specifically mandated to drive development in this sector? It is about time that the food and agriculture sector takes this course to revolutionise and harness its potential to the fullest. Until and unless this is done, crops like sweetpotato will continue to be treated as poor man’s crop.

Downstream processing and value addition has the potential to benefit en masse, raise the economic value, and create market demand for local crops. It will also improve food security and cash income levels, increase trade and replace/substitute imports, thereby contributing to broad-based economic growth and improvement in the living standards of the people.

The National Goals are in our Constitution so that people can abide by them and become true citizens living in our Pacific ways. The Pacific or Melanesian ways of living in this contextrefers to our ways of sharing things, how we communicate and socialise, how we solve problems, how we do business, and so on.

Our first National Goal, Integral Human Development, declares the goal “for every person to be dynamically involved in the process of freeing himself or herself from every form of domination or oppression so that each man or woman will have the opportunity to develop as a whole person in relationship with others”.
This goal emphasises that development of Papua New Guineans should come about through collective efforts as well as the efforts of individuals seeking fulfilment through his or her contribution to the common good.

Development through collective efforts means that everyone must work together as a family, a community and as nation to accomplish what we want to satisfy our needs. To develop ourselves, other people and our country as a whole. Working together as a group is important rather than working in isolation, because people are unequal physically, intellectually and economically. Collective effort in which people are supporting each other for the common good must be encouraged in PNG.

At the same time, individual effort is important. This simply means that each person has to work and contribute in one way or another to help develop herself or himself, other people, and the country. Each individual should promote peace, harmony and respect so that no-one else is oppressed or limited from doing something to help build their society. Male or female, young or old, married or unmarried it doesn’t matter. Each and everyone has to work to sustain and develop himself or herself first. And individuals must see themselves as important and equal to all others.

This goal can also partly be achieved through the assistance of national government by providing the goods and services which people ordinarily cannot provide for themselves. This includes the provision of basic goods and services such as health, education, road and transport links, and other necessities for people to enhance their basic standard of living.

People also demand from government economic development, such as increasing or subsidising local commodity prices so people can earn enough money from their hard work to sustain their living. People demand social development, such as education, religious activities and sports, to socialise and make friends so we can learn from one another and make life interesting. Moreover, people demand legal and political development, because we want to enjoy our rights, freedom and liberty in PNG without discrimination, domination or oppression.

– Belden Makuku is a Business Studies student at Unitech.

Among the five National Goals as laid in our constitution, my essay is based on the fourth Goal: “for Papua New Guinea’s natural resources and environment to be conserved and used for the collective benefit of everyone, and be replenished for future generations’’.

The natural resources in this respect are basically the minerals (such as gold, copper, etc.), gas, oil, fish, trees/logs, and so on that are mainly exploited in the name of money.

Many people have been making comments that our country’s progress, our peoples’ development, is not picking up well despite the natural resources-base that we have in this country. Some are blaming poor governance, that is, the lack of service-delivery regardless of major revenue generating activities that are going on. It is very alarming to see our revenue generating resources are fast depleting to a level of being irreplaceable. Thus, the outcome of these activities which are supposed to be for our collective benefit are mostly benefiting only the top people up the hierarchy, contrary to our fourth national goal. And it also seems that our future generations will be missing out, if this trend continues.

You would also see that there is no proper educational awareness of cons and pros of our natural resources exploitation activities that are going on in this country. Our national goals are just lying idle, collecting dust on the shelf, without proper dissemination of this very important piece of information to every person. I don’t know if our MPs (the chief policy makers of this land) in Parliament realise the importance of our National Goals and Directive Principles? But these national goals are in our constitution as guiding principles towards the management of this nation. Likewise, it also applies to our top bureaucrats of this nation: they should also be considerate of this goal

Villagers throughout the nation should also be made aware of this national goal so that they can help conserve our environment and natural resources, rather than involving themselves in the devastating activities in the name of ‘development’ promised by exploitative mining, logging, oil palm and other companies.

I am very scared of the way our natural resources are being handled. The way these natural resources-devastating activities are going on at this time in our country is very frightening. These money generating natural resources extractive activities and bush-clearing are going on all around the country rapidly and simultaneously. We must all bear in mind that this is an island nation that we need to take extra preventative measures to safeguard our scarce natural resources that we have at the moment. We have to conserve some of it for future generations’ benefit as well, and not extract everything at one go.

We seem to be rushing out things for today’s survival and/or for personal gains only. We don’t seem to be caring about the consequences that will come upon us as a result of.

Just try to think what your home used to be in the past, say just 10 years ago: the forest that you used to see around has now gone and planting and other activities have been substituted on it. At the same time, the population of this nation is booming in every community. We must also bear in mind that we are not a continent state like Australia or USA. We are only an island nation. I strongly believe that one day there is going to be a down-turn of this nation. And that day in question is fast approaching and will collapse this nation. Our good dreams about this nation will all go down the drain, if we are not seriously considering this fourth national goal for the overall good of this nation.

Therefore, we must try to learn from other countries who once were in our shoes but their economy has now collapsed. Like for example, Nauru. History tells that it used to be very rich in phosphate extractions and used to provide donor-funding to other Micronesian nations in need. But what is Nauru like today? Now that all its phosphate is gone, it is back to zero and worse. Now it is solely surviving from receiving donor funds, and has to accept unwanted developments such as an Australian asylum seeker detention centre.

So what lesson is Nauru telling us? It is about time we need to be very careful in exploiting our natural resources because money is not always everything, nor is it the solution to all our problems. We have to think and do things that will last and sustain this nation as a whole now and in years to come.

– Yorine Inove is a Department of Business Studies student at the University of Technology, Lae.

Rita Aroga, Grade 8, Holy Spirit Primary School, Madang

The fourth goal of Papua New Guinea is for its natural resources and environment to be conserved and used for the collective benefit of everyone and be replenished for future generations.

The environment is everything around us including our resources. Papua New Guinea is well known for its land and water resources. A resource is anything that we have the knowledge of using. Banana is a food resource for many Papua New Guineans; kunai grass is a resource traditionally used for building houses and stone is a non-renewable resource used in making tools and axes.

Papua New Guinea has traditional subsistence lifestyles. We have plenty of natural resources and we use these for food, medicine and building houses and canoes.

  • Land resources include plants, soil, domestic animals, wildlife, minerals, forest, swamps and wetlands. They meet our basic human needs.
  • Water resources come in different forms: oceans, rivers, mangroves, marine life etc.

All of these land and water resources are for personal use or for an income. However, as population increases the consumption of these resources is becoming unsustainable. This is because of poor management and the selfish attitude of people.

The use of land and water resources must be managed wisely if we are to provide for the needs of people now and in the future. There is a need for appropriate ways of managing resources. Some of these include: conservation, reforestation, sustainable fishing/hunting/gathering, coral reef protection, protection of the natural environment, water conservation, wildlife management etc. If these resources are mismanaged, human life is in danger.

Sustainability and conservation methods are needed in order to preserve these resources for the next generation.

The exploiting or taking away of resources is happening in both land and water resources. In our country today, exploitation is taking place in three main areas; that is in the sea, on the land, and under the ground.

  • In the sea, fishing is the common purpose of exploitation. We have big fishing companies who use illegal fishing methods. For example, a large fishing boat from RD canners is using a large trawling net to catch tuna. The boat pulls the net very slowly while it swallows anything passing by including young breeding stock and their habitat. The entire marine environment is destroyed at that time. The boat makes one harvest and all the tunas are gone in that particular fishing zone. They take certain sizes and quantity and the rest (already dead) are thrown back into the sea. This then creates major problems such as a decrease in the endangered species and water pollution. This type of fishing should be banned by the government and the companies should find a more safe method of fishing.
  • On the land, forest environments are becoming scarce because people clear the land for agricultural purposes, infrastructure development and the introduction of logging companies Forest areas must be conserved because most of our basic needs come from it. For instance, a man living along the [Gogol] River wanted to make canoes for his family. He selected a few mature trees and cut them. He made the canoes but according to an awareness of future generations, he replanted young new ones so his sons and their children may be able to make canoes in the future.
  • When exploitation takes place under the earth’s surface, we know that it is generally mining of minerals. We have a lot of operating and possible mine-sites in our country but the question is: minerals are non-renewable resources which means nature does not replace them, so if all of them are exploited today, what will our future generations benefit from? This question should be reconsidered by the government very carefully before allowing mining companies to advance onto our local areas. They must think of sustainable ways and how to manage these resources so that they won’t run out very quickly. One solution could be to only allow four major operating mines, one in each of the four regions. The other mines can be closed and re-opened when the fixed time is up. In that way, we can save some of the minerals for future generations.

The environment as a whole must be protected and conservation law enforced if we are to provide for the needs of people now and in the future. In addition to that, sustainability and conservation practices depend on our positive actions as well as positive attitudes.

Conservation has always been important in the traditional life of Papua New Guinea. There are many ways that our natural resources and environment can be conserved. The wise use of resources depends on our attitudes towards the environment. We should reuse, recycle and replant, use traditional and safe methods and good practices. In this way, our needs are satisfied while safeguarding resources for the next generation.

Conserving is an appropriate way of managing resources. By conserving resources people can use the same garden land without cutting down more forest. Reforestation – that is, repantin young trees after old ones have been cut down, is another way. Sustainable fishing, hunting and gathering are good sustainable practices that involve taking only what you need for useful purposes.

Community leaders must educate people so that they use the reef wisely to meet their needs as well as sustain it for future generations. Wildlife management is needed in order to preserve our beautiful birds, butterflies and animals. If they are not protected, they will be in danger of extinction. Good management can allow wildlife to flourish in their natural environment.

There are many ways to protect our environment and natural resource, both modern and traditional, but traditional methods are the best when it comes to conservation of resources.

Papua New Guinea is a mountainous, rainforest covered country located on the western edge of the Pacific Ocean. It is a country richly blessed with natural resources. This essay is based on my thoughts on the fourth national goal of Papua New Guinea which calls for wise use of natural resources and the environment for current and future generations.

Underground resource exploitation

In Papua New Guinea, underground resource exploitation is a major income resource and has dominated the economy since the 1970s. Unfortunately, these activities can cause widespread and diverse damage to the environment, including destruction to vegetation and wildlife around the mine areas.

An example is the Ramu nickel mine in Madang Province. The locals near the mining area have an ongoing battle with the mine management over the company dumping 100 million tonnes of mine waste into the Basamuk Bay over a period of 20 years. This will damage the marine ecosystem in the bay, reducing critical sources of food and income for the local people. In April, it was reported that several ships carrying Ramu mine processing plants spilled chemicals into the Basamuk Bay, causing bleaching to the coral reefs. It was also reported that people have been removed forcefully from their homes to make way for the mine. This also led to the destruction of sites that are culturally significant to the local people.

Environments around minesites cannot be easily restored to their original richness in diverse fauna, flora and animal life. Traditional medicine, plants for body paints, wild edible fruits, greens, roots and native animal habitat are destroyed for good.  Destruction to river life and ocean life occurs when mine waste are dumped in them.

All underground resource exploitation causes environmental damage. Even though mining brings revenue into a country and creates job opportunities, it damages the land, river systems and oceans. People affected by mining lose food sources from the forest, rivers and sea through contamination from mine waste. The fish, animals and birds which feed in such habitats move away or die in large numbers. Therefore people who depend on food from the forest, rivers and seas are left with reduced vegetables, fruits, nuts, fish, animals and birds to hunt, catch or collect for food.

After the life of the exploitation of mineral resources, the local people may be left with nothing but a mining ghost town, if they have not invested well their royalty benefits during the life of the mine.  Our country must seriously consider the advantages and disadvantages of exploitation of its mineral resources and make a decision on whether it should allow the large scale exploitation of its mineral resources in future.

Logging Industry

PNG is reported to have the largest area of rainforest left in the Asia- Pacific region. Forestry in Papua New Guinea contributes 4% of GDP and is dominated by Malaysian logging companies. However, between 70-90% of all timber exports derive from illegal logging – one of the highest rates in the world. In areas where illegal logging occurs, there is generally minimal monitoring of tree harvesting. In such cases, all kinds of trees are harvested whether they are mature or not, the right size or not, or the right type of wood or not. The loggers are also not generally concerned with the practice of reforestation. They harvest and leave, and do little or nothing to replant new native trees of the same species of trees that have been harvested.

This can lead to the loss of habitat of many animal and plant species. Native plant species will die out and animal species will move to other similar habitats which may be long distances away from the people’s villages. The migration of the animals and the death of plants will affect the people who depend so much on them for their survival.  If the responsible authorities monitor the logging companies’ activities and demand reforestation through appropriate legislation, there may be enough trees left for future generations to use. Animals and birds will also remain in the forest for the people to hunt for food in future.

Fishing Industry

PNG’s seas are full of valuable marine resources and have the largest fisheries zone in the South Pacific, measuring 2.4 million to 3.1 million square kilometres. The fisheries sector in PNG contributes only 1% of the GDP but is extensive and ranges from inland fisheries, aquaculture, coastal beche-de-mer and reef fisheries, to the prawn trawl and large-scale tuna fisheries. However, having a large fisheries zone presents an enormous challenge for monitoring and controlling fishing vessels in PNG’s EEZ (Exclusive Economic Zone).

In recent months, groups of people have been arrested for illegal fishing in PNG waters. The use of nets and dynamite fishing for commercial purposes can lead to overfishing especially when fishing activities are not monitored well by the responsible authorities. It is a common practice in some parts of PNG to use explosives to stun or kill marine life. Dynamite fishing is used to harvest large quantities of fish for commercial purposes. This is an illegal and very dangerous practice and it kills all marine life in areas that are dynamited. Meanwhile, in net fishing, nets are cast into the ocean/ rivers and are pulled along by boats trapping not only fish but other marine life as well. A lot of other marine life is killed during this process.

If large quantities of marine and freshwater stock are destroyed through regular use of these methods of fishing, there will be reduced or no marine life left for future generations. Unfortunately, traditional ways of sustainable fishing, such as restrictions on fishing at certain times of year to allow for regeneration marine life, is no longer observed and practiced by many PNG communities because of the influence of commercial fishing. To ensure that there is sufficient fish and marine food for future generations, communities in coastal areas have to revive traditional sustainable practices such as sea farming of fish, clams, seaweed and prawns and marine regeneration practices.


I have discussed three types of natural resources exploitation in Papua New Guinea. These are underground resource exploitation, logging and fishing. Here are some of my recommendations for sustainability of natural resources:

  • The government should reinforce the Environment and Conservation act and ALLOW the people to challenge deals concerning the extraction of resources from their land;
  • Appropriate authorities must regularly monitor all land and marine exploitation activities in the country to ensure environmental damage is minimal;
  • Conduct awareness programs for the communities affected about the different types of exploitation of lands and their effects on their food and income resources.

-Stephanie Paraide, Grade 9, St. Joseph’s International Catholic College Port Moresby

As the pre-independence Papua New Guinea Constitutional Planning Committee rummaged the length and breadth of what was soon to be the new PNG, the many thoughts of the citizens were given. These were all compiled into what we call the National Goals and Directive Principles.

The very first goal outlines what the Constitutional Planning Committee wanted every citizen Papua New Guinea to reach, in order to unify and strengthen the state.

In simplified terms, Integral Human Development is the ‘creation of a person that is ‘whole’ or a ‘complete being’ within the state of Papua New Guinea. In the Constitutional Planning Committee Report (1974) it is written:

This means that we use the term development to mean nothing less than the unending process of improvement of every man and woman as a whole person. We take our stand on the dignity and worth of each Papua New Guinean man, woman and child.

‘Dignity’ and ‘worth’ of every Papua New Guinean is what the citizens wanted as the very first goal of Papua New Guinea as a nation as from 1975. The people wanted the independent state of Papua New Guinea to be the catalyst towards citizens respecting each other. Through citizens seeing value in each other, development should flow freely for all, the First Goal argues.

When the lawmakers tapped into Integral Human Development, they addressed the human person as a ‘whole’. For in the ‘whole’ human person, we connote the three main parts of a person: a man is made up of the spiritual, physical and mental components. Manifestation into these parts meant the Constitution was truly holistic. It was dedicating itself into getting every PNG citizen to be free spiritually, physically and mentally.

In the spiritual aspect of life, for example, the National Constitution was to uphold the Melanesian traditions, cultures or norms that connect the man to his environment. I say this because Melanesians were spiritual beings long before Western colonisation of our islands.

In terms of physical well-being, by enshrining Integral Human Development as priority number one, the government was telling the world that it would provide for its citizens. Equality, fairness and justice in the political, economic and social spheres was its obligation. This would imply, for example, that poverty would be eradicated for every citizen. In terms of mental well-being, the first goal implies the state is to provide easy access to services such as education and health care, without discrimination.

To the Constitutional Planning Committee, providing these things were the new nation’s top duty. It recognised that by a total commitment to the people, the newly independent nation could create a stable and viable state where every person was free to access and benefit from every development in Papua New Guinea.

To me, positive change for Papua New Guinea’s progress was well catered for on paper. The National Goals provide a nice foundation for any nation builder’s strategizing. But the leadership, on the other hand, were already engaged in denying citizens from seeing his or her fellow countryman or woman as having his or her own ‘dignity and worth’.

Inequality and injustice was what the colonial administration blessed the government of Papua New Guinea with to start off as an independent country, directly contradicting its written laws including National Goal number one.

A classic case in this regard is my Solomon island of Bougainville. The Government of Papua New Guinea was not willing to respect our ‘dignity and worth’ as non-Papua New Guineans. It was not willing to allow us to develop with our own values, despite goal number one, and despite being a member of the United Nations that protects minorities or marginalised peoples against all forms of genocide, exploitation and suppression.

At the cost of Bougainvillean land and people’s ‘dignity and worth’, Papua New Guinea was trying to get the new state up and running economically. Our dignity and worth was nothing to the state, which was built to sustain the bicycle tyre called Papua New Guinea and not those spokes that strengthen that tyre to carry the country.

And today, despite our very first goal being ‘Integral Human Development’, we still witness Papua New Guineans denying each others’ dignity and worth.

In summary, Integral Human Development is for the state to empower each individual citizen’s dignity and worth in its own unique setting for a harmonious national sustenance and developmental progress. But, for Papua New Guinea, the respect for its citizen’s dignity and worth has been neglected in the name of national progress, at the expense of the development of each citizen as a whole person.

We must look after our natural resources and environment. In the past people used resources to meet their own immediate needs. Nowadays people need cash income and practices have changed.

Mismanagement practices can bring short-term benefit and long-term losses. Forests have been cleared for large-scale plantations, logging, agriculture and minerals exploitation. When pollution takes place it destroys the natural resources and environment.

Therefore we must look after our resources and environment for the future generations.

– Grade 6, Holy Spirit Primary School

Equality and Participation

Equality and Participation is the second National Goal and Directive Principle that is discussed here. This Goal and Directive Principle say: “We declare our second goal to be for every citizen to have an equal opportunity to participate in and benefit from the development of our country”. That is, all PNG citizens – male, female, children and others have an equal right to take part in the political, economic, social, religious and cultural life of the country.

Today, are the ordinary citizens of this nation given the equal opportunity to take part and benefit from any activity? Do Papua New Guinean citizens truly enjoy equality in government services, equal participation by women, participation in every aspect of development, the means provided for them to exercise creativity, the achievement of universal literacy, the right to a stable family life?

Our economic system in PNG is not equally distributed. Despite our natural resources, we still face an economic crisis, because certain people are enjoying the wealth and resources while others are suffering. For example, the benefit in terms of money and employment from PNG Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) go to the landowners and its employees alone, not all citizens of this nation. Yet the second goal calls for every effort to be made to achieve an equitable distribution of incomes and other benefits of development among individuals and throughout the various parts of the country.

The second National Goal also calls for the creation of political structures that enable effective, meaningful participation by our people in that life, and in view of the rich cultural and ethnic diversity of our people for those structures to provide for substantial decentralization of all forms of government activity.

However, since independence, politics has become synonymous with corrupt practices like stealing public funds, accepting bribery and playing nepotism in the higher offices. Such practices prevent meaningful participation by our people. Meanwhile, it has become common that men with a high income and a lot of cargo are able to take part in elections while more women and men with little money are being deprived of their right to participation.

The Second Goal further calls for equality of services in all parts of the country, and for every citizen to have equal access to legal processes and all services, governmental and otherwise, that are required for the fulfillment of his or her real needs and aspirations.

Yet the majority of the people are unaware of any government services. Many people do not have access to adequate road, health and education services. Where is the decentralization of all forms of government activity? Obviously, there is no evidence to suggest that any government since Independence has created political structures for the equal benefit of the entire population.

Successive governments since independence have forgotten about the many Papua New Guineans marginalised and isolated largely by vast geographically terrains and the lack of a road link with the outside world. This is the case in my home in Nipa Kutubu electorate in the Southern Highlands Province, where there is no road. Many parts of the country are still in darkness in terms of basic services, meaning that there is no equal distribution of government services. There is no effort made to achieve an equitable distribution of incomes and other benefits of development.

The second goal further calls for equal participation by women citizens in all political, economic, social and religious activities. Politically, women are far behind men despite the three female elected members in the parliament in the current election (2012). Men and women would have been equally represented in politics if there had been more than 40 or 50 female members voted into Parliament. At present there are only three female members out of the 111 Members.

Nor do women have equal participation in all economic, social and religious activities. However, according to Papua New Guinea population statistics the number of women is greater than men. Does the government maximize the opportunities for women to participate in the development of the nation? Evidently, there is no equal participation by women.

Moreover, the second goal calls for means to be provided to ensure that any citizen can exercise his personal creativity and enterprise in pursuit of fulfillment that is consistent with the common good, and for no citizen to be deprived of this opportunity because of the predominant position of another. It is obvious everywhere that jealousy is one of the main factors depriving the rights of individual or group from partaking in activities that would sustain their lives. At the same time, people fear that if they start up a business, they would end up losing their lives by thugs. For instance, the Post Courier (‘Pregnant woman pack raped, dies’, August 21, 2012), reported that a pregnant woman was raped and killed on her way to Bogia to sell their garden produce at the local market. These threats mean that women are indirectly deprived of their right to pursue income generation safely, without fear of their lives. What is the government’s stance on the safety of our market women, who work to feed our families and communities?

It is absolutely clear there is no participation either directly or indirectly by many societies in the decision-making process in this country, despite the fact those decisions affect all individuals. The majority of people are not aware of what the government is doing. This is due to the lack of development in education, road, health and other basic services. Evidently, high illiteracy is the main factor that prevents participation. The National (‘Stocking Literacy Statistics’,August 16, 2012), stated that 43.8% of Papua New Guineans are illiterate. Thus decisions in many societies are made by the educated people – the majority follows them without knowing the outcome of the decision.

At the national level the government makes the decision for every citizen of this nation. However, the consequences will be faced by everybody. Therefore, the government needs to ensure any government activity reaches the community level. Thus, every citizen will not only take part and benefit from the government activities but will have the chance to air their views on matters that will affect them. Otherwise, few people will continue to participate and the majority of the nation’s citizens will remain blind and deaf.

Finally, the second goal calls for recognition of the principles of the equality of rights and duties of married partners, and for responsible parenthood to be based on that equality. As observed in many societies, marriages today are not stable. There is no trust, cooperation and enjoyment in many of the families. Many families are divorcing, and in the process innocent children are displaced, some dying of hunger and others deprived of their right to an education – resulting in them roaming the streets and preying on other people. This is a total indication that there is no equality and rights practiced in the family. Family is the backbone of any development. Thus government has to stabilize family first before any other development takes place. Otherwise, PNG will remain stagnant in terms of development.

It is clear the government has done very little since Independence to achieve Equality and Participation in PNG. The government has to start at the family level, to provide the basic services that enable all people to participate in and contribute to development. Then and only then will the development of Papua New Guinea go forward in a way that benefits all citizens.




The aim of the first National Goal is ‘for every person to be allowed to be dynamically involved in the process of freeing himself or herself from every form of domination or oppression so that every woman and man will have the opportunity to develop as a whole person in relationship with others’.

What then do we mean by ‘Integral Human Development? We can say that Integral Human Development is all about the holistic approach to dealing with the affairs of Papua New Guineans. By holistic, we are talking about the economic, social, cultural, and spiritual aspects of human beings as an approach to addressing some of our national issues.

How can people be dynamically involved in the process of freeing themselves from every form of dominance or oppression?

Forms of dominance or oppression that are stopping individuals to develop freely as a whole person in relationship with others include: lack of education, unemployment, gender bias, discrimination/stigma (HIV/AIDS victims), crime, poverty, child abuse/neglect, disability, violence etc. Those vulnerable to domination by others include: people with disability, old age, women, children, unemployed, less educated, and men and women of lower status.


The economic approach to integral human development is to do with empowering Papua New Guineans to participate meaningfully in economic activities to sustain a living. Those who are unemployed must seek ways to help themselves. It is amazing how women in business have expanded. These are women with integrity and power. They have realised that they have potential and cannot be dependent on their spouse. They work in order to earn that respect.

Economic wise, people should not rely heavily on government handouts but must be innovative in their economic activities so that they can manage their own living. Our country must be self-reliant.


Social aspects of integral human development might encompass literacy, education, unemployment, poverty, and crime, for example.

One of the factors that contributed to lower literacy rate is a lack of education. People have their reasons as to why their education was not completed. In most cases, people could not complete their schooling because of the cost of education. Some others aren’t given a choice: think of those young women who had to leave school to marry so they could take care of their families. These are individuals who have dreams and potential to do greater things. Some of them may have been forced into these things with or without the awareness of their human rights. They have had their right to Integral Human Development stolen.

Women in Papua New Guinea have always been looked down on in a male dominated society despite their achievements. How can Papua New Guinea achieve Integral Human Development without humanity and respect for fellow citizens? We have to change the mindset we have towards each other. No matter the ethnicity or sex we carry, we must begin to realize that we are equal and can depend on each other as we work together towards the common good of Papua New Guinea. Women and men, we need each other. No one should be deprived of their human rights.


Papua New Guinea is going through a transition from traditional culture to modernization. The impact of modernization is evident in the world today. And as Papua New Guinea is part of the global community, people and cultures must adapt to these changes.

Although our cultures identify who we are, some of the beliefs are unfair and ridiculous. For example, in traditional times and according to our cultures, a man who had wealth, status and role was an important person that must be respected and people had to be submissive to. Oftentimes, justice and fairness could not prevail. Men were seen as more important than women. Women were totally submissive to men and they could not express their views or opinions.

Today, most women remain afraid of letting their voices be heard. They are afraid to talk about rape, domestic violence and other issues because of fear and cultural constraints. This has affected many of them socially and psychologically. Man has labelled woman as inferior: this is a mentality that we must encourage all women to brush aside. We must support them in their pursuit of life without dominance and oppression.


Just how can one achieve a life without dominance and oppression by others? As individuals, we have our own dreams and passions and we cannot rely on others to support us all the way. We should not be dependent on others for our own happy endings.

At the same time, as much as possible, we must encourage and promote unity in our land. Women and children must be encouraged and given the opportunity to participate meaningfully in their communities.

We need respect and we must be respected. The preamble law of Papua New Guinea says that all of us, regardless of whether we are men or women, rich or poor, superior or inferior, we all have human rights which should be respected.

Integral human development is the way forward and provides the way towards sustainable development. With this national goal, Papua New Guineans must understand that they have basic human rights. Regardless of whether we are men or women, integral human development as a national goal emphasises our rights to education, literacy, employment, health care, security and safe relationships. With integral human development, we have the freedom of speech, choice, and expression. Achieving this one goal means Papua New Guinea can achieve all the other four national goals as these goals are part of Integral Human Development. Achieving the first one paves the way for the rest.

On 16 September 1975, the Australian government granted PNG its political independence. But financially we are still looking up to Australia, for grants and aids. Because of the large sum of aid money injected into the country, the government has been trying its best to pay back the money by reaping the country’s mineral resources, without considering what the five National Goals and Directive Principles spell out. We’ve been having our very own indigenous people in the parliament who haven’t been considering the five goals fully in their decision-making arenas. So, since 1975 these goals seemed to be in the preamble only to add flavour to the Constitution.

Actually, these principles should serve as guidelines for our decision-makers in the leadership poles. The negligence of these five simple Goals and Directive Principles are bringing disorder into our homes, communities and the whole nation.
On that note, let’s look at the 4th National Goal and Directive Principle, regarding Natural Resources and Environment: “We declare our fourth goal to be for 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 generations.”

Sadly, the fourth National Goal has not been considered by our governments. The history of mining, logging and other extractive industries in PNG shows this clearly. The initial part of the process includes the clearing of the forest which destroys the home of the wildlife; these species go into extinction since they cannot adapt to the environment they are left with. Within the time span of the mining operation, so many issues and or problems arise especially socially, economically, politically and psychologically.

That is, the relationship of the people with the nature is cut-off when the trees are all cut down, leaving nothing for future generations. Economically, the landowners get a very small portion from the production by the company which causes political chaos between the government and the people, while losing their land and resources which would provide for them and future generations for all time. Psychologically, the environmental victims are left traumatised when their cries are ignored by the leaders.

Why would a mother leave her own child to starve to death? This clearly shows that the fourth National Goal has not been serving its purpose and just collecting dust on those papers. Now the question is: were the National Goals written for the sake of intellectuals putting their knowledge on paper? No. Their relevance lies to guide decision makers to make better decisions which will not serve the interest of the rich class only but all Papua New Guineans, despite language and cultural differences. Generally, we can say that we Papua New Guineans have been blindfolded by money and tend to forget our national guidelines in international arenas or discussion tables.

Decision Makers must use the fourth National Goal to weigh the benefits, consequences and follow up tests before signing contracts to allow the operation of such activities that reap off our land. But individuals must also take ownership of these goals, too. Change starts with individuals first. I strongly believe that PNG has a brighter future in the years to come if the mindset of individual Papua New Guineans is set right by taking the National Goals and Directive Principles as our footstools.

– Eleanor Maineke, Divine Word University, Madang