What the PNG National Goals mean to me, by Niakupen Pondros

Posted: October 10, 2012 in Culture and traditions, National Goals and Directive Principles, Pacific Ways
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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.


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