Showing posts with label Sustainable Development Goals 2030. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Sustainable Development Goals 2030. Show all posts

A Contrarian View of Sustainable Development in Papua New Guinea in the Next 50 Years

Papua New Guinea (PNG) is a developing country with a young and growing population. The economy is largely resource-based, with mining, oil, and gas accounting for a significant share of GDP. However, the country also faces a number of challenges, including poverty, inequality, and corruption.

This article presents a contrarian view of development in PNG, with politics at the centre of the discussion. It argues that the country needs a fresh perspective on development, one that is driven by visionary and humble leadership.

Sustainable Development in Papua New Guinea in the Next 50 Years

Highlights and Lows of the Past 50 Years

The first two decades (1960s - 1980s) of PNG's independence showed immense promise. The economy was booming, and the Kina stood at par with the US dollar. 

Roads, infrastructure, and essential services were being built. However, from the mid-1980s to 1990s, the country's trajectory took a sharp turn as certain political leaders deviated from the development path, plunging PNG into a downward spiral.

Politicians Leading with Humility

One glaring issue that has plagued PNG's development is the stark contrast between the privileges enjoyed by politicians and the struggles faced by ordinary citizens. Politicians often seek medical treatment and education abroad, perceiving local facilities as inferior. This attitude needs to change.

To drive a contrarian approach to development, politicians should attend local hospitals, send their children to provincial high schools, and invest in the development of local facilities. This would demonstrate a commitment to public service and send a powerful message to the people.

Power to Transform

To bridge the gap between political privilege and public hardship, legislation must be enacted to ensure that lawmakers, who hold the power to use public funds wisely, lead by example.

Lawmakers need to realise that they can provide the best health and education services in PNG without going overseas. When they build it at home, everyone can enjoy its benefits.

In the next 50 years, one significant change that should take place is that politicians must "feel powerless." This may sound counterintuitive, but it means that they should operate within the bounds of the law and the judiciary, free from a sense of entitlement or immunity. This shift towards accountability and responsibility is essential for sustainable development.

Sustainable Development in Papua New Guinea in the Next 50 Years

Service Over Wealth: The Humble Path to Progress

To serve the people effectively, politicians must be driven by a deep love for their constituents. This entails sacrificing personal wealth and humbling themselves to prioritise the welfare of the nation over personal gain.

A modest salary relative to doctors, nurses, and teachers reflects a commitment to public service. Politicians can lead by example and prioritize the welfare of the people by:

  • Using local services, such as hospitals and schools.
  • Empowering law enforcement bodies to hold them accountable.
  • Accepting a salary that is comparable to other essential workers.
  • Respecting the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary.
  • Putting the needs of the people ahead of their own personal interests.

Remember that a higher pay packet does not equate to serving the people well. By taking these actions, politicians can make a real difference in the lives of their constituents and help to build a better future for their country.


As Papua New Guinea looks back on 50 years of independence and ahead to the next half-century, it is evident that a fresh perspective on development is urgently needed. Politicians must lead by example, focusing on building local infrastructure, feeling accountable to the law, and prioritising the welfare of the people. 

It is only by taking this contrarian approach that PNG can embark on a more sustainable and equitable path to development.

Is 10 Years of Free Education Policy Addressing the Education for All Agenda 2030?

The free education policy was implemented at different stages in PNG since independence. The 'Implementation' in the earlier years was short-lived because they were introduced just before the national general elections

PNG Insight's in-depth analysis of the TFF (Tuition Fee Free Policy since 2012), shows that the Free Education Policy misses the Education for All Agenda 2030. 

Though the policy intent was valid, there were serious issues affecting the funding, implementation, monitoring and governing aspects of the policy. 

Free Education Policy - Education for All

After 10 years (2012 - 2022), there is little to show for - no policy platform, no review and no strategic planning. 

So, how does the PNG govt, now or after the election, provide a STRONG POLICY PLATFORM for the Free Education Policy to really address the Education for ALL agenda?

Here is a Tweet that aims to put the spotlight on this very issue - and get people talking!

India's Education for All Act

The Rights to Education Act in India sets in stone the government's responsibility to educate every child. It is no longer a political point-scoring agenda, but a development agenda. 

In brief, the Act titled  “the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act” was passed by the Indian Parliament in August 2009. When the Act came into force in 2010, India became one among 135 countries where education is a fundamental right of every child. [RTE, 2010]

In PNG context, this is a timely discussion because the country just does not (again) wait for elections to come around so that pesty politicians can go around 'kicking the TFF policy like a rugby ball'.

Also. the senior education officers should NOT just sit up there and let 'blue fly' zoom past. It is time to appropriately look at what is happening around the world and advise the government accordingly. 

Education Fund (similar to the SWF) - why?

The Sovereign Wealth Fund is not a new concept, it has been around for a long time. Yet PNG govts, past and present, are finding it hard to come to terms with it.

In fact, the 'SWF is not a recent development but a product of more than a century of evolution. The first SWF can be traced back to the U.S Texas Permanent School Fund in 1854 which got its funding from oil revenue. The original $2 million fund was created for the purpose of helping the public schools in Texas and has since snowballed to more than $30 billion today.' [PNG Insight Writer's Corner]

Since 2012, the PNG govt spent around K600 million per year on keeping the TFF policy going. 

At this average spending, about K6 BILLION will have been spent on TFF education policy to 2022 - that's billion with nine zeros. K6,000,000,000.

Funding this policy is like 'looking for the loose coins' in the pocket. For the last 10 years, the PNG govt simply looks to the donors and what tax money they have to keep the policy going. 

In retrospect, a clever govt will have invested the money and let the interests pay for the policy. 

SWF Education Fund Education for all

When should the PNG govt enact a law on Education For All?


It will be too late and more money will be wasted if this act is delayed any further. There are people within the education department with enough law degrees and PhDs who can do that.

It is not like they are going to do something new. There are 135 countries in the world that have this law that legally makes Education for All a right! And, the governments as bound by the Constitution to fund the policy.

At present, PNG does not have a Right to Education for All Act. What we see for the last 10 years is simply politics at play.

The great thing about this Act is that no one govt is going to 'kick the TFF policy around like a political rugby ball' anymore.

You can see my work on TFF policy in PNG on the PNG Insight website, including the pros and cons of SWF at PNG Writers Corner - see the blue links in this article.

Follow PNG Insight on YouTube and Twitter.

App to help LOs Report Illegal Logging on their Land

Lukim Gather, a phone application developed by Catalpa International will help PNG to monitor its protected areas. 

The new system will allow Rangers, who work in isolated areas, to quickly record and report harmful activities, such as illegal logging, bush fires and natural hazards.

This initiative rolled out by the Conservation Environment Protection Authority is possible through the support from UNDP through funding from Global Environment Facility.

Source: PNG UNDP

illegal logging in papua new guinea

China Not a Development Partner But Loan Shark in PNG

WHICH DONORS CONTRIBUTE THE MOST TO PNG? While discussing 2020 Budget papers many members of NEC were surprised to find out just how much PNG receives from our donor partners. (Facebook/Kramer Report)

Note: This post was later retracted by the writer)

In 2020 PNG will receive close to K1 Billion in free development funds to assist us in our development goals.

Topping the list was Australia contributing K745m while China only contributes K7m
  • Australia K745.0 m (81%)  
  • European Union K80.0 m (8.7%) 
  • United Nations K41.7 m  
  • New Zealand K22.9 m
  • China K7.0m
  • USA K5.0 m 

In contrast when you look at it from how much we borrow, China tops the list on K450m. 
  • China K446.2 m 
  • ADB K437.6 m 
  • World Bank K185.50 m 
  • Japan K181.3 m 
  • India K7.7 m 
  • Australia K0.0 m 
Some countries are happy to lend us money where they benefit from the interest earned and conditional to their companies being awarded the contracts. Source National Planning Department 2020 Capital Investment Budget.

This piece of article is damning. Read here

Papua New Guinea has highest rates of use of off-grid solar lighting in the developing world - IFC Report republished

Access to sustainable and clean energy, even the ability to be able to have a simple light at night to read or study, can have a huge positive impact for those people in need. For a country like Papua New Guinea, which is undergoing economic and social transformation, the ability of its people and its businesses to access energy has been a challenge. 

Off grid solar in png

Papua New Guinea has, in fact, one of the most acute energy access challenges in the world. Only 13 percent of the population of over eight million people are connected to the electricity grid. Yet, as this report shows, in just five years Papua New Guinea has achieved dramatic growth to become a leader among developing countries in the use of off-grid solar products.

It’s in this environment that IFC’s Lighting Papua New Guinea program has been able to demonstrate impact by developing a market for quality verified solar products. 

Six years ago, only two percent of the population used any type of solar product and relied on firewood, kerosene and other products, harmful to people and the environment. It was a time when cellphone penetration was growing rapidly, but the means to charge those phones was lagging. 

Now kerosene has been usurped, and there’s a prevalence of generic offerings, battery powered torches and lanterns, alongside quality-verified off-grid solar products – many with an ability to charge a phone.

The report’s findings reveal a dynamic market. It’s evident in the numbers – the market for lighting solutions in PNG is estimated at $259 million a year and is expected to grow over the next five years. 

The report’s focus on the demand and supply sides will help companies understand market potential, in-country challenges, and the opportunities for growth.

Credit: A report by IFC.

30:30:40 TFF Funds Allocation Needed Clarity from 3 Key Stakeholders

This post revisits the joint ministerial statement by the, then, Education Minister and Education Secretary in 2016 regarding the Tuition Fee Free policy statement. The statement clearly showed the 30:30:40 breakdown of TFF grants. This post also highlights the key stakeholders of the policy.

Here is the 2016 joint press release and summerised in diagram below..

TFF funds allocation 2018

First, the Top 6 schools in the country that received the highest funds in 2018 as published by the NDoE in January 2019 are:


You can see how much money your school or province receive here. The list was originally published by National Department of Education  (NDoE) on itswebsite in pdf form. 

PNG Insight rearranges the list of TFF-receiving schools in tabular form. This makes it easier to identify a particular school. Or, you can group school into a province, and identify how much  money each school is receiving in 2018.

Perhaps it is important to note that TFF grants given to schools in 2012 - 2017 are not available in the public domain, except the 2018 shown here.

School Learning Materials - 30% of TFF Grant

The Students' Supplies component of 30% is, also, an area needing clarity. The financial reports for the last 7 years for this component was not clearly reported on, or made available to public.

A private company has been allocated the money to procure and supply students learning materials. In fact, a dual secretarial and ministerial media statement in 2016 indicated that 30% of the TFF grant was allocated to Procurement and Supplies yearly. That is 30% of >K600 million every year in the hands of the private company.

So, has the procurement and distribution company delivered quality learning materials to schools? 

This year over K79 million was released to the private company to deliver materials for 2019. It is nearly half a year, but many schools have been waiting to receive the learning materials, unfortunately.

MPs PSIP and DSIP - 30% of TFF grant 

All schools in every district - elementary, primary and secondary - must receive help from their local MPs through the District Service Improvement Program funds released to the MPs. 

School infrastructure developments plans done by the school board, and captured in the school development plans or SLIPs, must be funded by the district grants.

Additionally, provincial governments through the provincial treasury must actively fund the development of school infrastructure in the country.

Why is there little-to-nothing to show for in the elementary, primary, high and secondary schools in the country?

Questions should be raised as to where the MPs have put the DSIP/PSIP grants meant for education and school infrastructure development, had the funds not reached the districts, schools and people.

Cash Grant for schools - 40% of TFF allocation

As mentioned earlier, 60% of TFF grants are in the hands of this private company and MPs - a lot of money. The NDoE deals with the 40% cash grant into school accounts, directly.

All in all, the ministerial statement 2016 clearly gave the break-down of the TFF grant into 30:30:40 components. Money meant for TFF policy are managed by the private  co, MPs and NDoE.

What is completely missing is transparency shown by the key stakeholders ( private company, NDoE and MPs) in the delivery of TFF policy.

The stakeholders will admit that there were obvious problems with TFF policy. Since 2012, TFF funds marked in the budgetary allocations have been more than the actual figures released. TFF grants were released to schools late.

The 3 key stakeholders have problems getting TFF monies on time.

But, regardless of the late disbursements monies and school supplies, in many cases,  the people MUST know over K600 million of TFF money have been disbursed to schools, the private company and MPs yearly.

Therefore, every stakeholder must demand that financial and transaction reports are produced promptly.

It is common knowledge that there is a complete lack on transparency on reporting, or the accounts do not balance out, IF no financial balance sheet is published to date.

This surmounts to a failure in the way the policy is implemented. Furthermore, when the books do not balance, there is something seriously wrong. And needed fixing.

There are whispers in the education corridors that the 30:30:40 components had been readjusted in 2018. However, there is no media statement or published document from the NDoE to confirm that the adjustment.

If that happened, it is canny that stakeholders did *not* know about the recent TFF component adjustment.

And, what is the new break-down?

Read more about the recommendations of a TFF policy research here.
  • The private company releases the financial report of procurement and supply of students learning materials,
  • The MPs have clearly identified how much they spent on school infrastructure development in their districts, and
  • The NDoE publishes the TFF grant yearly report for 2012 - 2017. Note that the 2018 TFF report was published early this year, 2019.
Finally, the TFF policy is a cornerstone policy for the PNG goverment and for the country. The policy needs fine-tuning. 

PNG is better placed, at present, to deliver a better tuition fee (EDUCATION FEE) policy given its experiences in the last 8 years.

SDG 4 Data at Your Fingertips with New Tools from the UIS

Quick guide and tools help countries, donors, technical partners and civil society groups make the most of SDG 4 data

Where can you find the latest data to monitor Sustainable Development Goal 4 (SDG 4)? How are the indicators produced and how can they be interpreted and used? Go straight to the source with a series of new products developed by the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS).

As the custodian UN agency for SDG 4 data, the UIS not only has the mandate to produce the global monitoring indicators but also to help stakeholders – from countries and donors to civil society groups and technical partners - use the findings to get all children in school and learning by 2030.

Recognising that different users have different needs, the UIS is releasing a series of new products described below at a launch event with NORRAG on 11 July in Geneva.

The Quick Guide to Education Indicators for SDG 4 describes the process of developing and producing global monitoring indicators, while explaining how they can be interpreted and used. This is a hands-on, step-by-step guide for anyone who is gathering or analysing education data.

The SDG 4 Data Book: Global Education Indicators 2018 ensures that readers have the latest available data for the global monitoring indicators at their fingertips. This booklet will be regularly updated. 

The SDG 4 Data Explorer displays data by country, region or year; by data source; and by sex, location and wealth. It allows users to explore the measures of equality that are crucial for the achievement of SDG 4.

The SDG 4 Country Profiles, designed specifically for Member States, present the latest available SDG 4 global indicators in charts and graphs that are easy to understand. For those who need quick facts on specific countries, this is the place to come.

The SDG 4 Cheat Sheet is a quick reference for the definitions and data sources of the 11 global indicators.
These products aim to promote a better understanding of the production and use of SDG 4 data among stakeholders. Together, they will show stakeholders: who produces the data, how the indicators are developed, where to find the data, and – most importantly – how to use the information.  

Western Highlands Province | Road Network and Agriculture a Powerful Combination

I have little understanding of Western Highlands Province, especially its vast inter-linked road networks that link the province's fertile highlands and valleys until I visited the province. The roads are sealed and in excellent condition. All feeder roads lead to Hagen City. 

One road worth mentioning was the road connecting Ogelbeng, Baiya Gorge, Baiya Valley and Kitip and Waghi Valley - sealed and in perfect condition. 

Local Western Highlanders are very hard-working people, toiling the soil. To name a few:
  • Pabrabuk gives you the best pineapple.
  • Paglum gives you the best Kaukau and potatoes. 
  • Tambul gives you the best Karuka. 
  • Fruit and vegetables, banana and you name it, grows in abundance. 

Western Highlands is probably the province in PNG that has a very good road network and its people cultivate the land to make ends meet. In fact, they are empowered to sustain themselves through the road excess to market. 

There are other roads like Tambul and Nibiliyer, Pabrabuk and Paglum roads which are in bad condition. The roads into Hagen city are, sadly, in an appalling state. I believe the Chinese are going to do a good job upgrading and sealing the Hagen City roads. 

So, if I were to give WHP a mark out of 10 for its:

1. Road network I would give it       9.5/10 
2. Road condition......................      8/10 
3. Working the Land.................      10/10 
4. Taste of Pabrabuk pineapple....  10/10, and 
5. Tambul Karuka..........................  9/10

These are very high marks for road excess to market and service.



In this review titled ‘A Way Forward: Review of Papua New Guinea’s Millennium Development Goals 2015 Dismal Performance’ I take a look at three recent articles that address the reasons Papua New Guinea (PNG) had not performed well in its national tailored Millennium Development Goal (MDG) targets between 2000 and 2015. The reasons range from technical to geographical and cultural as well as political. In addition, I would discuss what PNG could do post-2015 to achieve the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 2030. 


The article The Millennium Development Goals in Papua New Guinea: the response of government [pdf]’ was written by Marjorie Andrew, Deputy Director & Research Leader at the National Research Institute. On the 15th of March, 2015 she presented her research work at a three-day conference on ‘Resource Development and Human Well-Being in Papua New Guinea: Issues in the measurement of progress’. She highlighted several reasons why PNG’s performance on locally tailored MDGs indicators was ‘off the mark’ (Andrew, 2015, p. 22).

In her remarks on pages 3 - 4, Andrew indicated that PNG national indicators we tailored twice; first in 2004 for the Medium Term Development Strategy 2005 – 2010 and re-tailored in 2010 for Medium Term Development Plan 2011 – 2015. Of the 91 PNG tailored national indicators, only 40 were the same as the United Nations’ MDGs 1 to 8. The others (51 tailored indicators) were either blurred or less complying with UN's requirements and therefore cannot be measured internationally. This was of the reasons why PNG was put in the area of ‘no data’.

On pages 5 - 7, Andrew distinctively pointed out that the PNG government lacks the internal technical expertise to collect and analyse important statistical data for the 2015 MDG Progress Report. Though several departments produced reports annually, overall technical expertise across public institutions is ‘weak’. She mentioned that PNG’s reliance on international donors to do reporting showed that without them, vital reports may remain undone.




Dr. Genevieve Nelson, Chief Executive Officer of Kokoda Track Foundation, gave some insights on the eight MDGs and put forward several reasons why PNG had difficulty achieving the MDG indicators. In her introduction, she thought 2015 was ‘...a time to reflect on that past decade’s [and-a-half] progress towards meeting the goals and setting a new framework for post-2015’ (Nelson, 2015). Furthermore, she highlighted that progress was made in the area of poverty reduction worldwide. Quoting McCarter (2003) she said the estimate for people living under $1.25 per day had halved from 43 per cent in 1990 down to 21 per cent in 2010 – an indication of a reduction in poverty. Nonetheless, Dr Nelson said disparity emerged from individual countries. She clearly indicated that according to the ‘MDG Progress Index developed by the Centre for Global Development Think Tank’, PNG is awarded a dismal score of just 1 out of 8. 

Dr Nelson further put emphasis on several challenges why PNG is one of the few countries in the world that did not meet the MDGs. The two technical reasons she identified were that the PNG’s tailored development indicators change very little every few years; and PNG had capacity issues within government offices, including the government departments. Often there was ‘no data’ in tables due to their inability to produce reliable data on a regular basis. In addition to the technical reasons, others reasons that potentially contribute to PNG’s inability to meet the MDG indicators include Geography, Linguistic and Cultural diversity, and Governance and Corruption.

Dr. Nelson remarked that PNG was ranked low on the MDGs Progress Index (1 out of 8) should be a wake-up call for the government. She reiterated that the ‘business-as-usual’ attitude has to change – there is no room for complacency going forward. PNG must improve on the technical, geographical, cultural and political challenges, by developing an appropriate policy framework focused on human development and the provision of services.
In summary, Dr Nelson said the post-2015 era should see governments, donors, businesses and NGOs working together to improve people’s lives. Though it may seem hard, the future of the nation depends on ‘innovation and new technology, collaborations and partnerships, and strong action focused on the delivery of basic services to remote communities, to improve outcomes for all Papua New Guineans’ (Nelson, 2015, para. 15).


The article was written by Ann-Cathrin Joest for an NGO group called the Seed Theatre Incorporation. Her emphasis was on how PNG could use its lessons learned on MDGs as a stepping stone for developing a policy framework for the 17 SDGs, post-2015. Joest introduced her article by stating the obvious - PNG had difficulty achieving the MDGs. She also mentioned that according to the UN’s Human Development Index (HDI), PNG is rated among the thirty ‘Low Human Development’ (UNDP, 2014) group of countries, ranked 165 out of 187 countries. She also mentioned that low life expectancies at birth, school retention, maternal health, high infant mortality and increase sexually transmitted infections were among the human development issues. Joest also mentioned that PNG is ranked ‘one of the lowest on the Gender Inequality Index’ (Joest, 2005. para. 2). In addition, she mentioned that urban crimes and tribal fights were major challenges.

Joest reasoned that this poor performance was the result of poor education and food insecurity; inadequate access to sanitation, clean water and energy; and failure of past and previous governments on its MDG responsibilities. Joest said that the MDGs expired in 2015. Yet, under those circumstances, the SDGs2030 policy framework will not be successful post-2015 if the government does not take action to address issues relating to education, food security, and institutional capacity among the others.

Furthermore, Joest contrasted MDGs to SDGs and thought that ‘previous MDGs did not address the root causes for inequalities and poverty, [while] SDGs address these through the focus on economic development and human rights (Joest, 2015, para. 5).


The three articles, written last year, had identified several reasons why PNG MDG's performance was dismal. Dr. Nelson is attempting to discuss a way forward through ‘collaborations and partnerships, and strong action focused on the delivery of basic services to remote communities' (Nelson, 2015, para. 15) in the post-2015 era would improve people’s standard of living. By the same token, Joest said PNG’s poor performance in MDGs was the result of poor education and the failure of [past and current] governments to monitor its MDGs progress (Joest, 2015).

Both writers have identified three key areas of service delivery: collaboration, partnership and government responsibilities. However, to work collaboratively and in partnership with development partners, the public institutions (and offices) in PNG needed to take their responsibilities seriously (Andrew, 2015). There is a need for capacity building in the country in view of the fact that public institutions either needed donor help in reporting MDGs achievements (Andrew, 2015) or institutional capacity was ‘weak’ (Andrew, 2015) and unreliable.

On July the 20th this year, Helen Clark gave an ‘Opening Statement at the High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) Side-Event on “Building Capacities of Public Institutions for Implementing the SDGs: A Focus on Concrete Challenges and Potential Solutions’ said ‘Institutions which are effective and accountable will play a central role in achieving the SDGs…the 169 SDG targets make direct reference to the need for institutional capacity' (Clark, 2015, para. 3). It is seemingly obvious that through capacity building, PNG can participate effectively and in collaboration with partners going forward into the SDGs 2030 era.


6.1.            Reflection on Andrew’s paper

 I thought Andrew’s presentation was spot on. She critically dissected the eight MDGs through her research. She also stated the obvious fact that the PNG government needed thorough self-examination of its dismal performance, on the tailored MDG indicators. She further mentioned the reality that reporting on MDGs progress had been difficult due to a lack of positive responses from institutional offices like the National Statistics Office (NSO) and Office of Environment and Conservation (Andrew, 2015, p. 16). I gather that her use of words such as ‘difficult’ and ‘weak’ was more diplomatic. But even so, her research experience and the responses showed her frustration over the lack of capacity from her PNG sources. Though I agree with most of the facts she produced, she squarely laid the blame on PNG’s institutional offices she considered to be her data sources for her paper presentation (Andrew, 2015, p. 16). By way of contrast, little did she compliment the Department of Education for data on enrolment and retention (National Education Plan 2005 – 2014 [NEP2005-2014], pp.65 -67), or the NSO data on Household Income and Expenditure Survey (Andrew, 2015, p.8) she used in her analyses on MDGs 2 and 1, respectively.

The point is that though all the data required to compile reports on MDGs were not available, there was the existence of some form of data in other PNG institutional offices. As Nelson pointed out, two factors could affect data usage: either there were few changes over a period of one to two years (Nelson, 2015, para. 8) or the methodology used at that time to ascertain the use of those data may be flawed (Nelson, 2015, para. 8). Andrew (2015) inferred that the ‘lack of robustness of the methodology’ (p. 8) was the reason why the Maternal Mortality Rate (MMR) produced by NSO was excluded in the MDG Second National Progress Comprehensive Report 2010. Here, Andrew (2015) saw methodology as the problem rather than data. Nelson (2015) clearly identified the remedy to this problem (para. 8) when she implied that methodologies can be adapted, given the type of data available, to achieve realistic measurements.

6.2.             Reflection on Dr. Nelson’s Article 

In addition to technical reasons such as period of data gathering, methodology for analysing collected data and capacity issues, Dr. Nelson’s article also delved into other reasons why PNG had not met the MDGs (Nelson, 2015, para. 8). I thought she had good insight into PNG’s struggles to achieve the MDGs in the last 15 years when she mentioned other reasons like 'Geography, Linguistic and Cultural Diversity, and Governance and Corruption’ (Nelson, 2015, para. 8).  Even though Nelson was succinct in her explanations, her summary was either difficult to understand with the use of the word neo-liberal (Nelson, 2015, para. 11) or generalised when she used phrases like ‘wake-up call’ and ‘business-as-usual’ (Nelson, 2015, para. 11). By this I mean she was too technical with little explanation or too loose in her choice of words. Either way, there was a possibility for her readers to misunderstand or misinterpret what she intended to say.

6.3.            Reflection on Joest’s Article 

Joest was explicit in linking the key indicators of MDGs 2015 to SDGs 2030. Her web article was less academic but more informative. She gave a lot of relevant opinions on what PNG can do going forward into the SDGs era. She made relevant connections between each of the 17 goals. For example, ‘With improving poverty (SDG 1), an improvement in malnutrition, health, education and the economy can take place. With improved food security and nutrition (SDG2), children or youth can perform better in school. Children and youth are our future, by investing in their education (SDG4) community and economic development can take place, better education will generate increased income which can be directly invested into community health care or other community needs’ (Joest, 2015, para. 6). In principle, Joest portrayed an overview of what PNG could do in terms of aligning national policies framework and termly development strategies and plans going forward (Joest, 2015, para. 6). In saying that, I felt that her article was, more or less, her personal take on the relevance of SDGs in PNG rather than a practical analysis of how SDGs could be implemented.


Finally, each article showed that PNG performance on its tailored MDG indicators was dismal. PNG’s nonperformance would only improve if it learned from its past failures and took a more proactive approach to build capacity within its public institutions. The writers viewed capacity building at public institutions as essential for PNG to move forward.


Churches in PNG and Govt Partnership Vital for Development (MDGs & SDGs)

Should the Churches in PNG be blamed for the poor attainment of MDG (and SDG) indicators? This post aims to address the question paused in this article by asking whether the churches in PNG have become passive in providing education and health services lately.

church and govt partnership

Recommended reading: Lutheran Church in PNG Urged to Build University with Govt Support

Churches in PNG and Development 

For anyone to blame the churches (and its development agencies) on PNG’s dismal performance in achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) undermines the fantastic work churches have been doing in the country. 
Number of churches’ educational and health set-ups (revealed in the table, ADRA Australia, 2015, p. 3) indicated that churches are equal development partners. 
Their network needs not only to be strengthened but also effectively funded.

This article, firstly, eliminates the opinion that churches must be blamed for PNG’s poor performances, in the last 15 years, to achieve MDGs indicators. In fact, the Church leaders identified the government’s funding as a major constraint (Aupong 2016). 

The report also showed that the government’s budgetary allocation was reduced by more than half this year, 2016. Churches cannot shoulder any responsibility when they work in challenging conditions. 

They must not be blamed when government budgetary allocation is either cut or not released to them. 

The government’s recognition of churches (RNZ October 7 2013) is one thing said; but a cordial partnership according to Bishop of the Diocese of Bougainville, Bernard Unabali, must be built on Christian moral (JOSEPH April 28, 2016).

Secondly, the presentation emphasises the need for Govt of PNG to do a critical self-search as a partner. The PNGCPP case study identified government lack of consistent engagement with churches as one of the main constraints (ADRA Australia, 2015). 

All in all, churches must not shoulder the blame for PNG not achieving millennium development goals and country indicators. 


The seven mainstream churches and their development agencies in partnership with the government were mentioned by Volker Hauck, Angela Mandie-Filer and Joe Bolger (2005). And further discussed (by ADRA, 2015) in a case study titled Sustained Investment in Church Development Capacity

Both research work, though 10 years apart, had reiterated the significance of reaching the rural population through a Church-State partnership.

The PNG Churches Partnership Program (PNG CPP) established in 2004 by Australia and PNG governments seek to involve churches to deliver education, health and others social services to people in rural areas (ADRA, 2015). 
Over ninety percent (Volker Hauck et al., 2005 p.11) of PNG’s population are Christians, eighty seven percent (ADRA, 2015, p.3) belong to the churches in PNG CPP. Many live in the rural areas. 
In fact, these churches are an important development partner as far as reaching the mass of the population is concerned. 

For development to trickle down to the people, churches’ network must be utilised as ‘vehicle’ for goods and services delivery. Volker Hauck et al., (2005) acknowledged that churches are the main stakeholders.
 ‘PNG society is largely religious and as such Christian churches are important social actors that play a significant role in the country’ (reiterated in ADRA, Australia, 2015, p. 3). 

Indicatively, churches prominence within the community is a vital link between the people and the government.

Consistency and mutual engagement has to prevail amongst the partners like the 
  • PNG Department of National Planning and Monitoring (DoNPM), 
  • Australia Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) and 
  • Churches in PNG. 
Both past (Peter Mar 12, 2010); (Taru Oct 12, 2012) and present (Aupong 2016) governments acknowledged the significance of churches’ participation in nation-building. 

‘The Minister for National Planning and Monitoring Charles Abel says churches are a major provider of basic social services in PNG and the government recognises their role in improving the lives of Papua New Guineans’ (RNZ October 7 2013).

A recent policy framework called the Partnership Policy Framework between Government of PNG (GoPNG) and Christian Churches in PNG was written to include churches in formulation and execution of future development agendas. 

Its purpose is two-fold: to work together to achieve integral human development and to create an ongoing partnership to advance development in the country (Department of National Planning and Monitoring, [DoNPM], 2016, p. 2). 

Past reports have indicated that the GoPNG has either cut funding or delayed budgetary allocation in 2014, 2015 and 2016 and is inconsistent in engaging with churches in PNG and the donor partners. 


Ministerial statements and policy guides would only be rewarding if they are complemented with action. 

It is vital for all parties (the PNG govt, churches and donor partners) to sustain the work of churches. Involve the churches. Bring them into the picture when social developments are concerned.


Adventist Development and Relief Agency [ADRA], Australia. Papua New Guinea: A Case Study of Sustained Investment in Church Development Capacity. Case Study, Wahroonga NSW: ADRA, 2015, 6.
Aupong, Serah. Funding Challenges for PNG Church-State Partnership Program. TV News, Port Moresby: National EMTV News, 2016.
CatNews New Zealand. February 9, 2016. (accessed July 18, 2016).
DoNPM. Partnership Policy Framework between Government of Papua New Guinea and the Christian churches in Papua New Guinea. Policy Framework, Port Moresby: Department of National Planning and Monitoring, 2016, 12.
JOSEPH, MORKANA. Government-church partnership program to cease. News, Port Moresby: Post Courier, April 28, 2016.
Peter, Sea. Incentive fund helps PNG. News, Port Moresby: Post Courier, Mar 12, 2010.
RNZ. PNG announces church-state partnership programme. News, Wellington: Radio New Zealand - Pacific, October 7 2013.
Taru, Benstead. PNG can't do without churches: MP. News, Port Moresby: Post Courier, Oct 12, 2012.
Volker Hauck, Angela Mandie-Filer and Joe Bolger. Ringing the church bell: The role of churches in governance and public performance in Papua New Guinea. Discussion Paper, Maastricht: The European Centre for Development Policy Management (ECDPM), 2005, 39.
Yakham, Henzy. Good news for PNG churches. News, Port Moresby: Post Courier, Jan 25, 2012.

Lutheran Church in PNG Urged to Build University with Govt Support



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