in coastal regions and in small islands
Coastal region and small
island papers 10
Following the Baruni Summit, held from 31 August to 1 September 1999, Lady Carol Kidu, Member of Parliament for Port Moresby South electorate, proposed the establishment of a Parliamentary Committee on Urbanization and Social Development to address the increasing problems resulting from rapid urbanization including the rural/urban dichotomy.
As a result, a Special Parliamentary Committee on Urbanization and Social Development (SPCUSD) was established and launched on 17 February 2000 by the Speaker of the National Parliament, the Honourable Bernard Narokobi. Lady Kidu was appointed chairperson of the committee. The work of the committee has included meetings, consultative workshops and a review of existing literature. A technical task force was established to assist the committee. While the committee did not travel outside Port Moresby because of budgetary constraints, views from interested stakeholders in other centres were sought and received.
Parliament House,Waigani, NCD, PNG
The first report produced by the committee in March 2000 focused on ‘Policies and Structures for Managing Urbanization in Papua New Guinea’. The main issues discussed included a lack of political commitment; population growth; urban versus rural development; uneven urban development; land availability; employment, unemployment and social disorder; housing and infrastructure limitations; and uncoordinated planning and development administration. The report highlighted the fact that while urbanization is inevitable, the main issue is to distribute urban growth as evenly as possible so that services which are provided by urban centres are accessible to as many people as possible in rural areas. Regarding traditional land, the committee felt that in order to establish a basis for future negotiations, the government must start to recognize the sentiment of traditional landowners and their plight as some of the poorest people in the urban centres. The committee also discussed the complex problem of urban squatting. It was felt that rather than adopting a totalitarian approach of enforced demolitions, selective removal, relocation and upgrading of legal settlements should be done on the basis of consensus and agreement.
Various strategies were proposed for managing urbanization, including:
Institutional realignment: specifically to relaunch the National Task Force on Urbanization;
Redistribution of urban services to other provinces;
Provision of land and finance: specifically for middle and low-income earners;
Improvement of informal urban housing: to help with the squatting problems;
Promotion of Papua New Guinean culture.
The second report by the committee, produced in June 2000, focused on social development. The committee restated the importance of the family as the foundation for social development and placed children at the centre of the family. It was acknowledged that there has been a reduction in government funding for social services and that the formal education system lacks the capacity to be responsive and relevant to fill the ‘life-skills’ void that currently exists. The effects of globalization and stringent macro-economic policies are compounded by a declining agricultural industry, population growth and an increase in crime. The key to progress lies in consultation with all stakeholders and the communities to develop working policies. Specifically education policies must incorporate linkages between early childhood, elementary and adult literacy education to cater for the people outside of the main-stream of formal education. Policies must address the issues of skills for life, gender and equity.
The committee made specific recommendations and these are summarized below:
Improvement of government administration: to upgrade the Department of Home Affairs, and to enhance integration among government agencies through a major review of policies, legislation and conventions;
Endorsement of international conventions and agreements relating to women and children;
Adoption of a gender management scheme and gender development action plan;
Reduction of poverty levels among the poor and marginalized;
Adoption of a rural development strategy;
Financial support for these programmes to be included in the 2001 national budget preparations, as well as through a private sector tax incentive scheme and encouragement to financial institutions to support medium/small/micro-scale businesses;
Endorsement by parliament of the concept of the family as the foundation and the child as the centre of social development policy.
The third report prepared by the committee in November 2000 addressed the issues of customary land ownership and urban development. The committee acknowledged that urban landowners have become the victims of rapid uncontrolled urbanization and have become disempowered and dispossessed in their own land. The lack of available land has become a major constraint for urban development. Among the most contentious issues discussed was the use of customary land by migrants from other parts of the country leading to squatter settlements.
One of the key recommendations was for the government to re-establish trust and goodwill. In order to achieve this, some form of restitution will be necessary. The committee recommended that as a gesture of goodwill, the government consider paying a proportion of the land rents collected annually by the NCDC to the Motu and Koitabu people through a Motu Koitabu Development Corporation or Trust, which should be legislated so it cannot be altered by successive governments. Conditions should be attached to the use of the funds to ensure that the whole community benefits. This is not to be regarded as compensation to the land-owners, rather a gesture of goodwill to the people and it must be used to improve the lives of the people as a whole.
Other recommendations were as follows:
The government to embark on a land development programme, which would ensure that customary land be made available for urban development, and to move away from finished housing programmes for rent or sale.
Institutional and structural changes should be made (in addition to the one concerning restitution discussed in the preceding paragraph) to include the abolition of the National Housing Corporation and its replacement with a National Land Development Corporation.
Several legislative measures to allow for the institutional recommendations and to utilize existing laws to control any further forms of illegal settlements in the urban centres.
In presenting the third report to Parliament in December 2000, Lady Carol Kidu said:
‘Mr Speaker, on behalf of Sir Buri, the Motu, Koita and Koiari people and on behalf of all urban land owners in Papua New Guinea, I recommend this report to Parliament and urge Parliament to adopt the recommendations of the report in principle, so that the relevant Ministers can move ahead with the details needed to ensure a better future for urban landowners and for all urban residents.’
Field project activities
Social profiles of Motu Koitabu villages
Following the Baruni Summit, socio-economic data on the Motu Koitabu people living in the NCD were collected, social profiles were prepared at Baruni and Tatana villages, and a preliminary social survey was conducted at Hanuabada village (see Appendix 5).
Establishment of the Motu Koitabu Task Force
In order to begin implementation of some of the other recommendations, a working committee called the Motu Koitabu Task Force was convened. This committee was chaired by Mr Haraka Gaudi and was composed of representatives from each of the Motu Koitabu villages in the NCD. The vision of the task force was to join with members of the Motu Koitabu Council to develop strategies and plans for the development of the Motu Koitabu people.
Motu Koitabu Leaders Workshop
On 20 December 1999, a Motu Koitabu Leaders Workshop was convened at Parliament House, NCD. Among the recommendations of this workshop were the following:
A request to the national government to consider the Motu Koitabu issue in the NCD;
Through the Constitution Review Commission, to have a special parliamentary seat created only for the Motu Koitabu people, for them to contest from the year 2002;
Increased funding from the NCDC or directly from the national government for the needs of the Motu Koitabu Council; to provide improved services, especially health and education.
During the workshop, the Honourable Kabua Kabua recommended that the Motu Koitabu people practise self-reliance and play their role to the full in the socio-economic development of the NCD.
Growing up in Cities Workshop in Port Moresby
In November 1999, a workshop on ‘Growing up in Cities’ was held in Port Moresby sponsored by UNESCO-CSI, the Management of Social Transformations (MOST) programme and the ‘Growing up in Cities’ (GUIC) project. GUIC is a global initiative, which aims to develop a better understanding of how young people perceive, use and value the public places in their cities.
This workshop brought together members of parliament, church groups, university researchers, the National Youth Service and about 50 young people from all over the NCD, as well as other regions of PNG. The objective of the workshop was to provide the participants with the skills to design and implement projects that will give young people a voice; and to foster greater awareness among local decision-makers and urban professionals of the impacts that their decisions and actions have on young lives.
At the centre of the workshop was a visit to Hanuabada, where young people prepared maps, conducted interviews and discussions and undertook guided tours of the village. The results of the workshop may be seen on two levels. First, there was the formulation and presentation to the government of a ‘Papua New Guinean Youth Declaration’ outlining the needs and challenges facing the country’s youths. Second, the young people gained experience in the use of analytical procedures and interaction with outside agencies to influence their own physical and human environments.
Associated Schools Project network in Papua New Guinea
Primary and secondary schools in the vicinity of the NCD have been registered with the UNESCO Associated Schools Project network (ASPnet). The ASPnet theme will be ‘environment’ and the objective is to encourage young people to talk about environmental issues in their own areas and to develop solutions to pressing problems. Tatana Community School, Baruni Community School and Badihagwa High School have already been registered in the programme and others are expected to follow.
Field project activities planned for the coming years will focus on developing some of the recommendations from the summit and the post-summit activities. These will include the following:
Extend and develop advocacy activities targeting specific groups in Motu Koitabu society, such as youth and women;
Plan and prepare supplementary educational and curriculum materials focusing on the Motu Koitabu;
Together with researchers and students from the University of Papua New Guinea, conduct research and social profiles of Motu Koitabu villages with special reference to land ownership and land use issues;
Organize stakeholder meetings to advance the Motu Koitabu cause and to devise strategies and action plans to target specific problems.
It is envisaged that these activities will add to the knowledge base such that the Motu Koitabu cause can be advanced on the ground as well as through the parliamentary process.
Special Parliamentary Committee on Urbanization and Social Development. March 2000. Policies and strategies for managing urbanization in Papua New Guinea. Final Report (Part one).
Special Parliamentary Committee on Urbanization and Social Development. June 2000. Defining the Parliamentary agenda on social development.
Special Parliamentary Committee on Urbanization and Social Development. November 2000. Accessibility of land under customary land tenure systems for urban development purposes and ensuring a viable future for urban landowners. Urbanization report (Part two).
Lady Carol Kidu, MP. December 2000. Statement to Parliament on the Third Report from the Special Parliamentary Committee on Urbanization and Social Development.
Hans Thulstrup. Growing up in Papua New Guinea. June, 2000. http://www.unesco.org/csi/act/png/newsletter.htm