Decentralised Governance Arrangements In Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea has a long and varied experience of decentralisation. The National Research Institute of Papua New Guinea’s project on Autonomy and Decentralisation aims to facilitate a national conversation on the options for the effective decentralisation of government services and accountable and inclusive government at the sub-national level. The project is designed to canvass all the key, interrelated issues which contribute to a working system of decentralization and which are critical to its success.

The Constitution Transformation Network has partnered with the National Research Institute initially to prepare a report as a framework for the discussions in PNG, which identifies issues and options in the light of comparative experience. The report identifies  issues and options for decentralisation, with a focus on framing the structure and principles of decentralisation to reflect the context of PNG, including:

  • The goals of decentralization, including better government, more inclusive participation in government, the dispersal of public power, and autonomy.
  • The context for decentralization in the often-distinctive circumstances of PNG.
  • Issues for design of a system of decentralisation, including identifying the levels of government, division of power, the design of institutions, administrative support, revenue-raising and allocation and  intergovernmental relations.
  • Implementation, including new practices, processes and attitudes to deliver decentralised government and changes to the legal framework.

Listen to a discussion of the issues with Dr Thomas Webster, Lead Researcher for NRI’s Autonomy and Decentralisation Research Project, Cheryl Saunders and Anna Dziedzic at a gathering of government officials and academics in Port Moresby, 10 November 2021 here.

Watch Cheryl Saunders presenting the Report to the National Conference on Autonomy and Decentralisation, in Port Moresby 16 and 17 February 2022 (from the 1.46.00 minute mark).

The video recording and materials of all presentations are available on the NRI’s Autonomy and Decentralisation webpage.