Toroama stresses Bougainville ‘preparing for independence’ as he launches key policies

The President of the Autonomous Bougainville Region has stressed that the island is “preparing for independence”.

The Autonomous Bougainville Government officially launched two policies this week in the capital Buka this week: the Civil Society Partnerships Policy and Gender Equality, Women Empowerment, Peace and Security Policy.

“This is a very important time in the history of Bougainville. We are preparing for independence,” President Ishmael Toroama said.

“All our faculties must stand ready to complement the political will of this government to attain nothing short of political independence for Bougainville,” he said.

Toroama highlighted the crucial role of civil society organisations (CSOs) in Bougainville’s development.

He said adding that the new Civil Society Partnerships Policy aims to streamline and enhance the coordination between CSOs and the government.

“By working closely with the ABG, CSOs can ensure that their initiatives align with governmental priorities under our Bougainville Long Term Vision and the Bougainville Integrated Strategic Development Plan (BISDP), fostering a cohesive and strategic approach to development.”

Toroama the the policy on gender also was crucial in addressing disparities in access to basic human rights, social and economic services.

He said confronting these issues creates a foundation for a more just and equitable Bougainville.

“This policy will promote legal reforms to protect women from discrimination and violence, ensuring their roles are only respected but also enhanced.

“However, it is important to highlight that this gender policy is not solely about protecting women’s rights. It is about safeguarding the rights of both women and men, ensuring that no individual in Bougainville is marginalised based on their gender.”

Caption: (from L-R) National Member for North Bougainville Hon Francesca Semoso, UN Women Country Representative to PNG Adekemi Ndieli, President of AROB Hon Ishmael
Toroama, ABG Minister for Community Development Hon Morris Opeti and Deputy Speaker of the Bougainville House of Representatives Hon Theresa Kaetavara at the launching of the policies in Buka.

Minister for the Department of Community Development Morris Opeti said the launch of the policies will shape the future of Bougainville communities.

“We affirm our commitment in promoting gender equality and empowering women in Bougainville,” he said.

Opeti said the policies were not just words on paper, but reflect Bougainville’s shared values and aspirations, representing culmination of months of dialogues and collaboration from various stakeholders.

He called on Bougainvilleans to do their part in turning these policies into actions.

“I call upon each and every one of you to join hands and play your part in turning these policies into action.

“Whether you are a government official, a civil society leader, a community activist, or a concerned citizen, your contribution is vital in realising our vision of a more equitable, inclusive, and peaceful Bougainville.”

According to the news on Radio New Zealand

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