Statement by Papua New Guinea National Research Institute Director, Dr. Osborne Sanida, on the release of Research Report on possible future governance arrangements for Bougainville

The Papua New Guinea National Research Institute (PNG NRI) is pleased to release Research Report No.7, commissioned under the Bougainville Referendum Research Project (BRRP) in 2019. The Research Report by Professor Cheryl Saunders and Dr Anna Dziedzic of the Constitutional Transformation Network of the University of Melbourne Law School is titled Greater Autonomy and Independence for Bougainville: Institutional Options and Issues for Transition.

The report is one of two studies commissioned that looked specifically at the question of; What are the possible governance arrangements and the implications for the two options proposed in the 2019 Referendum; Greater Autonomy or Independence. The aim was to provide more information so that voters could have a more informed choice when voting for the two options.

PNG NRI Issues Paper No.30 released in 2019, by Professor Matt Qvortrup of Coventry University looked at possible political arrangements from a global comparative perspective and discussed some of the implications for Bougainville. The draft report was presented at workshops in Buka and in Port Moresby in July of 2019.

Initially, the plan was for the release of the Report by Professor Saunders and Dr Dziedzic before the Bougainville referendum was held. However, as that was not possible due to the scope of the research, a more concise version of the report was released as a Briefing Note. This Briefing Note was analyzed and used extensively during the meeting of the Post Referendum Ministerial Taskforce comprising leaders from Bougainville and PNG in September of 2019. Many positive comments were received on the benefits of the Briefing Note to the discussions.

The BRRP had been working on an arrangement to have Professor Cheryl Sanders and Dr Anna Dziedzic discuss the report at a launch in Buka and in Port Moresby in late March this year, however the onset of restrictions imposed due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic did not allow this event to take place.

Professor Saunders and Dr Dziedzic have however kindly prepared a video presentation speaking on the report. We are able to host this presentation on the PNG NRI Website with the launch of their report.

We hope that these reports will continue to inform the understanding of all concerned on the various issues around the Bougainville referendum and future governance arrangements. In this post-referendum period, much of this information is relevant and is useful for consideration as negotiations and consultations take place as prescribed through the Bougainville Peace Agreement and the National Constitution.

These reports have been made available on the PNG NRI website ( where all of our other research materials can be found. Copies of these reports will also be made available to various stakeholders in Bougainville and elsewhere.

For any further queries, please contact us on +675 326 0300 or email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


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Establishment and Mandate 

The Papua New Guinea National Research Institute (PNG NRI) was established as the  New  Guinea Research Unit (NGRU) of the Australian National University in 1961. When  PNG gained  independence in 1975, the NGRU became the Institute for Applied Social and  Economic  Research (IASER), and in 1993 was officially recognised as the National  Research Institute. The  PNG NRI is an independent statutory authority established by an  Act of Parliament in 1988 and  confirmed by the IASER (Amendment) Act 1993 to conduct  independent policy research into  economic and social development issues affecting PNG.

PNGNRITaglineThe Act states that the functions of the PNG NRI are:“(a) the promotion of research into  Papua  New Guinea society and the economy”, and in particular “(b), the undertaking of  research into  social, political and economic problems of Papua New Guinea in order to  enable practical  solutions to such problems to be formulated.”

Vision and Mission

  • The Papua New Guinea National Research Institute (PNG NRI) is recognised among the  leading public policy think tanks in the Asia – Pacific region.
  • The Papua New Guinea National Research Institute will provide quality research which  contributes to evidence – based public policies and decision – making processes that  improve service delivery, leading to better quality of life for all Papua New Guineans.


PNG NRI is committed to inquiring, informing and influencing Papua New Guinea’s future through  conducting cutting-edge policy research, the facilitation of public dialogue, and influencing decision  making.

We inquire, to better understand problems.

We inform, to help others understand those problems.

We influence, advocating for effective public policies based on research and evidence.