BRRP commentary

News Releases



Launch statement by PNG NRI Acting Director Dr. Osborne Sanida


Launch Statement by PNG NRI Acting Director Dr. Osborne Sanida

Thursday 21 January 2021

In a Referendum conducted in December 2019, as provided for in the Bougainville Peace Agreement (BPA) of 2001, ninety eight percent (98%) of the people who voted, chose ‘Independence’ over ‘Greater Autonomy’ for Bougainville. As required by the BPA, the outcome of the Referendum is subject to ratification by the National Parliament following consultation with the Bougainville Government.

The Bougainville Referendum Research Project at the PNG NRI commissioned two independent research reports to inform critical developments in the Post Referendum era. One report discusses possible institutional arrangements to assist negotiations on Bougainville’s political future whilst the other looks at ideas on raising adequate revenues for the Bougainville Government to achieve fiscal independence.

We are now pleased to launch these reports and have them available for public discourse.

Research Report 8: Institution Building in Post Referendum Bougainville
This report was undertaken by Professor Cheryl Saunders and Dr. Anna Dziedzic from the Constitutional Transformation Network of the Melbourne Law School, University of Melbourne, Australia. The report looks at the possible institutional requirements for governance in post-referendum Bougainville. The primary target audience for this report is those engaged in the consultations between the Bougainville and PNG Governments following the referendum.

Research Report 9: Increasing Revenues for the Bougainville Government
This report was undertaken by a team of economists from Canberra: Professor Satish Chand, Professor Ronald Duncan and Dr. Theodore Levantis. The report looks at how the Bougainville Government can increase its revenues so that Bougainville can increase revenues for its budget and achieve economic independence.

The contents of the reports have been presented to key stakeholders in a Zoom Conference in October of 2020. This was to allow feedback for the research teams to refine their reports. Videos of the presentations made by the research teams can be accessed via links provided on the PNG NRI website ( and on the PNG NRI Social Media platforms.

Additionally, two Commentaries – 1. “Institution Building in Post Referendum Bougainville”: Some Practical Insights to Assist in the Consultations on Bougainville’s Future; and, 2. “Increasing Revenues for the Bougainville Government”; A Special PNG NRI Research Report for Post Referendum Bougainville –  one on each of the reports outlining the contents of the reports and the main focus and messages from the reports have been posted on the PNG NRI website and on its social media pages.

Thank you the media for the important role you play in the dissemination of the reports. Should you require any further information, the BRRP team can also be contacted on email: or on phone: +675 326 0061/ +675 326 0300 for any other information.

Finally, on behalf of the NRI Council and Management, I would like to thank everyone involved in producing these reports. In particular, the authors of the reports; the BRRP team led by Dr. Thomas Webster; all persons involved in the logistics and administrative work at PNG NRI and external partners; and the Government of PNG and Bougainville Government.

The Papua New Guinea National Research Institute (PNG NRI) as an independent institution works in researching and analysing strategic issues for national development.

PNG NRI considers the upcoming Referendum on Bougainville to be a significant national event that will impact the wellbeing of the people of Bougainville and PNG.

Therefore, the PNG NRI Bougainville Referendum Research Project is inquiring and informing stakeholders through seven (7) key studies;

1.    Administration of Referendums: A comparative study of independence referendums
2.    Independence Referendum: History, practice and outcomes
3.    Financing for Fiscal Autonomy: Fiscal self-reliance in Bougainville
4.    Options for Bougainville's Autonomy Arrangement: A study from a global comparative perspective
5.    Bougainville Referendum Outcome Issues
6.    Status and Implementation of the Bougainville Peace Agreement and Implication for Referendum
7.    Greater autonomy and independence for Bougainville: Institutional options and issues for transition
8.    Institution Building in Post Referendum Bougainville
9.    Increasing Revenues for the Bougainville Government

The PNG NRI has commissioned experts (independent researchers) to conduct desktop studies on the key topics identified from these questions.

Preliminary findings from the studies will be communicated to stakeholders such as the PNG and ABG government officials, development agencies, the people of Bougainville and PNG. They will be presented in a series of seminars, the first in November 2017, the second in February 2018 and the third around May of 2018.

The research reports will be freely available and PNG NRI encourages its wide use to raise issues and prompt informed discussions and decision making. It will also help bring out complex and sensitive issues that need to be addressed before voters go to the Referendum in 2019.

This is an independent research by the leading public policy think tank in PNG wanting to see a credible process leading to a peaceful outcome for Bougainville.


Click here for more information

The people of Bougainville are due to vote in a Referendum to determine...

Research Project

Bougainville Referendum Research Team


The PNG NRI has commissioned experts (independent researchers) to conduct desktop studies on the key topics identified.

Commissioned Researchers

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor.