Weaving consensus: The Papua New Guinea - Bougainville peace process
Publication date: 
2002
Accord issue: 
12

The negotiation process between the Papua New Guinean government and the political groups in Bougainville was long and tense, revolving around autonomy and a referendum on independence. Critical to the talks was the establishment of a unified negotiating position amongst the different Bougainville parties. A workable compromise consisted of a high degree of autonomy to be followed by a referendum on independence, which was acceptable to all the parties and recognised disagreement on the question of independence. Anthony Regan analyses the different positions, how the talks stalled over the issue of a referendum and how, thanks to international intervention and a change in negotiating personnel, the stalemate was resolved with an agreement on autonomy and a constitutional guarantee of a non-binding referendum.