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Weaving consensus: The Papua New Guinea - Bougainville peace process

The peace agreement signed in 2001 on the island of Bougainville, Papua New Guinea (PNG), ended the most violent conflict in the South Pacific since World War II. Triggered by disputes in the late-1960s between local landowners and the international proprietors of the world’s largest copper and gold mine, armed resistance in the 1980s met an abusive response from the PNG security forces. As this diverse island society fractured over the next decade, further conflicts erupted between different Bougainvillean groups.

Accord 12 outlines an extraordinary array of creative initiatives and interventions that succeeded not only in ending the organised violence but brought together Bougainvillean society within a national framework. The peace process defined a negotiated settlement acceptable to all.

The publication describes an indigenous peace process that drew on the strengths of Melanesian traditions and benefited from innovative roles by international third parties. It includes a chronology of events, full texts of the agreements and profiles of key people and institutions involved. It also highlights the challenges ahead for putting the agreement into practice and consolidating peace.

Additionally, a critical literacy kit on the Bougainville peace process was developed in 'tok pisin' by literacy workers connected with the Bougainville Inter-Church Women's Forum.

This issue of Accord was edited by Andy Carl and Lorraine Garasu, CSN.

The material content of the Bougainville publication is not only in-depth but an excellent learning experience which will be beneficial in my work here in Sierra Leone.

Andrew Kromah, Media Foundation for Peace & Development, Sierra Leone