This paper explores the decentralization and distribution of resource revenues between the central, provincial and local governments, and local landowners in Papua New Guinea, and examines the degree to which the allocation of revenues is taking due account of children’s best interest. It shows that recent government initiatives, in tandem with an increased proportion of revenues allocated to social development services, could promote the realization of children’s rights. In 2013, the government introduced the Family Protection Act, which features new elements of child protection as well as the 2014 District Development Authority Act that aims to strengthen local-level governments and service delivery. What is now needed, and is recognized by key stakeholders, is enhanced and effective implementation of these changes so that development does not stagnate at the policy stage, as has happened in the past.
Papua New Guinea has had a diverse history of contestation over resource revenues during its past forty years since independence. The major actors have been the national and provincial level governments and politicians, international development agencies, resources companies and local landowners in project development areas. This paper explores the debates over decentralization and the distribution of resource revenues between the central, provincial and local governments, and local landowners. It considers issues of representation in negotiations over resource revenues and whether this has been sufficiently equitable. It does this in an effort to understand whether children’s needs and welfare have been accounted for when decisions have been made over how to allocate and use resource revenues.
is Director of Community Development at Social Sustainability Services Pty Ltd in Western Australia.