Security, stability and resilience

Pacific states and their institutions are being actively shaped by political economy factors, including the way natural resources are exploited, land is acquired and used, and the environment is affected. This has direct implications for the security, stability, and resilience of governments and populations in the Pacific and in Melanesia in particular. Understanding these factors and the broader processes of state formation in Melanesia is critical.

Subtopics within this program of research include:

Urbanisation, land and natural resource management

By global standards, Melanesia has some of the fastest-growing cities. Pressures on land, resources and services are mounting. Well-managed urban development can be a driver of national development, but if neglected it can cause instability and inequality. Regionally specific understanding of changing demographics, rising pressures on scarce resources, and issues of food, water and energy security is critical for Pacific Island national security and resilience. Conflicts in the Pacific have nearly all been linked to land and resource access. Because of their high reliance on resources for subsistence and economic development, applied research in this area is critical to the future prosperity of the Pacific Islands.

Justice and security

Building legal and security institutions capable of operating effectively remains a challenge across the Pacific. In a region characterised by regulatory pluralism, the state is not always the primary provider of justice and security. In Melanesia, state law coexists with local social orders whose authority draws on kastom (custom) and the church, while private providers are rapidly transforming security governance in the region. The interaction between different actors and institutional forms involved in ‘justice’ and ‘security’ provision is a core theme of our research.

Bougainville

Bougainville remains crucial to DPA’s scholarship. Bougainville is approaching a critical point at which longstanding debate over proposals and processes for fundamental change in its political arrangements will culminate. A referendum on the political future of Bougainville, including the choice of independence, is nearing. The processes involved in that referendum are complex, controversial, and potentially divisive, as are the possible outcomes.

Cover of In Brief 2021/12 An Assessment of Bougainville’s President Toroama Part One: A Little-known New Leader

IB 2021/12 An Assessment of Bougainville’s President Toroama Part One: A Little-known New Leader

This is the first of three linked In Briefs about the record of Ishmael Toroama, elected President of the Autonomous Region of Bougainville (hereinafter Bougainville) in September 2020. Toroama is little known...

Cover of In Brief 2021/13 An Assessment of Bougainville’s President Toroama Part Two: Business and Music Activities

IB 2021/13 An Assessment of Bougainville’s President Toroama Part Two: Business and Music Activities

This is the second of three linked In Briefs discussing the record, the reasons for the election, and the leadership attributes of the newly elected (September 2020) President of Bougainville, Ishmael Toroama. This...

Cover of In Brief 2021/14 An Assessment of Bougainville’s President Toroama Part Three: A Candidate in Four Elections 2010–20

IB 2021/14 An Assessment of Bougainville’s President Toroama Part Three: A Candidate in Four Elections 2010–20

This is the third of three linked In Briefs discussing the little-known record and the leadership attributes of the newly elected (September 2020) President of Bougainville, Ishmael Toroama. This part discusses his...

Cover of IB 2021/10 The 2020 Autonomous Bougainville Government General Election: Part 1

IB 2021/10 The 2020 Autonomous Bougainville Government General Election: Part 1

This two-part In Brief explores the 2020 Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG) general election. This part provides a background to the election, including the postreferendum timing and issues about constituencies...

Cover of IB 2021/11 The 2020 Autonomous Bougainville Government General Election: Part 2

IB 2021/11 The 2020 Autonomous Bougainville Government General Election: Part 2

This second In Brief in a two-part series on Bougainville’s first general election after the 2019 referendum examines the election results as well as some issues surrounding the conduct of the election. The election...

Cover of In Brief 2021/08 Small Island Developing States Drive a Green Post-COVID-19 Recovery Agenda

IB 2021/08 Small Island Developing States Drive a Green Post-COVID-19 Recovery Agenda

Despite the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the existential threat of climate change for small island developing states (SIDS) remains. This has made SIDS step up in climate meetings to promote a green post-COVID-19...

Cover of Research Report Papua New Guinea's Primary Health Care System: Views from the Frontline

Papua New Guinea's Primary Health Care System: Views from the Frontline

This report aims to provide insights into how recent PNG government reform efforts are impacting on the primary health care system. These include the introduction of a free primary health care policy, national grants...

Cover of In Brief 2020/30 Voter Experiences during Bougainville’s 2019 Independence Referendum

IB 2020/30 Voter Experiences during Bougainville’s 2019 Independence Referendum

This In Brief sets out the results of the independence referendum in Bougainville, held between 23 November and 7 December 2019, and presents the findings of research undertaken on a range of administrative...

Cover of In Brief 2020/24 The Competing Perceptions of Jakarta and Papua towards the Special Autonomy Law

IB 2020/24 The Competing Perceptions of Jakarta and Papua towards the Special Autonomy Law

The historical roots of special autonomy in Papua can be traced back to two major events. The first was a meeting of 100 Papuan representatives with President Habibie in Jakarta on 26 February 1999, and the second...

Cover of Discussion Paper 2020/02 Preparing for the Referendum: Research into the Bougainville Peace Agreement Telephone Information Hotline

DP 2020/02 Preparing for the Referendum: Research into the Bougainville Peace Agreement Telephone Information Hotline

In late 2019, the people of the Autonomous Region of Bougainville in Papua New Guinea voted in a referendum that offered two choices: greater autonomy or independence. The referendum was required by the Bougainville...

Cover of In Brief 2020/21 Circumventing the Tender Process: Why PNG Should Be Cautious with the Administration of Coronavirus (COVID-19) Funds

IB 2020/21 Circumventing the Tender Process: Why PNG Should Be Cautious with the Administration of Coronavirus (COVID-19) Funds

Under normal circumstances, the Public Finance Management Act 1995 (PFMA) in Papua New Guinea (PNG) mandates rigorous tendering processes to safeguard the proper use of public monies. To deal with the COVID-19...

Cover of the manuscript 'Fishing for Success: Lessons in Pacific Regionalism'

Fishing For Success: Lessons in Pacific Regionalism

This manuscript by Dr Transform Aqorau titled ‘Fishing for Success: Lessons in Pacific Regionalism’ is a personal account, in which Dr Aqorau describes the journey of the countries belonging to the Parties of the...

Cover of In Brief 2020/20 Coronavirus (COVID-19) in Papua Province: An Increase in Case Numbers and the Challenges Ahead

IB 2020/20 Coronavirus (COVID-19) in Papua Province: An Increase in Case Numbers and the Challenges Ahead

Though some provinces in Indonesia have seen a decline in new COVID-19 cases or begun to show signs of stabilisation, others’ numbers continue to increase. Papua Province is experiencing a daily increase in positive...

in brief

IB 2020/17 Sustaining Fresh Food Supply in Lae during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Crisis

Imposing a hiatus on normal business is a double-edged sword. It both allows for combating the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) but it also cuts food supplies and threatens the livelihoods it is meant to protect...

in brief

IB 2020/15 COVID-19 (Coronavirus) in Papua New Guinea: The State of Emergency Cannot Fix Years of Negligence

This In Brief argues that PNG’s reliance on the State of Emergency and lockdowns to contain COVID-19 is proving difficult due to years of government negligence that have led to both poor health infrastructure and...

in brief

IB 2020/12 Coronavirus (COVID-19) and Papua: Putting People First

This paper examines how the province of Papua responded quickly to close its borders, indicating a level of distrust in the national authorities’ ability to protect Papuans from COVID-19. It also reasons that the...

in brief

IB 2020/08 Emergency Toll-Free Telephone Services Part 1: Challenging Contexts

In developed countries, emergency services such as the police can be telephoned during time-critical incidents. Response times are generally good, depending on competing simultaneous demands. By contrast, emergency...

in brief

IB 2020/09 Emergency Toll-Free Telephone Services Part 2: A Police Line in Papua New Guinea

This In Brief presents a case study of a toll-free police telephone service that has been established in Papua New Guinea (PNG). A companion piece (Part 1) outlined some of the key challenges encountered when setting...

WP 2020/03 Developing Papua New Guinea’s Tourism Sector

This paper focuses on tourism in Papua New Guinea (PNG) and a range of challenges that hinder the progress of tourism development.

In Brief

IB 2020/07 Local Music Sharing via Mobile Phones in Melanesia

Little is known about the use of mobile phones for sharing music content in Melanesia, particularly creative content produced within the region. This In Brief argues that this recent phenomenon is worthy of...

In Brief

IB 2020/06 Coronavirus Covid-19 in Papua New Guinea

The first coronavirus Covid-19 case entered Papua New Guinea on 13 March 2020. Whether it will spread is a critical question, but it is likely. This In Brief examines two previous epidemics in PNG and then describes...

WP 2020/01 National Development Plans in PNG — How They Measure Up Against the National Goals and Directive Principles

This paper revisits the development models promoted in recent national plans in PNG, the influences that framed their ambitious visions and their compatibility with the earlier NGDPs. Learning from the failed...

IB 2019/24 Challenges and Opportunities for Land Governance in Papua New Guinea

This In Brief highlights discussions around land governance in PNG, in particular, the critical challenges for governance of customary land and opportunities to address those challenges, as identified at PNG’s 2019...

The Bougainville Referendum: Law, Administration and Politics

This book presents an analysis of legal, administrative and political issues arising from the complex arrangements for the conduct of the Bougainville referendum. The first purpose of this book is to promote a better...

in brief

IB 2019/17 Can Telephone Counselling Services Help in the Pacific?

This In Brief informs readers about the status of mental health services and telephone counselling services in the Pacific region and offers suggestions for further research on this topic. The paper identifies a...

IB 2019/16 The Blue Pacific in Action: Solomon Islands’ National Ocean Policy

Solomon Islands has embraced the regional Blue Pacific and Pacific Oceanscape concepts for sustainable oceans management and translated the core principles into national action. The Solomon Islands National Ocean...

in brief

IB 2019/15 A PUF of Fresh Air? Pacific Urban Forum 2019

The Pacific Islands region is rapidly urbanising with mounting social and ecological pressures, as has been well covered in many earlier DPA publications. To date, regional attention to this significant development...

DP 2019/02 Modernising Tradition: Elections, Parties and Land in Fiji

Is the FijiFirst government the epitome of modernity and SODELPA banking on returning to the past? In discussing land policy, indigenous rights, accumulation and need, Scott MacWilliam’s analysis shows how things are...

IB 2019/06 Perceptions of Peacebuilding in Solomon Islands Post-RAMSI

This In Brief is based on the National Perceptions Survey on Peacebuilding for Solomon Islands commissioned by the United Nations Development Programme under a United Nations Peacebuilding Fund project implemented by...

In Brief

IB 2019/01 Youth-Inclusive Development: Challenges and Potential in Solomon Islands

Political discourse and parliament in Solomon Islands are dominated by older men, making it easy to forget that this cohort of influential people are, in fact, the minority of the population. With seven in 10 Solomon...

Policy Brief 2018/01 Pacific Policing - RAMSI: Lessons, Impacts and Recommendations

This Policy Brief is in two parts. First, it summarises findings on five key questions that underpinned the research into the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI), drawing directly on our interviews...

IB 2018/19 Community Law-Making and the Codification of Customary Laws — Social and Gender Issues in Samoa

Samoa1 possesses two parallel systems through which social order and justice are maintained: the formal constitution-based judicial and legal system and the traditional justice mechanism provided by the village fono...

IB 2018/18 Community Law-Making and the Codification of Customary Laws — New Currents

The July 2018 Codification and Creation of Community & Customary Laws in the South Pacific and Beyond conference at The Australian National University focused on the proliferation of unofficial community law-...

In Brief

IB 2018/17 Early Modern Witchcraft Trials: Are There Lessons for Sorcery Accusation-Related Violence Today?

In this In Brief, the author talks about the relevance of witchcraft trials in early modern Europe to the contemporary sorcery accusation-related violence in Papua New Guinea (PNG).

Discussion Paper

DP 2018/07 Coffee in the Highlands of Papua New Guinea: The Early Years

This paper demonstrates the international trend from the 19th century for smallholders to become predominant in the production of many agricultural commodities central to the global expansion of capitalism....

Discussion Paper

DP 2018/05 The Bougainville Referendum Arrangements: Origins, Shaping and Implementation Part Two: Shaping and Implementation

Having considered the origins and aspects of the shaping of the referendum arrangements in the first of these paired Discussion Papers, this paper presents an overview of the arrangements for the referendum as set...

Discussion Paper

DP 2018/04 The Bougainville Referendum Arrangements: Origins, Shaping and Implementation Part One: Origins and Shaping

The Bougainville Peace Agreement (the BPA) is a complex agreement, produced by a succession of compromises made during more than two years of often intense negotiations (June 1999 to August 2001), directed towards...

DPA in Brief

IB 2018/14 Diabetes Control in the Federated States of Micronesia

Many Pacific island countries (PICs) report extraordinarily high rates of diabetes mellitus (Tukuitonga 2016). This disease contributes significantly to the dizzying regional and global increases in non-communicable...

DPA in Brief

IB 2018/13 Disaster Risk Reduction in Papua New Guinea

At 3:45 am on 26 February 2018, a magnitude 7.5 earthquake occurred in Papua New Guinea with an epicentre 30 kilometres south-west of Tari. Over 140 people are known to have died and roads, airfields, schools and...

DPA in Brief

IB 2018/12 Markets Matter: Market Vendor Views on Security and Social Inclusion in Honiara, Solomon Islands

This In Brief examines governance and security issues in three of Honiara’s community markets at Henderson, Fishing Village and White River. They are located on roadsides and unregulated by authorities, in contrast...

DPA in Brief

IB 2018/11 China’s Growing Interest in Deep Sea Mining in the Pacific

China’s growing engagement with the Pacific region has attracted policy and academic attention in the past decade. Its involvement in deep sea mining in the region is an exception and remains poorly understood....

IB 2018/10 Markets Matter: Enhancing Livelihoods and Localities

Urban informal (community-based) markets are often neglected by public policy — although prevalent, they are not legally recognised, regulated or financed. Yet, these markets are places of resilience and development...

DPA In Brief Series

IB 2018/09 Markets Matter: ANU–UN Women Project on Honiara’s Informal Markets in Solomon Islands

In Honiara, many households rely on income from selling produce in informal (community-based) urban markets, yet little is known about these markets and their economic opportunities. What we do know about Honiara’s...

DPA In Brief Series

IB2018/06 Food Security and Sustainable Seed Supply in Timor-Leste: Progress of the National Seed System (Part 2)

This is the second in a two-part series about seed supply systems in Timor-Leste. Part 1 (Lopes 2018) dealt with the formal and informal systems, their strengths and weaknesses, and recommended that both could work...

DPA In Brief Series

IB2018/05 Food Security and Sustainable Seed Supply in Timor-Leste: Formal and Informal Seed Systems (Part 1)

This In Brief is the first in a two-part series on seed systems in Timor-Leste and research carried out for the Seeds of Life program. It describes the context of seed supply in Timor-Leste. The second part will...

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IB 2018/4 Research into Constituency Development Funds in Solomon Islands

This In-Brief provides an overview of a current research project that is examining how constituency development funds are managed in Solomon Islands. It describes the context for the research, the approach taken to...

The RAMSI Legacy for Policing in the Pacific Region

For the past 14 years, approximately one-fifth of the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI) Participating Police Force (PPF) has comprised police from 13 Pacific Island countries, referred to as the...

DPA In Brief

IB2018/02 Opportunity Knocks? ANU–PIFS Workshop on Regional Dimensions of Urbanisation

This In Brief summarises some of the issues discussed at that workshop by leading experts and elaborates on urban issues covered in the State of the Pacific Regional Report 2017.

DPA In Brief

IB2018/01 Serving in a Multinational Police Mission in Solomon Islands: New Zealand Perspectives

This In Brief summarises the findings of an online survey of NZ police who had served in the PPF that was undertaken as an adjunct to a major investigation of the impact of RAMSI on Pacific policing.

DPA In Brief

IB2017/34 Sustaining Peace in Solomon Islands through a New Constitution? Part 2: The Draft Constitution and Recent Discussions

This In Brief is the second in a series on the process of developing a new constitution in the Solomon Islands. It looks at recent dialogues and resolutions, and shows how some historical grievances are addressed in...

DPA In Brief

IB2017/33 Sustaining Peace in Solomon Islands through a New Constitution? Part 1: Historical Contestations

This In Brief is the first in a two-part series that discusses a critical aspect of the Solomon Islands (SI) internal peace process through the development of a new constitution. It provides a brief history of the...

The Development Bulletin - Urban development in the Pacific

Pacific Island countries are experiencing dramatic social, political and demographic change as urban populations increase and the flow of people moving from rural villages to the towns has become a flood. This issue...

SSGM In Brief

IB2017/20 The RAMSI Legacy for Pacific Policing

Drawing on more than 100 interviews, this In Brief summarises preliminary findings from a research project supported by the Australian Federal Police (AFP) that has been examining the experience and impact of RAMSI’s...

SSGM In Brief

IB2017/19 Food Security in the Torricelli Foothills of Papua New Guinea: Can Sago Continue to Sustain the Increasing Population?

Since around 1980, the population of Papua New Guinea (PNG) has been growing at an average rate of 2.7% per annum — doubling about every 25 years. People in rural areas grow 85% of the food they consume, growing it...

Kastom, property and ideology

Kastom, Property and Ideology: Land Transformations in Melanesia

The relationship between customary land tenure and ‘modern’ forms of landed property has been a major political issue in the ‘Spearhead’ states of Melanesia since the late colonial period, and is even more pressing...

Urban Development in Honiara cover

Urban Development in Honiara: Harnessing Opportunities, Embracing Change

Honiara and its surrounding urban areas have the highest levels of population growth in the South Pacific, and the population could treble by 2050. Such rapid growth presents huge challenges, but also great...

SSGM Discussion Paper

DP2017/5 New Pathways Across Old Terrain? SSGM Research on Resources, Conflict and Justice

Melanesia is characterised by complex interactions among land and natural resource uses, legal and political institutions, and interest groups. These interactions play out at the national level, where institutions...

SSGM Discussion Paper

DP2017/4 Artisanal and Small Scale Mining in Bougainville: Risk, Reward and Regulation

This paper provides a high-level but comprehensive review of the status, as of mid-2016, of the artisanal and small-scale (ASM, or sometimes AASM) industry in post-conflict Bougainville, drawing on extensive...

SSGM In Brief

IB2017/9 Deep Sea Minerals in the Pacific

In 2016 c. 24 million tonnes of copper was produced. This is the tip of an exponential growth trend from 1900 when only 0.5 million tonnes was produced and is a proxy for global population and consumer trends (CDA...

SSGM Discussion Paper

DP 2017/3 Leadership Challenges for the Autonomous Bougainville Government

This discussion paper is based on a public speech delivered by the Hon. Patrick Nisira MHR, the Vice-President of the Autonomous Region of Bougainville, which was organised by the State, Society & Governance in...

SSGM Discussion Paper

DP2017/2 The Creation of Two New Provinces in Papua New Guinea — A Story of False Starts and Near Fatal Collisions

Sir Manasupe Zurenuoc OBE Kt made an enor­mous contribution to Papua New Guinea. During his career in public service he touched many lives and will be fondly remembered. Sir Manasupe was deeply committed to the...

SSGM Discussion Paper

DP2017/1 State of the Media Review in Four Melanesian Countries — Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu — in 2015

This Discussion Paper looks at the shifting media landscapes in four Melanesian countries in 2015 — Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu. It charts and links the key developments, and considers their...

SSGM In Brief

IB2017/5 Solomon Islands’ Urban Land Tenure: Growing Complexity

This In Brief discusses contemporary land complexities in Solomon Islands with reference to land dealings around the capital city of Honiara. It provides a brief history of land in Honiara before discussing urban...

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