THE DEPARTMENT OF COMMUNITY GOVERNMENT AND DISTRICT AFFAIRS:
Headed by Acting Secretary John Watmelik under the ministerial leadership of Honorable THEONILA MATBOB, Member for Ioro Constituency, ABG Minister for Community Government. Its mandate is focused on:
- Community Government (support and coordination)
- District Coordination and administration
- Traditional Authority and custom
- Disaster and Emergency management and coordination
Disaster Coordination Office
The Bougainville Disaster Coordination Office was launched at Kubu, Buka Island in September 2014. The National Minister for National Planning and Monitoring, Charles Abel officially opened the Bougainville Disaster Coordination Office. The Minister and his delegation were in Buka for a week long visit of High Impact Projects on Buka Island and mainland Bougainville. Abel was accompanied by Acting National Planning Secretary Juliana Kubak and other government delegates. The building is funded by the Special Intervention Fund ( SIF ) to ABG by the National Government. The office is responsible for managing natural and human-caused disasters in Bougainville.
Since the office was established the Bougainville government, the Provincial Government of Tinputz district and development partners finalized the first District Disaster Risk Management (DRM) Plan for the district.
This model Tinputz District DRM Plan has been jointly drafted by the district level agencies and development partners with technical assistance from Disaster Risk Management Office of the Autonomous Region of Bougainville and UNDP.
The plan was developed through a comprehensive and participatory process, involving all district agencies, non-governmental organizations, the private sector and faith-based organizations, as well as community consultations.
What is Community Government?
Community Government is Bougainville’s new second level of government. The Bougainville Community Government Act (CG Act) replaces the Council of Elders Act 1996. The new Act gives Community Governments more powers to support community decision-making and to perform the functions of community development (social and economic).
KEY POINTS – COMMUNITY GOVERNMENT
- Respects local customary authority: Community Government empowers the voice of traditional leaders to promote peace, security, law and order. It can provide support for traditional authority and village court, land mediators and Community Auxiliary Police in the ward area.
- Equal voice: one woman, one man: Each Ward elects one woman and one man to represent them at the Community Government.
- Empowers development interests of communities: Responsible for designing and planning community development and government service delivery.
- Encourage participation of people and local groups: Works closely with social groups/local organisations and liaises with district managers.
- Better coordination between ABG and community government: Services and facilities identified and monitored by community to meet their current and future needs.
Bougainville’s Second Level of Government
Bougainville is divided into Community Government areas. A Ward is the further break down of a Community Government area. A Community Government can have between 3 and 15 Wards. People in each Ward elect one woman and one man to serve as their Ward Representatives. The Community Government term is five years, following the ABG election.
FUNCTIONS AND POWERS
- Maintain community data: births, deaths, total population etc
- Identify and prioritise present and future needs of people
- Contribute to district planning, and implement or assist projects resulting from planning
- Work with ABG to coordinate and monitor government services/staff in its area
- Encourage initiatives for improving quality of life of its people
- Represent interests of its people to the wider community
- Carry out or provide assistance for projects funded from other sources
- Establish community mining license reserves and relating community licenses and tenements
- Special Functions under the Bougainville Constitution
- Urban Community Government also responsible for rubbish collection
No hierarchical relationship: Community Government works cooperatively with district officers, the ward steering committee, traditional chiefs and leaders of the wards.
People in each Ward elect one woman and one man to serve as their Ward Representatives. The role of Ward Representatives are:
- Participate in the deliberation and civic activities of the Community Government
- Assess Community Government resource allocation, expenditures and activities, and the effectiveness of its service delivery.
- Represent the interests of the people of the Ward
- Participate in the Ward Steering Committee
WARD STEERING COMMITTEE
A Ward Steering Committee is not a formal level of government but brings the Ward Representatives together with other people chosen by the community in whatever means appropriate. The role of the Committee is to provide administrative and operational support to traditional chiefs, other traditional leaders and village courts. Committees also identify development needs, for example: impact of natural disasters, requirement for conflict resolution, issues relating to health, land and environment of the Ward.
Sources of funds for Community Government is money appropriated by the House of Representatives or National Parliament, taxes and rates, imposition of administrative fees, commercial activities, and borrowing or investing, among others.
Elections are held every five years within twelve months of the ABG election. Elections are conducted by the Bougainville Electoral Commission.