Around 70 community leaders from Madang Province are meeting this week to discuss the lack of development taking place in the Provinces and to begin organising ahead of the 2017 National Election.
The meeting has been arranged by ACT NOW! and is being hosted by the Tropical Gem community network. The theme for the meeting is "Rise Up! Return to Your Roots".
“Successive governments have failed to improve the lives of most people, especially those living in rural areas and urban settlements”, says ACT NOW! Program Manager, Effrey Dademo.
“Government’s have been too focused on large scale resource extraction projects like mines and logging that boost economic growth but do not help ordinary people.”
“We see huge amounts of money being stolen through corruption or wasted on infrastructure projects in Port Moresby and a small elite who are becoming extremely wealthy, but for most people life just gets tougher.”
ACT NOW! says issues like the SABL land grab, experimental seabed mining and the proposed Frieda River mine show the government is not serious about implementing its own National Strategy for Responsible and Sustainable Development (StaRS) and does not understand the real meaning of development.
“Economic growth that does not take care of our social needs and respect the environment is not development” says Ms. Dademo. “We need economic activities that respect PNG Ways and support local communities”.
"Our national leaders have been captured by foreign governments and are working to enrich themselves and global corporations to the detriment of our people, our environment and our culture”
ACT NOW! says the Forum will be an opportunity for community leaders to begin planning and to ensure a wider understanding of the difference between economic growth and community development.