The government's long-term strategic plan, Vision 2050, grossly misinterprets the National Goals and Directive Principles in our Constitution.
This is the major finding of a new study conducted by Patrick Kaiku from the University of Papua New Guinea.
"Vision 2050 ignores the visionary work of the Constitutional Planning Committee and does not embrace the five National Goals and Directive Principles enshrined in the Constitution", says Patrick Kaiku.
He explains that the National Goals in the Constitution are supposed to guide all activity taking place in Papua New Guinea. The goals are based around Papua New Guinean Ways and Melanesian values. They include the principles of human development, equal participation, national sovereignty, self-reliance, wise use of natural resources and using our own forms of social, political and economic organisation.
But the government's Vision 2050, which is being used as the blueprint for our socio-economic development and maps out the future direction for the country, does not reflect the intent and meaning of those National Goals according to Kaiku’s study.
In particular he says, Vision 2050 undermines our economic sovereignty and self-reliance while the use of the global yardsticks to define development disempowers rural people and ignores Melanesian concepts. The Vision also completely omits the importance of cultural education and the benefits of culture as a tool for development
Community advocacy group ACT NOW! commissioned the study.
"This study has revealed the Government's Vision is basically unconstitutional. This undermines the validity of its whole economic approach and all the other medium and short-term government plans and strategies that are aligned with the Vision", says Effrey Dademo, ACT NOW! Program Manager.
ACT NOW! says the government's approach to development which includes taking customary land away from rural people and a heavy dependence on mining and an export-orientated economy is not what was intended by our Founding Fathers.
"The government’s approach to national development has undermined our political sovereignty, has been economically disastrous and inhibits our own entrepreneurial capacity"says Effrey Dademo.
"This is why we now find ourselves in such a mess as a Nation, both socially and economically, and is exactly what the Constitutional Planning Committee warned against".
Patrick Kaiku says Vision 2050 is not sustainable and will not authoritatively become the “philosophy of life” in PNG given that it suffers from a lack of legitimacy and institutionalization.
He recommends that instead of concentrating efforts on the implementation of Vision 2050 the Vision should be put to one side while as a nation we revisit the National Goals and Development Principles in the Constitution.
"This means, for example, embedding the NGDP into the education curriculum to ingrain at an early age the principles and values that should be activated for national development".