Bougainville land meet set for next week

Islands, Normal

The National, Tuesday, May 3, 2011

ALL land will be the focus of discussions among stakeholders in the Bougainville Land Summit from May 9 to 12 in Arawa.
Facilitated by the Bougainville division of lands and physical planning, discussions will cover areas of mining and development, customary land management, mission and plantation land acquisition and PNG land law reform.
In a district land workshop report circulated for pre-consultation in preparation for the summit, the report said 97%  of land on Bougainville was customary owned yet no protection was given through any legislation.
The remaining 3%  of land is state land for public purposes and leasing.
“During the Bougainville crisis, many lease holders abandoned their land and never returned, including residential, commercial, government and plantation land,” the report said.
It said misinformation was spread during that time that all alienated land had returned to traditional landowners.
“This was fallacy and has caused significant confusion over land tenure in Bougainville.”
The Bougainville Land Summit, a first for the region, will seek to address these concerns through discussions on land use and natural resources, customary land rights and obligations and land disputes and legal processes.
The guest speakers to the summit will include ABG minister of lands and natural resources Michael Oni, land experts Dr Jim Fingleton and Dr Ruth Spriggs and Bishop Bernard Unabali, who will present an overview of land acquired by missions.