Enough planning, start implementing

Editorial, Normal

The National

COMMUNITY Development secretary Joseph Klapat on Tuesday said PNG’s development had been impeded by “misguided priorities”.
He said priorities were shuffled and shifted too often to make a real impact. How true.
With the new National Strategic Plan (NSP) 2010-50, PNG seems to have done it again – shuffled or shifted priorities.
The new plan is focusing on:
* Strategic planning;
* Institutions and systems strengthening and alignment;
* Human development and people empowerment;
* Wealth creation; 
* Security and global relations; 
* Environmental sustainable development; and 
* Church and development.
Now compare that with the eight Millennium Development Goals (MDG) which PNG is a signatory to and which it appears unlikely to achieve by the target date of 2015.
The goals are:
* Eradicate poverty and hunger;
* Achieve universal primary education;
* Promote gender equality and empower women;
* Reduce child mortality;
* Improve maternal health;
* Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases;
* Ensure environmental sustainability; and
* Partnership for global development.
With differences in wording, what the NSP asks for and the MDG stresses are the same thing. Indeed, the MDG is more focused, more direct and targetting specific problem areas.
Take for example: Education. The NSP calls for human development and human empowerment. The MDG calls for governments to achieve universal primary education. Both speak the same thing but the MDG is more specific, the NSP is ambiguous and general.
Now take a look at the Government’s Medium Term Development Strategy (MTDS) 2005-10.
Its 10 guiding principles are:
1. Private sector-led economic growth;
2. Resource mobilisation and alignment;
3. Improvements in the quality of life;
4. Natural endowments;
5. Competitive advantage and the global market;
6. Integrating the three-tiers of Government;
7. Partnership through strategic alliances;
8. Least developed areas intervention;
9. Empowering Papua New Guineans and improving skills; and
10. ‘Sweat equity’ and Papua New Guinean character.
The point here is that PNG does not need another planning document. There are more than enough.
Indeed, there was a plan from day one 34 years ago. The first five plans comprised the National Goals and Directive principles and were written into the Constitution as its preamble.
These goals were:
* Integral human development – for every person to be dynamically involved in the process of freeing himself or herself from every form of domination, oppression so that each man or woman will have the opportunity to develop as a whole person in relationship with others;
* Equality and participation, which called for all citizens to have an equal opportunity to participate in, and benefit from, the development of the country;
* National sovereignty and self-reliance, which called for Papua New Guinea to be politically and economically independent and its economy basically self-reliant;
* Natural resources and the environment for PNG’s natural resources and environment to be conserved and used for the collective benefit of us all, and be replenished for the benefit of future generations; and
* Papua New Guinean ways, which called for development to be achieve primarily through the use of Papua New Guinean forms of social, political and economic organisation.
Later they were translated into the eight-point plan. The eight points are almost a repeat of the national goals and would be too monotonous if repeated here.
When you look at the plans we have included above they basically say the same things over and over again in so many different ways.
The plans set at Independence remain. They are relevant. They are the same goals as contained in the MDG, in the MTDS and even the NSP.
It is time to leave planning and documentation. Get cracking on implementation.