Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Conference in Noumea -Democracy, Sovereignty and Self-Determination in the Pacific Islands

Pacific Islands Political Studies Association (PIPSA)

2019 Conference 25 - 27 JUNE 2019 University of New Caledonia, Noumea

An excellent PIPSA conference in Noumea. The theme “Democracy, Sovereignty and Self-Determination in the Pacific Islands”. 

Very informative sessions on West Papua in both the French and English streams. Other sessions included Norfolk Island, designing Referendums for peacekeeping and many more issue of concern in the pacific.  There was an excellent keynote address by the  Pacific Community Director-General, Colin Tukuitonga. Nic Maclellan (Islands Business) also gave a public talk – “Colonialism français et souveraineté partagée dans le Pacifique”. It was also good to meet and network with presenters and attendees.  Andre from the local Kanak radio station,  Radio Djiido did a number of interviews with presenters of  West Papuan (and other) sessions. He was interested that Anne and myself had been members of the Australians for Kanak Independence (back at the time of the troubles so to speak) and asked about its history during the interview. Andre  seems keen to have a weekly session on WP on his show. We presented him with a WP flag. I’ve put the synopsis (from the official program under photos of the WP sessions). There will be a publication eventually from the conference.

From offical program
Pacific Islands Political Studies Association (PIPSA)
2019 Conference
25 - 27 JUNE 2019 University of New Caledonia, Noumea
Democracy, Sovereignty and Self-Determination in the Pacific Islands
From 25 – 27 June 2019, the Australian National University Department of Pacific Affairs and the University of New Caledonia LARJE Centre will be co-convening the PIPSA (Pacific Islands Political Studies Association) under the theme of ‘Democracy, Sovereignty and Self-Determination in the Pacific Islands’. In 2019 this theme has particular resonance following the New Caledonian referendum, the relisting of French Polynesia on the UN list of Non-Self- Governing Territories, the forthcoming referendum in Bougainville, violence in West Papua, as well as the existential threats to the Pacific region posed by climate change and rising sea levels. Conference sessions will be in English and in French, covering topics including evolving forms of sovereignty in the Pacific; climate change; security; decolonisation; international relations; land rights and natural resources; and gender and politics. 

Some photos from conference

Keynote address by the  Pacific Community Director-General, Colin Tukuitonga

Elfira Rumkabu (Cenderawasih) - Revisiting Jokowi’s Development Approach for Conflict Resolution in West Papua 
In dealing with self-determination aspiration, Jokowi takes a prosperity based-approach that is focusing on developing infrastructure and improving connectivity in West Papua. The 4330km of Trans Papua Road that connects isolated regions in the highlands will be concluded this year. Jokowi also promoted the opening of new Special Economy Regions in Papua to support the distribution of goods and services to and from Papua. Building roads, bridges, airports, and ports has become his priority to promote West Papuan people’s welfare.  However, putting the development project in the context of conflict resolution raises questions of how effective this appoach is. The campaign for self-determination inside and outside Papua is getting stronger. Whilst there are some armed resistances conducted by TPN-OPM, there are some peaceful civil resistances which are also mobilised with larger supporters. KNPB, AMP and GARDA are some of the organizations that openly put a referendum as their campaign platform. Even though they have same agenda as TPN-OPM, they promote peaceful ways in promoting political aspirations. In the middle of the political spectrum, there is the struggle of people asking for self-determination in the wider context. This civil resistance brings the issues of endangered indigenous Papuans’ identity, natural resources exploitation, land grabbing, and democracy. This movement  is initiated by culturally based organizations and local NGOs. These armed and civil resistances are stronger than before, even though the massive development project being done in the region. This paper, therefore, has two purposes. Firstly, it evaluates the effectiveness of Jokowi’s development project on West Papua conflict resolution. Secondly, it analyses indigenous Papuan responses to this development project. 

Julian McKinlay King (Univ. Wollongong) - Kanaky and West Papua: Independence derailed by global ‘greed’ and the emergent paradigm of ‘indigenous anarchism’. 
The Melanesian territories of West Papua and New Caledonia are yet to attain independence. This presentation revisits the history of these territories and argues that the rich mineral resources of these lands is the primary motivation for occupation by other powers preventing these peoples rightful ‘complete independence and freedom’ to which they are entitled under the 1960 United Nations resolution 1514 (XV) Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples. The paper will review West Papua’s legal 
status and argues it remains a Non-Self-Governing Territory of the Netherlands – albeit abandoned – where indigenous Organisasi Papua Merdeka (OPM) freedom fighters are at war with the Indonesian state. At the core of West Papua’s problems is global economic ‘greed’ parallel to the case of New Caledonia. Although listed as a Non-Self-Governing Territory, the ‘complete independence and freedom’ of the Kanak people has been derailed by the colonial power’s covert and overt tactics of murder, propaganda, manipulation, and colonial migration. While the umbrella FLNKS movement appears to have stalled, the indigenous revolutionary movement Groups Revolutionnaires Koutumiers Kanaks (MGRK) represents an alternative that refuses to engage with the colonial power. Like the OPM, MGRK is pursuing a policy of ‘struggle by all necessary means’ against what they consider an occupying power as authorised under United Nations General Assembly resolution 2621 (XXV) Programme of action for the full implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples. The unique decentralised system of representation adopted by both the OPM and MGRK and their rejection of the Western-styled centralised governments represent an alternative system of political representation – ‘indigenous anarchism’ – which will be presented and compared in light of other decentralised systems of indigenous representation similarly emerging in opposition to globalisation. 

                                                                                               Ronny presenting

Paul Charles Wea (La Trobe) - L’independance de la NC, Bougainville et West Papuaconstitue une nouvelle renaissance du Groupe Fer de Lance Melanesien 
Depuis sa creation, le Groupe Fer de Lance Melanesien a connu un developement considerable dans son  existence en tant qu’organisation sous-regionale dans le Pacifique. La dimension regionale et Internationale de l’Organisation a permis de repondre aux enjeux majeurs que traversent les Etat et pays de la Melanesie en matiere economique, sociale et culturelle. Cree a l’origine pour soutenir l’independance de la Nouvelle- Caledonie, le GFLM a malgre tout fonctionne convenablement malgre quelques difficultes rencontres notamment sur les sujets aussi sensibles comme la question de West Papua qui continue a fragiliser la cohesion du groupe. Mais au-dela des positonnements politiques des Etats sur la question de West Papua, il n’en demeure pas moins que la question de l’auto determination de West Papua, Nouvelle-Caledonie  et Bougainville reste un sujet diplomatiquement strategique qu’il convient de traiter avec beaucoup d’intelligence, dans une perspective geopolitique, et qui va necessairement determiner l’avenir du GFLM et de ces Etats Melanesiens. Le referendum de Bougainville est prevu pour le mois d’octobre 2019, celui de
la Nouvelle-Caledonie l’annee prochaine 2020 et West Papua en campagne pour un referendum organise eventuellement par l’ONU. L’eventualiate des indenpandances de ces nouveaux Etats va fondamentalement impacte l’organisation du GFLM en la propulsant ainsi vers une dimension internationale sans precedente en devenant au meme titre que le Forum du Pacique une organisation incontournable. Pourquoi et comment
le GFLM sera percue et considere dans les relations internationales? Est ce que le renforcement du GFLM par l’arrivee de la Kanaky-Nouvelle-Caledonie, West Papua et Bougainville va booster le developpement des societes Melanesiennes et creer un nouveau rapport de force dans le Pacifique. Qelles seront les rapports et les nouvelles relations entre le GFLM et l’Australie comme les pays asiatiques?. A partir de ces questions, il sera interessant de projecter vers l’avenir la vision du GFLM en termes de rapport de force dans les relations internationales, car bien que ces pays continuent de rencontrer des difficultes sociales et economiques, il est pourtant probable qu’en depit de leur richesse en matieres premieres (mines, peche, tourisme etc...) le GFLM sera dans les decennies a venir une veritable force strategique et geoplitique dans la region Asie-Pacifique ou Indo-Pacifique. 

William Waqavakatoga (USP) - Evaluating the New Pacific Diplomacy: A case study of West Papua 
In 1998, Indonesian President Suharto lost power, which also ended the policy of ‘New Order’. This collapse created the setting for the short lived but intense ‘West Papua Spring’. For the first time in decades, West Papuans sensed an opportunity in achieving self-determination aspiration. However, conservative hardliners in Jakarta would later put an end to this optimism. This paper examines the emergence of New West Papua Diplomacy and uses this emergence to evaluate the ‘New Pacific Diplomacy’. This research paper has focused on the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP) and Pacific Coalition for West Papua (PCWP) as an expression of a new diplomatic system in the ‘New Pacific Diplomacy’, and evaluated against the claims in the literature. Change in the “regional architecture is central to the ‘New Pacific Diplomacy’, 
but it remains an unfinished journey” (Fry & Tarte, 2016, p. 15). This paper endeavours to give an evaluation the ‘New Pacific Diplomacy’ by looking at West Papua’s Freedom Movement’s diplomatic activities in their 

attempt to be legitimised and supported by Pacific Island countries in the changing ‘regional architecture’. The paper examines three areas. Firstly, it explores the diplomatic strategies undertaken by the ULMWP and PICWP, and the implications of these strategies. Secondly, it examines and interprets what these strategies tell us about the ‘New Pacific Diplomacy’. Lastly, it attempts to interpret what these diplomatic strategies tell us about Pacific agency. The formation of ULMWP as representative body for West Papua and creation of the grouping, PICWP, are new components of the ‘New Pacific Diplomacy’ discussed in this research. To what extent or degree these new components stress and strain ‘regional architecture’ provide an indication of if the ‘unfinished journey’ has been reached or not. 

Ron Levy (ANU) - Designing Referendums for Peacemaking: The Case of Bougainville 
The specific question we explore in this article is what can be done to improve deliberation in the course of the Bougainville referendum. The pathologies of standard referendums are well-recognised, and in our view these must be explicitly addressed if any referendum is to be useful – and especially if a referendum is to avoid derailing efforts at subsequent settlement. Even a marginal improvement in its deliberative quality may help to reconstruct the referendum from a potential destabilising factor (deepening rather than ameliorating divisions) to an effective peacebuilding tool (encouraging the search for common ground, final settlement, etc). We explore how a deliberative referendum might help to impel the Bougainville peace process toward successful resolution. We also consider the referendum’s hazards. 
More specifically, we outline the key impediments to deliberation in conflict societies generally, and in Bougainville more particularly. Then we turn to the role that a deliberative referendum could play in a process of conflict settlement by addressing such deliberative deficiencies. Thus we describe the deliberative referendum model’s objectives and design features, and also suggest how the model could be deployed in the Bougainville case. If designed carefully, a deliberative referendum could potentially improve the upcoming referendum’s prospects of achieving a sustainable peace settlement. 
A/Prof Dr Ron Levy is the proposed presenter for this paper originally written by Levy along with Amelia Simpson, Ian O’Flynn and Georgina Flaherty. 

Nic Maclellan (Islands Business) – Colonialism français et souveraineté partagée dans le Pacifique 
New Caledonia and French Polynesia joined the Pacific Islands Forum as full members in 2016, and Wallis and Futuna upgraded its membership from observer to associate member status in 2018. The presence of non-self-governing territories in an organisation of independent and sovereign nations poses new challenges for Pacific regionalism. The French state has been promoting the concept of “shared sovereignty” with governments in its three Pacific dependencies, but what does this mean at a time France is seeking to entrench its colonial presence in the Pacific? 
This paper will outline problems facing Forum member countries arising from France’s ongoing sovereignty in its three dependencies, including uncertainty over legal standing in the Forum; the capacity to sign treaties; policy making on security in the Forum; policy issues on fisheries and climate in other member agencies of the Council of Regional Organisations of the Pacific; relations with other Forum dialogue partners; resource exploitation by the colonial power; and disputes over maritime boundaries. 

Presented Andre from Kanak radio with a WP flag.


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