THE Papua New Guinea government's long-term strategic plan, Vision 2050, grossly misinterprets the national goals and development principles in the Constitution.
This is the major finding of a new study conducted by Patrick Kaiku from the University of Papua New Guinea and commissioned by community advocacy group Act Now.
"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," said Mr Kaiku.
He explained that the national goals in the Constitution, which are supposed to guide all activity taking place in PNG, are based around Melanesian values including the principles of human development, equal participation, national sovereignty, self-reliance, wise use of natural resources and using Melanesian forms of social, political and economic organisation.
But Mr Kaiku said the government's Vision 2050, which is used as the blueprint for socio-economic development and maps out the future direction for the country, does not reflect the intent and meaning of those national goals.
In particular, he says Vision 2050 undermines PNG’s economic sovereignty and self-reliance while the use of the global yardsticks to define development disempowers rural people and ignores Melanesian concepts.
Vision 2050 also completely omits the importance of cultural education and the benefits of culture as a tool for development
"This study has revealed the government's vision is basically unconstitutional,” said Effrey Dademo, act now program manager. “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."
Act Now said 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 the nation’s founding fathers.
"The government’s approach to national development has undermined our political sovereignty, has been economically disastrous and inhibits our own entrepreneurial capacity" said Ms Dademo.
"This is why we now find ourselves in such a mess as a nation, both socially and economically, and it is exactly what the Constitutional Planning Committee warned against".
Mr Kaiku said Vision 2050 is not sustainable and will not become the “philosophy of life” in PNG given that it suffers from a lack of legitimacy and institutionalisation.
He recommended that, instead of concentrating efforts on the implementation of Vision 2050, it should be put to one side while PNG revisited the national goals and development principles in the Constitution.
Copies of the full report ‘A critical analysis of Papua New Guinea Vision 2050’ can be downloaded from www.actnowpng.org