Make PNG’s National Goals relevant again
By Patrick Kaiku The National Goals and Directive Principles (NGDPs) in the Preamble are prominent aspirational statements in the Papua New Guinean National Constitution. Yet, they are also the most neglected part of the national conversation. The National Goals include: integral human development; equality and participation; national sovereignty and self-reliance; wise use of natural resources and the environment; and Papua New Guinean ways. In my view it is important that as a nation, Papua New Guinea (PNG) goes back to the basics, using the NGDPs as the instrument by which to mobilise our peoples.
Much of the discourse leading up to Independence in 1975 and later in the immediate post Independence period consumed the mental energies of our most gifted, visionary thinkers. The NGDPs are the product of this exercise. But today, these important thoughts are all but swept under the rug and are given less attention by younger generations.
While people are currently invoking slogans such as ‘Take back PNG‘ they are merely sound bites that will almost surely be emptied of their meaning in due course. They do not come close to the status of the NGDPs. The NGDPs are enduring. The fact that they are stated at the start of the Constitution and then reiterated in subsequent sections of the Constitution means something – they are a permanent part of the vision of what PNG was to become and, as such, were intended to continually inform our nation building. The NGDPs, even with the challenges at the time of their creation, are identified as the outcome of a legitimate process of popular consultation undertaken by the Constitutional Planning Committee (CPC).
The CPC was very clear about the role of the NGDPs. They were supposed to define, ‘the philosophy of life by which we want to live and the social and economic …read more