The Lowy Institute hosted the third annual Australia-Papua New Guinea Emerging Leaders Dialogue on 1–2 December 2015. You can read the full Outcomes Document from the 2015 Emerging Leaders Dialogue here.
The Dialogue is the flagship event of the Australia-Papua New Guinea Network, an initiative designed to expand people-to-people relations between Australia and Papua New Guinea. This project reflects the significance of the Australia-Papua New Guinea relationship, especially in this historic year as PNG celebrated the 40th anniversary of independence. The Dialogue brought together 20 emerging leaders from business, civil society, and government in both countries to discuss common challenges and form enduring professional connections. The Dialogue focused on four key issues: redefining employment; sustaining rural communities; engaging Asia; and gender inequality.
The Dialogue was chaired by Jenny Hayward-Jones, Melanesia Program Director at the Lowy Institute, and Serena Sumanop, Executive Director, The Voice Inc., Papua New Guinea.
The Dialogue participants developed a number of proposals to grow links between the two countries and expand understanding of Papua New Guinea in Australia. Key recommendations include:
- Promoting gender equality by sharing the stories of successful women across a range of sectors as well as initiatives that are improving gender parity in PNG and Australia.
- Leveraging Australia’s network of trade offices throughout Asia to promote Papua New Guinean trade and investment links with Asian markets and facilitate greater business links between Papua New Guinea and Australia.
- Encouraging exchange between young people in both countries through the establishment of an Australia-Papua New Guinea Youth Association as well as the creation of a two-way corporate internship program, and early career teacher and doctor exchanges.
- The establishment of an Australia-Papua New Guinea public sector advisory council to monitor public expenditure in order to improve accountability and enhance cooperation between public servants in Australia and Papua New Guinea.
- Improving Australia-Papua New Guinea people-to-people relations by considering new migration pathways between Australia and Papua New Guinea.
- Establishing an exchange program that enables Australian and Papua New Guinean young professionals to take up work placements in the other’s country for a period of up to 12 months. This could be particularly useful for teachers and doctors in rural settings in both countries.
- Capitalising on existing cultural connections (e.g. museum exhibitions, music and dance performances) to enhance understanding of Papua New Guinea in Australia.
- Collaboration between Australian and Papua New Guinean agricultural institutions to develop a comprehensive national food plan for Papua New Guinea in recognition of Papua New Guinea’s food security challenges.
- Connecting Papua New Guinea’s artisans to international markets through an e-commerce platform, which could leverage existing Australian export avenues to reduce costs.