On 1–2 December the Lowy Institute hosted the third annual Australia-Papua New Guinea Emerging Leaders Dialogue.
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, the 40th anniversary of independence year. 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 participants developed a number of proposals to grow links 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 help 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.
- Collaboration between governments to develop a long-term Food Security Plan for Papua New Guinea.
- Improving Australia-Papua New Guinea people-to-people relations by considering new migration pathways between Australia and Papua New Guinea.
The Lowy Institute is delighted to welcome GE as the principal sponsor of a new Emerging Leaders Program within the Melanesia Program that includes the 2015 Dialogue and a residential fellowship program with two Papua New Guinean emerging leaders in 2016. The Lowy Institute would also like to acknowledge the continuing support of the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade for the Australia-Papua New Guinea Network. Through initiatives such as these, the Lowy Institute continues to provide a platform for deepening the Australia-Papua New Guinea relationship.