Apply to Join
Mar 1, 2016

Annual Planning- Acknowledging & Celebrating Our Successes

West Papuan Delegates at the RO conference in 2014
West Papuan Delegates at the RO conference in 2014

Annual Planning- Acknowledging Our Challenges & Celebrating our Success

Annual Planning is an important agenda in Bismarck Ramu Group’s annual calendar. This vital schedule helps all staffs, and community facilitators alike to discuss and develop approaches in leadership that are necessary to organize and facilitate people’s development.

This years planning was something different as it included the revisit of the organization’s history from its beginnings in 1996 as Bismarck Ramu Integrated Conservation and Development Project (BRICAD) a program funded under the United Nations Development Program (UNDP). Through various failed attempts as a conservation project it gave way for further reforms for BRICAD and it was granted a new status breaking away from UNDP and working independently as an NGO with the name Bismarck Ramu Group in the year 2000. These changes have influenced BRG to adopt different strategies to diversify its role to suit and facilitate self-reliance thus helping the people to rethink the current model of development in PNG.

The reflections gained from the history of BRG work in the last 20 years has assisted in the reformation of BRG’s work output in the three main programs of community facilitation, Education and Research, Information & Communication)

More importantly all our discussions have brought about a present realization that is a main concern for all of us is to do more to protect our lives from more extortions. That is we are working hard to save our land and sea to counteract inclusive development of both land and the sea. One of these is the increased exploration sites and licenses being granted by Mineral Resources Authority (MRA) to undergo explorations in PNG waters. Please follow the attached link to view map showing possible tenements sites in PNG at http://www.mra.gov.pg/License/EL2016.aspx

Interesting enough the highlight of the two-week planning Bismarck Ramu Group was part of a traditional ceremony with the Madang Maror-a group of elders from the six districts of Madang province.

The traditional ceremony symbolizes an agreement to partnership between BRG and Madang Maror to work together and initiate the Madang Food Festival which will occur mid this year. This will not only be a mere display of accepting responsibilities but captures the essence of BRG’s work- to promote local development entailed with indigenous knowledge and culture and yet preserving land resources and retaining some of the cultural knowledge of food preservation.

This is a new approach that gives a greater awareness to protect our land and resources and secure social stability for our children and the future generation. Therefore for everyone here at Bismarck Ramu group we would like to commend our efforts and commitments whilst having the pleasure to share with you some of the positive outcomes of our work.

 

Highlights of Bismarck Ramu Group

  • Hosted the Rethinking Oceania (RO) Conference in 2014 at Jais Aben Resort, Madang PNG.

A gathering comprised of all the elites in Oceania including academics; students and NGO’s alike coming together to rethink the current trend of development that is intruding our societies in the Pacific. Issues discussed include Decolonization, Climate Change and Free West Papua.

  • Wan Solwara Campaign

BRG was one of the members that formed the Wan Solwara Campaign that came about after the Rethinking Oceania Conference. It was adapted as a Journalism Programme for the University of the South Pacific in Fiji. In PNG one of its programs is educating Melanesia to strengthen to push for independence for West Papua.

  • Evangelical Lutheran Church of PNG

The Church under the leadership of its Bishop had signed a petition addressing the PNG government about its people stance to say NO! to Exploration Seabed Mining in PNG. Taking a related approach this evoke a further extension of similar encounter with the Pacific Conference of Churches (PCC) in Fiji to voice its stance on behalf of the 6.1 million Christians in the Oceania region to say NO! to Deep Sea Mining.  

  • University of Goroka

The University of Goroka has shown an interest in terms of the teaching methods/technique delivered by BRG’s education team. A presentation was scheduled for April of this year for a trainer from BRG to give a demonstration on the collective and participatory method of teaching that BRG is currently utilizing it in its Education program.

Also the academic staffs from specific departments had shown an interest to incorporate the content of BRG's main tool the PNG History Development Timeline into the curriculum of the university.

Thankyou for your time and consideration to support the cause of our work in addressing human rights and building bettter communities.

Saying NO! to Exploration Seabed Mining
Saying NO! to Exploration Seabed Mining
Participants attending the RO conference in Madang
Participants attending the RO conference in Madang

Links:

Feb 12, 2016

A Call For Solidarity from the Seg Clan, Madang, Papua New Guinea

The Children
The Children's Cry

Dear Friends,

For nearly two decades now, the people of the Bel and Ari communities in Madang Province have suffered from land grabbing and social injustice at the hands of RD Tuna, a Filipino Tuna company.

When talks of the establishment of a tuna canning factory first came to Madang, Papua New Guinea in 1995, community facilitators from Bismarck Ramu Group were out in the potential impact communities raising awareness on the environmental and social impact this establishment will have on the lives of the communities.

These informed communities put up resistance, however, the Government of Papua New Guinea (GoPNG) gave the ok and RD Tuna Cannery set up shop in Madang in 1997. Nearly 2 decades later and the negative impact of this one tuna factory far out way the good.

Despite the glaring evidence of the destruction of tuna factories in Madang, the GoPNG is now pushing for the Pacific Marine Industrial Zone (PMIZ) which will host ten (10) tuna factories. Protests and petitions over the years to address the numerous issues of this Special Economic Zone continue to fall on deaf ears.

The principal custodian of Vidar land where PMIZ is located is the Seg Clan. Their history show that Vidar was stolen from them and sold off. Since the Madang Catholic Archdiocese sold the land to the GoPNG the two parties refuse to acknowledge the cultural rights of the Seg Clan and their responsibility to protect it.

The Seg Clan are determined to take back control over their land and their wellbeing, however, they do not have the capacity to rally support from individuals, groups and the GoPNG and have approached Bismarck Ramu Group to assist.

In the last three months of 2015, Bismarck Ramu Group assisted the Seg Clan by providing meeting space and transportation for individuals and groups to meet with the Seg Clan. Bismarck Ramu Group was able to do video and print documentation of how the PMIZ project is affecting the lives and livelihood of the Seg Clan and surrounding communities. These documnetation were shared with the national and provincial main stream media and on social media as well.

With that the attached links have captured an insight into illegal land grabbing approaches for development and the strong resentment shown by the traditional landowners towards PMIZ and its associated feature of Special Economic Zones.

Also these links provided an overview of the GoPNG intention to initiate development through PMIZ as cabinet minister Richard Maru puts it and what are the potive outcomes that will sustain the local people and their communities.

We hope these will give you some sense of the fight the people of Seg Clan are engaged in and how Bismarck Ramu Group has been assisting them.

 

Thank you for your time and consideration.

--

P O Box 305
Madang 511
Papua New Guinea
Ph: 423 3011
Fax: 423 3012
Sek Clan and Madang Maror at BRG house meeting
Sek Clan and Madang Maror at BRG house meeting
Clan protests in front of Madang Archdiocese
Clan protests in front of Madang Archdiocese

Links:

Oct 13, 2015

Experimental Seabed Mining Will Destroy Our Future

Isaac sharing his views on Seabed Mining
Isaac sharing his views on Seabed Mining

The pressure is on for the people of West Coast New Ireland in Papua New Guinea to accept that Nautilus Minerals will rip apart their fishing ground including their livelihood to experiment with seabed mining.

Nautilus Minerals was given the go ahead by New Ireland Province Governor Sir Julius Chan in August (PNG Loop) even though he was skeptical about the environmental impacts of this Experimental Seabed Mining or Solwara 1 Project.

An eighteen-year-old from Danu Village in West Coast Namatanai, Isaac Towera, has called on the governor to stop the Experimental Seabed Mining. “As the future generation of Danu, I know that this project will cause problems for us later on. It will destroy our sea and the fish, which we in the village rely on for a good life. So on behalf of the youth, we do not want this project because it will destroy our lives.”

Governor Chan stated that the province had no choice but to accept this deal because the National Government has already granted Nautilus Minerals the mining lease. He went on to state that “It is time for the people to finally eat some of the wealth that comes from their land.”

Isaac, however, pointed out that they are currently eating directly from the land and sea and it is Nautilus Minerals and their experimental seabed mining that will destroy that right and freedom. “We are getting good things from the sea such as fish and creatures from the reef but this project will destroy our sea and our reef will die which will destroy this good life.”

Isaac had the opportunity to share this with Palau and Christina from Bismarck Ramu Group (BRG) when they went to visit his community last month.

As pressure from international investors and the national government grew, it was deafening to hear the silence from the people of New Ireland.

The team’s visit to New Ireland Province proved that even though the majority of the people of West Coast Namatanai and the Province were against Experimental Seabed Mining they lacked the appropriate information and knowledge to effectively rise up against it.

Upon the team’s return from New Ireland, an email was received which contained the following:

SUBJECT: URGENT REQUEST FOR EXPERIMENTAL SEABED MINE TRAINING/ WORKSHOP – NOVEMBER 2015

As per the above, we are kindly requesting your team to come to New Ireland for an urgent training with locals around the West Coast Area.

The people here are totally opposing the idea of ESM, however, with inadequate knowledge on how to carry out campaigns or protest against the government they will now forced to accept something they totally dislike.

An initial visit by members of your organization (Christine & Paul) proves that New Ireland Province strongly rejects ESM.

With the current issue of fear and suppression, we feel that the way forward is to train and educate the locals on the basic rights to give them confidence in the campaign against ESM.

We therefore request an urgent training around November so that by next year we will rise up against the government and the Developer Nautilus Minerals.

Please threat our request as a matter of urgency.”

BRG is now working with the people of West Coast New Ireland to organize trainings for next month.

Danu Bay where locals gather marine protein
Danu Bay where locals gather marine protein
Girl use sea to clean sweet potatoe for lunch
Girl use sea to clean sweet potatoe for lunch
Danu community Say No to Experimental Seabed Mine
Danu community Say No to Experimental Seabed Mine
 
WARNING: Javascript is currently disabled or is not available in your browser. GlobalGiving makes extensive use of Javascript and will not function properly with Javascript disabled. Please enable Javascript and refresh this page.