Responsible sustainable development.

Port Moresby, 29th May 2014
National Research Institute Conference Room

Plenary Session: Responsible sustainable development.
Speaking Topic: Social/Community Entrepreneurship and Innovation

A Talk by Reuben Mete

The panel on responsible sustainable development at the 2014 PNG New Voices Conference.

The panel on responsible sustainable development at the 2014 PNG New Voices Conference.

PNG Consulate-General HE Sumasy Singing;
Retired General Jerry Singirok;
Organizers of the event – Lowy Institute and National Research Institute;
Moderator Mr. Paul Barker, Executive Director of Institute of National Affairs in Papua New Guinea; and
My fellow Leaders of Papua New Guinea.

I am thankful for the opportunity to speak at this conference today. This morning I do not wish to be dramatic, but would like to gently draw our attention to an issue that I believe really matters most to our heart–innovation in sustainable communities on a more rural perspective.

Responsible sustainable development is a developing country’s phenomenon and can take us a whole year discussing it. I do not wish to raise my voice in the issue of sustainable developments now and again, all I want is to create PNG, a nation where ‘responsible’ and ‘sustainability’ doesn’t need people to talk about. The whole reason why we have to discuss this now is I believe human beings are now putting dollars and cents before common sense. Mining industry have been working on sustainable development policies but still have a lot to improve on. The onus, however should not be on investors but on Papua New Guinea to develop own policies and regulations to guide sustainable development.

It is not my intention to justify the level of expectations our rural communities have on sustainable development as many have lag behind basic developments.

Ladies and gentlemen, in the village where I came from we usually walk eight hours even to date to access basic services such as health, education and manufactured goods.


We recently saw the launching of the first shipment of liquefied natural gas of the PNG LNG project. The Elk/Antelope Gulf LNG and Stanley Gas projects are also coming up. We got Solwara 1 deep sea mining project being the latest to join the mining industry. All of these new projects as well as the existing ones are anticipated to propel our economy.

PNG has a population estimated to be a little over 7 million. Despite significant resource wealth from minerals, oil and gas, forestry and fishing, the vast majority of our population still lives a precarious subsistence farming existence with little or no access to the provisions of a modern state such as education, healthcare, sanitation or infrastructure such as roads.

The feeling is that if they are giving the miner the gold from their land, they are expected gold in return – gold in the form of hospitals, schools, compensation for their customary land.

In his speech to the 30th Australia Papua New Guinea Business Forum and Trade Expo, Cairns Australia, Sam Koim, Chairman of the Task Force Sweep says and I quote – “I have however noted that globalization has not only marked a new phase in the development of capitalism in our country, it has accelerated the pace of social change. It has infested the desire of individuals and groups to amass wealth. What globalization has not done, among the developing nations such as ours, is the attitude – the desire for capacity building, entrepreneurship, enterprise, productivity, critical knowledge-leadership qualities, hard work, competitiveness, introspection with regard to developing indigenous knowledge and technology. It has robbed the developing nations the traditional culture of independence in productivity, communal efforts at development, crafts and guild production, disorganized the traditional agricultural and production systems that hitherto ensured food on the table of every Papua New Guinean and has rather diverted attention of the people to importation of finished goods, service industry and established the culture of consumerism, dependence and luxury.”

Social Enterprise

Watut River Development Limited (WRD) is a not for profit 100% locally owned social enterprise aiming to add value to the lives of every Papua New Guinean by providing high quality water supply and sanitation at an affordable cost. Given the reality that 4.2 million people in Papua New Guinea do not have access to clean water supply system; WRD has identified the only 30% of the entire 7 million population has access to clean water system and sanitation.

Building infrastructure is a major issue for the Papua New Guinea Government as it takes responsibility for the cost of building and maintaining infrastructure in difficult terrain which is high. The government and the Papua New Guineans believe that if entire infrastructure plans were implemented it would be unaffordable. Although foreign investments and donor funding was highly sort after, there was some capacity within Papua New Guinea to provide affordable Water Supply and Sanitation and this is where WRD comes in to play.

We believe that rural and remote communities needed to see more of the benefits of national economic growth, and resource sector-driven growth and we believe we can achieve this by providing quality Water Supply and Sanitation to every Papua New Guinean in a little way we can. Big problem have big solutions too. If I don’t give back to my communities, I wonder who will be able to give back to his or her communities. We need you, you can join us and that is why I come here for.

We are now working on to upscale our programs to service the entire Papua New Guinea population through our Lutheran Youth Network. Which has well over 500,000 youth membership untapped and that is the big advantages we now have to enhance our program going rural. We do not believe in getting donor funding assistance but we believe in providing opportunities and powering local Changemaker to bring change back to their communities. Local problems have local solutions and thus needs people within to drive that change that they themselves wanted to see.

Information Communication Technology (ICT)

My participation in this information pool through ICT has had a lot of benefits to me as a person and also to others through the organization. I believe with ICT, we cannot find remoteness/ rural and isolation as Technology help us build a better World.

The media landscape is now changing rapidly with the arrival of social media. It also presented an opportunity for everyone to get their message to public sphere. I have to thank Digicel for its monopoly service in this rural communities include mine where we usually walk to hours uphill to access its crystal clear coverage’s and have access to ICT.


As I come to a close of my talk, I hope you’d appreciate some contributions our new generations have been doing. In so doing, I have drawn only the social or community entrepreneurship and innovations from my past experiences to share some lights to your thought that Papua New Guineans have potentials to help reaching the unreached and touching the untouched. We should now give the people access to learn for living, than they can make change in their communities themselves. I am glad to say here that the process to do so has already begun.

Thank you for listening.

God Bless you all.



Reuben Mete is the Director of the Youth Desk of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Papua New Guinea. He is also the President and CEO of the Union of Watut River Communities Association Inc and Managing Director of Watut River Development Limited, a social enterprise that works in partnership with Morobe Mining Joint Venture to provide clean water and sanitation supplies to rural communities.

Reuben was previously a Spark* Changemaker and President of the PNG University of Technology Morobe Students and Staff Association. Reuben strongly believes that Papua New Guinea needs to invest developing sustainable rural communities where every individual has access to basic health and education services and a reasonable income.

All views expressed on this paper are the opinions of the individual author and do not necessarily reflect the official opinion or position of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Papua New Guinea.

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Final Resolutions of PCC 10th General Assembly, Honiara, March 2013

By PCC            

HONIARA, Solomon Islands

Tahiti self-determination

The Pacific Conference of Churches General Assembly has called on France, the United Nations, Pacific island countries and the international community to support self-determination in Maohi Nui (Tahiti).

At its 10th General Assembly in Honiara, the Solomon Islands, delegates said decolonization was one of the PCC’s long-standing themes.

A request from the Etaretia Porotetani Maohi (Maohi Protestant Church) to the assembly called for support for the re-inscription of Tahiti onto the UN’s decolonization list.

The church said the Maohi people must be allowed to decide for themselves on the sovereignty of their nation.

Delegates recognized God’s gift of freedom to be self-determining.

They also recognized the human rights of all people, in particular the right to self-determination of all people and in particular the right to self-determination of all oppressed colonized indigenous people in the world in accordance with the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People.

They called on member churches and the World Council of Churches to support, through advocacy, efforts for the re-inscription of Maohi Nui on the list of countries to be decolonized.

West Papua independence

A programme implemented by Pacific churches will address human rights abuse and independence in West Papua.

The Pacific Conference of Churches 10th General Assembly in Honiara, the Solomon Islands resolved to document effective advocacy on justice and respect for human rights in collaboration with ecumenical partners, civil society and governments.

It will incorporate the human rights situation in West Papua as a strong focal point of PCC’s programmatic work on self-determination for non-self-governing territories and communities and peoples who yearn to be free.

Freedom Sunday

Pacific churches will designate an annual Freedom Sunday to pray for island countries and people who are not free.

At its 10th General Assembly in Honiara, the Solomon Islands, delegates agreed to encourage the French authorities to fulfil their obligations and provide all necessary means for the economic, social and cultural, environmental development of the Maohi people.

The PCC delegates agreed to facilitate awareness building in churches, with their partners and networks about the injustices suffered by the victims of nuclear testing in the region.

They agreed to design and implement advocacy activities at multiple levels targeting such injustices and using the thematic areas of praying, speaking out and acting together.

And they agreed the PCC Secretariat would facilitate regional dialogue among its members to raise awareness on nuclear testing.

Nuclear testing

Pacific churches will fight for the compensation of people affected by nuclear testing.

At its 10th General Assembly in Honiara, the Solomon Islands, delegates agreed to advocate with the Maohi people a zero-tolerance stance on nuclear weapons and testing.

The assembly resolved to build awareness beginning in churches, with partners and networks about the injustices suffered by victims of nuclear testing in the region.

Members will design and implement advocacy at multiple levels targeting such injustices and using the thematic areas of praying, speaking out and acting together.

And a regional dialogue tour among PCC members to raise awareness on the issues of nuclear testing,

Seabed mining

The Pacific Conference of Churches has called for an immediate stop to experimental seabed mining. At its 10th General Assembly in Honiara, the Solomon Islands, delegates said seabed mining was a matter of growing concern in the region.

Over the next five years the PCC will conduct regional advocacy work to create a greater understanding of the long and short term effects of seabed mining.

It will also act on behalf of member countries to advocate at the relevant global levels including the International Seabed authority.

The general assembly resolution came after concerns were raised by several island churches.

Solidarity on mining

Churches throughout the region will develop specific positions on mining, tourism, fisheries and forestry in a resolution passed in Honiara.

Member churches agreed to call on their governments to stand in solidarity with the people of the region who were struggling with the challenges and negative impacts of mining in their communities.

At its 10th Pacific Conference of Churches General Assembly in Honiara, the Solomon Islands, delegates agreed there was a need to facilitate the concerns of members by engaging on the issue with agencies such as the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat and the Melanesian spearhead Group.

End HIV-AIDS stigmatisation

Pacific churches have called for an end to the stigmatization of people suffering from HIV and AIDS.

Delegates at the Pacific Conference of Churches 10th General Assembly in Honiara, the Solomon Islands, called for the inclusion of people with HIV and AIDS.

They also called for the voices and concerns of those with HIV and AIDS to be heard.

To this end the PCC will develop and facilitate a programme on compassion and reconciliation and to include people living with HIV and AIDS in the design and implementation of the programme.

It will work alongside member churches to help dispel stigmas and negative attitudes associated with HIV and AIDS.

Climate change and resettlement

Research into climate-induced resettlement will be a key area of work for the Pacific Conference of Churches over the next five years.

Leaders at the 10th general Assembly in Honiara, the Solomon Islands supported the continuation of climate-induced resettlement research focussing on human rights.

As part of this programme of action there will be an advocacy plan as outlined in the Moana Declaration of 2009.

This plan will look at options for displaced people, explore methods of relocation and ensure the protection of the rights of the displaced people.

Teachers for Chuuk

The Pacific Conference of Churches will provide teachers for schools in Chuuk to help with a shortage in the Micronesian territory.

Member churches will provide the teachers who will also work on youth evangelism and ecumenism. At its 10th Pacific Conference of Churches General Assembly in Honiara, the Solomon Islands, delegates heard of the need for teachers in Chuuk.

A number of countries, including Tonga, have agreed to provide staff members for the project.

The PCC secretariat will also establish a pool of resource people from among its member to assist with the capacity and emergency needs of regional churches.

Arms trade and nuclear weapons

Pacific churches will keep track of arms trading and nuclear proliferation in the region after a resolution passed in Honiara.

Church leaders agreed to monitor the arms trade and initiate awareness raising campaigns on the issue where necessary.

The PCC Secretariat will also increase networking and consultation initiatives with human rights groups in an effort to address the unresolved nuclear legacy in the Pacific.

The resolution came after concerns that gun ownership in the Pacific was 50 per cent higher than the global average and that firearms laws were inconsistent.Image

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Papua New Guinea Christians urge to practice Faith on sorcery.

ImagePapua New Guinea Churches have been achieving serious soul searching treat on sorcery issues in this 21st century. Should Papua New Guinea Government have strong laws for killing related to sorcery?  What do us Christians in PNG and South Pacific say about this?


Shocked by the reported brutal torturing and burning alive of a young woman on sorcery accusations on February six this year 2013, churches and their members are now urging Papua New Guinea Government to come up with a strong legislation to deal with growing sorcery-related killings.


According to reports, a 20 year old mother of one was burned alive in front of hundreds of people in Papua New Guinea on the accusation of using sorcery to kill a boy aged six years. That barbaric act was highly unacceptable in the 21st century world. Papua New Guinea churches must take this issue seriously and besides tougher legislation, also launched an educational campaign in the country with assistance from Papua New Guinea religious leaders and Christians across Papua New Guinea to act.


It is indeed a very wrong action to deal spiritual problem physically. The power of Jesus Christ respects no man, no demon, not even satan and his cohorts. It’s too bad many have not experienced that power. I pray for those who continue to live in fear of things Jesus has disposed them under our feet. We all practicing God loving Christians must take responsibility on how we live our faith and how we share our faith.


Our God is powerful; we can confront sorcerers head on with no respect. The answer is not on government and church leaders alone. We practice Christians have the answer to demonstrate that power of God in our lives. There must be power encounters by practice Christians so that they should know that He that is in them is more powerful than he that is in the world.


We hear words such as Barbaric; uncivilized untamed animals; public justice – a law unto themselves; horrific; cruel, etc, etc. It brings down the name of a good and proud country, a country were love has been faded in the hearts of men!


Case Study 1:


SYDNEY (AFP): PNG women tortured, burned alive in ‘sorcery’ case

February 8,2013


A young mother accused of sorcery was stripped naked, doused with petrol and burned alive in front of a crowd including school children in Papua New Guinea, reports said on Thursday.


The women, named by The National newspaper as Kepari Leiata, 20, was reportedly tortured with a branding iron and tired up, splashed with fuel and set alight on a pile of rubbish topped with car tyres.


According to the rival Post-Courier newspaper she was torched by villagers who claimed she killed a six-year old boy through sorcery, with police outnumbered by onlookers and unable to intervene.


A fire truck that responded to the incident, which took place on Wednesday morning in Mount Hagen city in the Western Highlands, was also chased away.


 According to the reports, which were accompanied by graphic front-page images of the women’s burning corpse, she admitted to killing the boy, who died after being hospitalized with stomach and chest pains on Tuesday.


Police said they were treating the torching as murder and preparing charges against those responsible.


There is widespread belief in sorcery in the poverty-stricken Pacific nation where many people do not accept natural cause as an explanation for misfortune, illness, accidents or death.


In 1971, the country introduced a Sorcery Act to criminalize the practice. But PNG’s law reform commission recently proposed to repeal it after a rise in attack on peoples thought to practice black magic.


Local bishop David Piso said many innocent people had been killed. “Sorcery and sorcery related killing are growing and the government needs to come up with a law to stop such practice,” Piso told the National.


The US embassy in the Papua New Guinea capital Port Moresby issued a statement strongly condemning the “brutal murder” of Leniata, who had an eight-month –old daughter, as evidence of “pervasive gender-based violence”.


“We add our voice to those of Papua New Guinea religious and civil society leaders who have spoken out against the brutality inflicted upon Ms. Leniata,” the embassy said.


“There is no possible justification for this sort of violence. We hope that appropriate resources are devoted to identifying, prosecuting and punishing those responsible for Ms Leniata’s murder.”


Police arrested dozens of people last year linked to an alleged cannibal cult accused of killing at least seven people, eating their brains raw and making soup from their penises.


There have been several other causes of witchcraft and cannibalism in PNG in recent years with a man reportedly found eating his screaming, newborn son during a sorcery initiation ceremony in 2011.


In 2009, a young women was stripped naked, gagged and burnt alive at stake, also in Mount Hagen, in what was said to be a sorcery-related crime.


Case Study 2: The National Newspaper


Sorcery killings widespread


The burning alive of the young mother for alleged sorcery in Mt Hagen is not an isolated incident in the country. Nor is it the first.


There have been similar incidents in other areas of the country which have remained unreported. Tolsep Ifitimnok, a man from Telefomin in West Sepik, told the National that the Mt Hagen incident prompted him to reveal similar killings in the district that were never attended to by the authorities.


He said in 2009, three men living in Tabubil suspected of practicing sorcery or witchcraft were flown in an aircraft from Tabubil to Feramin village, west of Telefomin where they were tortured and murdered. “Police in Tabubil and Telefomin were aware of this but nothing was done to arrest the suspects.”


Two years later, he said, a woman was assaulted by a group of men from Telefolip village. She was dragged out of a plane at the Telefomin airstrip and killed. The Telefomin men had suspected her of practicing sorcery. “This happened in front of policemen stationed in Telefomin but nothing happened,” he said.


Before the end of 2011, Iftitimnok said, five men suspected of sorcery were tortured and killed outside the Telefomin government station. “Among those murdered was a student selected to do Grade 11 at Vanimo’s Don Bosco Secondary school the following year. Once again this happened in front of policemen but nothing was done about it,” he said.


Case Study 3: The National Newspaper

Polye: Citizens perform poorly due to culture.

By David Wapar

Papua New Guinea is caught in a clash of culture of cultures which is causing them to underperform, Minister for Treasury Don Polye said this week. Speaking at the launching of Internal Revenue Commission’s (IRC) corporate plan in Port Moresby, Polye said PNG had evolved from a self-sustained to a near-sophisticated society, where most urban dwellers and public servants were yet to fully define their environment and what was required of them.


“We are not lazy. It’s just that we have not identify where we are and what must be done. “We are caught in an ever-changing world, a race between slow pacers and the fast.” Polye said. He challenged public servants to rise up and identify what was truly required of them so that they perform accordingly.


“The whole country needs to change its concept of thinking, he said, while pledging his support for IRC’s modernization plans. From a government perspective, human intelligent development was important, he said. Polye urged those who gathered to be true nationalists and work for the country and not to be bothered by short term material rewards. “Don’t sit and complain but rise up and do things on your own.”


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Welcome to Reuben Mete

News, Media Releases and Publications of Mr Reuben Mete

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Hello world!

Welcome to This is your first post. Edit or delete it and start blogging!

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