The Lowy Institute hosted the fifth annual Australia–Papua New Guinea Emerging Leaders Dialogue from 12 to 15 December 2017 in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea. The Dialogue is the flagship event of the Australia–Papua New Guinea Network, an initiative the Lowy Institute runs with the support of the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade to expand the people-to-people links between Australia and PNG.
The Dialogue reflects the significance of the Australia–Papua New Guinea relationship. It brings together 20 dynamic emerging leaders from both countries to discuss common challenges and form new professional connections.
The 2017 Dialogue was held alongside the PNG IMPACT conference coordinated by the University of Papua New Guinea and James Cook University. On 12 December participants attended the first day of the PNG IMPACT conference, which looked at the role of research and innovation in societal transformation in PNG, before taking part in the Dialogue from 13 to 14 December.
This was the first time that the Dialogue has been held in Papua New Guinea. It was highly successful, and it is proposed that the location of future Dialogues should alternate between Australia and PNG. As in previous years, the program involved not just the formal Dialogue, but also included professional networking opportunities for participants with high-profile corporate, government and civil society organisations, as well as a public reception.
The 2017 Dialogue centred on the importance of research, innovation, new technologies and cross-disciplinary conversations in tackling some of Papua New Guinea and Australia’s biggest problems. Discussion focused on five key issues:
1. Contemporary PNG–Australia relations
3. The environment and urbanisation
4. Inclusive economic growth, employment and entrepreneurship
5. Politics and civil society.
Participants developed a number of recommendations, summarised in the next section, to grow links between the two countries and approach important public policy issues. Following the recommendations is a summary of discussions held in each session, written on a non‑attributable basis.
The Dialogue was chaired by Osborne Sanida, Director of the PNG National Research Institute, and Anna Kirk, Project Director of the Aus–PNG Network and Research Fellow at the Lowy Institute. A list of participants and observers is provided in the Annex.
Anna Kirk and Euan Moyle, an Intern with the Aus–PNG Network, contributed to the compilation of this report.