A stitch in time: preserving peace on Bougainville

International relations Defence Conflict management

A decade after the successful peacekeeping mission, and a year and a half before the window opens for a referendum on Bougainville’s political status, the peace process is dangerously adrift.

In this paper, Peter Jennings and Karl Claxton set out a plan to help deliver a sustainable solution for next steps in the peace process. An Australian-led preventive development effort, conducted in close cooperation with our regional partners, is needed to avoid the future requirement for a larger, costlier, riskier, and more intrusive peacekeeping mission than the limited intervention appropriate in 1997-2003.

The new Government’s decision to link aid more directly to our strategic interests could assist. While the initiative would require a significant initial investment, it could create a substantial longer-term cost saving and avoid serious military, diplomatic and reputational risks.

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