Papua New Guinea


Papua New Guinea
an independent republic in the W Pacific Ocean, comprising the E part of New Guinea and numerous near-lying islands, including the Bismarck Archipelago, the Admiralty Islands, the Trobriand Islands, and Bougainville and Buka in the Solomon Islands: a former Australian Trusteeship Territory; independent since 1975; member of the Commonwealth of Nations. 4,496,221; 178,260 sq. mi. (461,693 sq. km). Cap.: Port Moresby.

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Papua New Guinea

Introduction Papua New Guinea -
Background: The eastern half of the island of New Guinea - second largest in the world - was divided between Germany (north) and the UK (south) in 1885. The latter area was transferred to Australia in 1902, which occupied the northern portion during World War I and continued to administer the combined areas until independence in 1975. A nine-year secessionist revolt on the island of Bougainville ended in 1997, after claiming some 20,000 lives. Geography Papua New Guinea
Location: Southeastern Asia, group of islands including the eastern half of the island of New Guinea between the Coral Sea and the South Pacific Ocean, east of Indonesia
Geographic coordinates: 6 00 S, 147 00 E
Map references: Oceania
Area: total: 462,840 sq km land: 452,860 sq km water: 9,980 sq km
Area - comparative: slightly larger than California
Land boundaries: total: 820 km border countries: Indonesia 820 km
Coastline: 5,152 km
Maritime claims: measured from claimed archipelagic baselines territorial sea: 12 NM continental shelf: 200-m depth or to the depth of exploitation exclusive fishing zone: 200 NM
Climate: tropical; northwest monsoon (December to March), southeast monsoon (May to October); slight seasonal temperature variation
Terrain: mostly mountains with coastal lowlands and rolling foothills
Elevation extremes: lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m highest point: Mount Wilhelm 4,509 m
Natural resources: gold, copper, silver, natural gas, timber, oil, fisheries
Land use: arable land: 0.13% permanent crops: 1.35% other: 98.52% (1998 est.)
Irrigated land: NA sq km
Natural hazards: active volcanism; situated along the Pacific "Ring of Fire"; the country is subject to frequent and sometimes severe earthquakes; mud slides; tsunamis Environment - current issues: rain forest subject to deforestation as a result of growing commercial demand for tropical timber; pollution from mining projects; severe drought Environment - international party to: Antarctic Treaty,
agreements: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands signed, but not ratified: Antarctic- Environmental Protocol, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol
Geography - note: shares island of New Guinea with Indonesia; one of world's largest swamps along southwest coast People Papua New Guinea -
Population: 5,172,033 (July 2002 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 38.6% (male 1,013,936; female 980,841) 15-64 years: 57.7% (male 1,544,650; female 1,440,628) 65 years and over: 3.7% (male 90,661; female 101,317) (2002 est.)
Population growth rate: 2.39% (2002 est.)
Birth rate: 31.61 births/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Death rate: 7.75 deaths/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Net migration rate: 0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female under 15 years: 1.03 male(s)/female 15-64 years: 1.07 male(s)/female 65 years and over: 0.9 male(s)/ female total population: 1.05 male(s)/ female (2002 est.)
Infant mortality rate: 56.53 deaths/1,000 live births (2002 est.) Life expectancy at birth: total population: 63.83 years female: 66.03 years (2002 est.) male: 61.73 years
Total fertility rate: 4.21 children born/woman (2002 est.) HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate: 0.22% (1999 est.) HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/ 5,400 (1999 est.)
AIDS:
HIV/AIDS - deaths: 450 (1999 est.)
Nationality: noun: Papua New Guinean(s) adjective: Papua New Guinean
Ethnic groups: Melanesian, Papuan, Negrito, Micronesian, Polynesian
Religions: Roman Catholic 22%, Lutheran 16%, Presbyterian/Methodist/London Missionary Society 8%, Anglican 5%, Evangelical Alliance 4%, Seventh-Day Adventist 1%, other Protestant 10%, indigenous beliefs 34%
Languages: English spoken by 1%-2%, pidgin English widespread, Motu spoken in Papua region note: 715 indigenous languages
Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read and write total population: 64.5% male: 72% female: 57% (2000) Government Papua New Guinea -
Country name: conventional long form: Independent State of Papua New Guinea conventional short form: Papua New Guinea abbreviation: PNG former: Territory of Papua and New Guinea
Government type: constitutional monarchy with parliamentary democracy
Capital: Port Moresby Administrative divisions: 20 provinces; Bougainville, Central, Chimbu, Eastern Highlands, East New Britain, East Sepik, Enga, Gulf, Madang, Manus, Milne Bay, Morobe, National Capital, New Ireland, Northern, Sandaun, Southern Highlands, Western, Western Highlands, West New Britain
Independence: 16 September 1975 (from the Australian-administered UN trusteeship)
National holiday: Independence Day, 16 September (1975)
Constitution: 16 September 1975
Legal system: based on English common law
Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal
Executive branch: chief of state: Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952), represented by Governor General Sir Silas ATOPARE (since 13 November 1997) head of government: Prime Minister Sir Mekere MORAUTA (since 14 July 1999); Deputy Prime Minister Michael OGIO (since 3 November 2000) cabinet: National Executive Council appointed by the governor general on the recommendation of the prime minister elections: none; the monarch is hereditary; governor general appointed by the National Executive Council; prime minister and deputy prime minister appointed by the governor general for up to five years on the basis of majority support in National Parliament
Legislative branch: unicameral National Parliament - sometimes referred to as the House of Assembly (109 seats, 89 elected from open electorates and 20 from provincial electorates; members elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms) elections: last held 14-28 June 1997 (next to be held 15 June 2002) election results: percent of vote by party - PPP 15%, Pangu Pati 14%, NA 14%, PDM 8%, PNC 6%, PAP 5%, UP 3%, NP 1%, PUP 1%, independents 33%; seats by party - PPP 16, Pangu Pati 15, NA 15, PDM 9, PNC 7, PAP 5, UP 3, NP 1, PUP 1, independents 37; note - association with political parties is very fluid
Judicial branch: Supreme Court (the chief justice is appointed by the governor general on the proposal of the National Executive Council after consultation with the minister responsible for justice; other judges are appointed by the Judicial and Legal Services Commission) Political parties and leaders: Melanesian Alliance Party or MAP [leader NA]; National Alliance or NA [George MANDA, party president]; National Front Party [leader NA]; National Party or NP [Michael MEL]; Papua New Guinea Revival Party [John PUNDARI]; Papua New Guinea United Party or Pangu Pati [Chris HAIVETA]; People's Action Party or PAP [Ted DIRO]; People's Democratic Movement or PDM [Sir Mekere MORAUTA]; People's Labor Party or PLP [Peter YAMA]; People's National Congress or PNC [Bill SKATE]; People's Progress Party or PPP [Michael NALI]; People's Unity Party or PUP [Alfred KAIABE]; United Party or UP [Rimbiuk PATO] note: more than 40 political parties have registered to participate in the June 2002 elections Political pressure groups and NA
leaders: International organization ACP, APEC, ARF (dialogue partner),
participation: AsDB, ASEAN (associate member), C, CP, ESCAP, FAO, G-77, IBRD, ICAO, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM (observer), ISO (correspondent), ITU, NAM, OPCW, Sparteca, SPC, SPF, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTrO Diplomatic representation in the US: chief of mission: Ambassador Nagora Y. BOGAN chancery: 1779 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Suite 805, Washington, DC 20036 FAX: [1] (202) 745-3679 telephone: [1] (202) 745-3680 Diplomatic representation from the chief of mission: Ambassador Susan
US: S. JACOBS embassy: Douglas Street, Port Moresby mailing address: P. O. Box 1492, Port Moresby telephone: [675] 321-1455 FAX: [675] 321-3423
Flag description: divided diagonally from upper hoist- side corner; the upper triangle is red with a soaring yellow bird of paradise centered; the lower triangle is black with five, white, five-pointed stars of the Southern Cross constellation centered Economy Papua New Guinea
Economy - overview: Papua New Guinea is richly endowed with natural resources, but exploitation has been hampered by rugged terrain and the high cost of developing infrastructure. Agriculture provides a subsistence livelihood for 85% of the population. Mineral deposits, including oil, copper, and gold, account for 72% of export earnings. The economy has declined over the past two years and will probably continue to falter in 2002. Prime Minister Mekere MORAUTA has tried to restore integrity to state institutions, stabilize the kina, restore stability to the national budget, privatize public enterprises where appropriate, and ensure ongoing peace on Bougainville. The government has had considerable success in attracting international support, specifically gaining the support of the IMF and the World Bank in securing development assistance loans. Significant challenges remain for MORAUTA, however, including gaining further investor confidence, specifically for the proposed Papua New Guinea- Australia oil pipeline, continuing efforts to privatize government assets, and maintaining the support of members of Parliament.
GDP: purchasing power parity - $12.2 billion (2001 est.)
GDP - real growth rate: -2.5% (2001 est.)
GDP - per capita: purchasing power parity - $2,400 (2001 est.) GDP - composition by sector: agriculture: 30.4% industry: 36.8% services: 32.8% (2000 est.) Population below poverty line: 37% Household income or consumption by lowest 10%: 1.7%
percentage share: highest 10%: 40.5% (1996) Distribution of family income - Gini 50.9 (1996)
index: Inflation rate (consumer prices): 10.3% (2001 est.)
Labor force: 2.3 million (1999) Labor force - by occupation: agriculture 85%, industry NA%, services NA%
Unemployment rate: NA%
Budget: revenues: $894 million expenditures: $1.1 billion, including capital expenditures of $344 million (2000 est.)
Industries: copra crushing, palm oil processing, plywood production, wood chip production; mining of gold, silver, and copper; crude oil production; construction, tourism Industrial production growth rate: NA% Electricity - production: 1.65 billion kWh (2000) Electricity - production by source: fossil fuel: 54.55% hydro: 45.45% other: 0% (2000) nuclear: 0% Electricity - consumption: 1.535 billion kWh (2000)
Electricity - exports: 0 kWh (2000)
Electricity - imports: 0 kWh (2000)
Agriculture - products: coffee, cocoa, coconuts, palm kernels, tea, rubber, sweet potatoes, fruit, vegetables; poultry, pork
Exports: $1.8 billion (f.o.b., 2001 est.)
Exports - commodities: oil, gold, copper ore, logs, palm oil, coffee, cocoa, crayfish, prawns
Exports - partners: Australia 30%, Japan 11%, China 6%, Germany 4%, South Korea 4%, UK 3%, Philippines 1%, US 1% (2000)
Imports: $1.024 billion (f.o.b., 2001 est.)
Imports - commodities: machinery and transport equipment, manufactured goods, food, fuels, chemicals
Imports - partners: Australia 50%, Singapore 20%, Japan 4%, NZ 4%, Indonesia 3%, Malaysia 3%, US 2% (2000)
Debt - external: $2.6 billion (2000 est.) Economic aid - recipient: $400 million (1999 est.)
Currency: kina (PGK)
Currency code: PGK
Exchange rates: kina per US dollar - 3.706 (January 2002), 3.374 (2001), 2.765 (2000), 2.539 (1999), 2.058 (1998), 1.434 (1997)
Fiscal year: calendar year Communications Papua New Guinea - Telephones - main lines in use: 61,152 (1999) Telephones - mobile cellular: 3,053 (1996)
Telephone system: general assessment: services are adequate and being improved; facilities provide radiotelephone and telegraph, coastal radio, aeronautical radio, and international radio communication services domestic: mostly radiotelephone international: submarine cables to Australia and Guam; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Pacific Ocean); international radio communication service Radio broadcast stations: AM 8, FM 19, shortwave 28 (1998)
Radios: 410,000 (1997) Television broadcast stations: 3 (all in the Port Moresby area) note: additional stations at Mt. Hagen, Goroka, Lae, and Rabaul are planned (2002)
Televisions: 59,841 (1999)
Internet country code: .pg Internet Service Providers (ISPs): 3 (2000)
Internet users: 135,000 (2001) Transportation Papua New Guinea -
Railways: 0 km
Highways: total: 19,600 km paved: 686 km unpaved: 18,914 km (1996)
Waterways: 10,940 km
Ports and harbors: Kieta, Lae, Madang, Port Moresby, Rabaul
Merchant marine: total: 22 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 40,911 GRT/58,723 DWT note: includes some foreign-owned ships registered here as a flag of convenience: Singapore 2, United Kingdom 7 (2002 est.) ships by type: bulk 1, cargo 10, chemical tanker 1, combination ore/ oil 3, container 1, petroleum tanker 3, roll on/roll off 3
Airports: 490 (2001) Airports - with paved runways: total: 21 2,438 to 3,047 m: 2 1,524 to 2,437 m: 14 under 914 m: 1 (2001) 914 to 1,523 m: 4 Airports - with unpaved runways: total: 469 1,524 to 2,437 m: 10 914 to 1,523 m: 57 under 914 m: 402 (2001)
Heliports: 2 (2001) Military Papua New Guinea -
Military branches: Papua New Guinea Defense Force (includes Ground Force, Maritime Operations Element, and Air Operations Element) Military manpower - availability: males age 15-49: 1,338,003 (2002 est.) Military manpower - fit for military males age 15-49: 740,085 (2002 est.)
service: Military expenditures - dollar $42 million (FY98)
figure: Military expenditures - percent of 1% (FY98)
GDP: Transnational Issues Papua New Guinea - Disputes - international: none

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officially Independent State of Papua New Guinea

Island country, South Pacific Ocean.

Area: 178,704 sq mi (462,840 sq km). Population (2002 est.): 5,426,000. Capital: Port Moresby. Most of the people are Papuan (four-fifths) and Melanesian; ethnic minorities are Polynesian, Chinese, and European. Languages: English (official), Tok Pisin, Motu, indigenous languages. Religions: Anglicanism, Protestantism, Roman Catholicism. Currency: kina. About 85% of the total land area of Papua New Guinea is on the island of New Guinea; the country also includes Bougainville Island and the Bismarck Archipelago. The New Guinea terrain ranges from swampy lowland plains in the south and north to high central mountains, the highlands, in the northwest and southeast. Much of the land is covered with tropical rainforest. Some of the outlying islands are volcanic. The country has a developing mixed economy based largely on the export of mineral and agricultural products. It is a constitutional monarchy with one legislative house; its chief of state is the British monarch represented by the governor-general, and the head of government is the prime minister. The area has been inhabited since prehistoric times, with hunters as the earliest settlers. The Portuguese sighted the coast in 1512, and in 1545 the Spanish claimed the island. The first colony was founded in 1793 by the British. In 1828 the Dutch claimed the western half as part of the Dutch East Indies. In 1884 Britain annexed the southeastern part and Germany took over the northeastern sector. The British part became the Territory of Papua in 1906 and passed to Australia, which also governed the German sector after World War I. After World War II, Australia governed both sectors as the Territory of Papua and New Guinea. Dutch New Guinea was annexed to Indonesia in 1969 as the province of Irian Jaya. Papua New Guinea achieved independence in 1975 and joined the British Commonwealth. It moved to resolve its war with Bougainville independence fighters in 1997; the peace treaty between Bougainville and the government of Papua New Guinea was signed in 2001.

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▪ 2009

Area:
462,840 sq km (178,704 sq mi)
Population
(2008 est.): 6,474,000
Capital:
Port Moresby
Chief of state:
Queen Elizabeth II, represented by Governor-General Sir Paulias Matane
Head of government:
Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare

      Papua New Guinea (PNG) held celebrations in 2008 commemorating Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare's 40 years in politics, which had made him one of the longest-serving parliamentarians in the world. Despite pressure from opposition leaders, Somare, who had led the country intermittently since before independence in 1975, did not name a date for his retirement.

      During the year the prime minister focused on such issues as reducing the carbon emissions derived from excessive logging. Somare sought out opportunities for PNG, which was home to one of the world's most significant tropical rainforests, to receive funds in return for not cutting down the forests. Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd visited Port Moresby in March and signed an agreement to help PNG reduce carbon emissions from deforestation. A proposed copper mine near the historic Kokoda Trail challenged the relationship between Australia and PNG. In addition to disturbing local landowners, who were seeking compensation, development of the area raised concerns about the significance of the track to Australians.

      After an agreement between the PNG government and a consortium comprising ExxonMobil, Oilsearch, Santos, AGL, and Nippon Oil, a multibillion-dollar gas deal was launched with the intention of strengthening the PNG economy. In September, Somare opened what was expected to be PNG's largest liquid natural gas project. The LNG processing plant was scheduled to create 5,000 jobs in the construction phase and add 15% to the country's GDP.

A.R.G. Griffiths

▪ 2008

Area:
462,840 sq km (178,704 sq mi)
Population
(2007 est.): 6,331,000
Capital:
Port Moresby
Chief of state:
Queen Elizabeth II, represented by Governor-General Sir Paulias Matane
Head of government:
Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare

 Sir Michael Somare was reelected in August 2007 to a second successive term as prime minister of Papua New Guinea. Somare won a large majority but governed in a prudent coalition with a strategy designed to create national political stability, guard the country's sovereignty, and encourage economic development. Somare ignored pressure from Australia to release a report by a Papua New Guinea Defence Force board of inquiry, which had investigated the flight of Julian Moti from Papua New Guinea to Solomon Islands in defiance of Canberra's request to have Moti extradited to Australia to face criminal charges. Australia continued to provide the lion's share of international development aid money to Papua New Guinea, but Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer observed that his government was “pretty unhappy” with Papua New Guinea over the Moti case.

      A ceremony was held in August in East New Britain to atone for the killing and eating of four missionaries during the 19th century. Gov.-Gen. Sir Paulias Matane addressed the thousands who attended, praising the early missionaries for having made Papua New Guinea Christian and calling on the country to follow Christian principles.

A.R.G. Griffiths

▪ 2007

Area:
462,840 sq km (178,704 sq mi)
Population
(2006 est.): 6,001,000
Capital:
Port Moresby
Chief of state:
Queen Elizabeth II, represented by Governor-General Sir Paulias Matane
Head of government:
Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare

      Papua New Guinea's relationship with its most important neighbour, Australia, was rocky in 2006. Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare responded to Australia's wish to process asylum seekers offshore by suggesting that he would not allow Papua New Guinea's Manus Island to be used as a detention centre. Somare also took strong exception to the Australian government's bleak assessment of Papua New Guinea's future and to Australian Prime Minister John Howard's citing of the situation in Papua New Guinea as one reason for increasing the size of the Australian army.

      The serious rift between the two countries continued over plans to explore for gold near the Kokoda Trail. Howard declared that he would try to halt the project because he believed that it would damage an iconic area where Australians had fought and defeated the Japanese during World War II. The Papua New Guinean government accused the Australian government of having done little over the years to help the locals who had carried wounded Australian soldiers to safety during the war years and pointed out that the proposed gold mine, if it went ahead, would provide jobs and income for the poor landholders in the Kokoda district.

      Former prime minister Sir William Skate (Skate, Sir William Jack ), who was credited with the resolution of the war with the secessionist island of Bougainville, died in January. (See Obituaries.)

A.R.G. Griffiths

▪ 2006

Area:
462,840 sq km (178,704 sq mi)
Population
(2005 est.): 5,887,000
Capital:
Port Moresby
Chief of state:
Queen Elizabeth II, represented by Governor-General Sir Paulias Matane
Head of government:
Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare

 On Sept. 16, 2005, Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare, who had steered Papua New Guinea through its achievement of statehood in 1975, presided over the country's official celebration of 30 years of independence from Australia. Throughout the year Somare gave top priority to reducing economic reliance on donor aid from Australia, New Zealand, China, South Korea, and the EU. His government adopted an export-focused strategy for economic recovery based on improvements to infrastructure and a public-works program of port, jetty, bridge, and road construction.

      Papua New Guinea had to resolve several diplomatic disputes with Australia in advance of the September festivities. These included a disagreement over the local deployment of Australian Federal Police and the subsequent collapse in May of Australia's U.S.$750 million aid program. In March Somare was incensed when Brisbane Airport security staff, who were searching for explosives as part of the war on terrorism, asked him to remove his shoes. Minister of Inter-Government Relations Sir Peter Barter stressed the need to maintain good relations with Australia and pointed to the potential significance of a proposed natural gas pipeline between the two Pacific Ocean neighbours.

      In May–June the secessionist province of Bougainville held its first elections under the terms of the 2001 peace agreement. Former rebel leader Joseph Kabui was elected to lead the province's new autonomous government.

A.R.G. Griffiths

▪ 2005

Area:
462,840 sq km (178,704 sq mi)
Population
(2004 est.): 5,695,000
Capital:
Port Moresby
Chief of state:
Queen Elizabeth II, represented by Governors-General Bill Skate (acting) until March 3 and from March 5, Jeffrey Nape (acting) from May 28, and, from June 29, Sir Paulias Matane
Head of government:
Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare

      Papua New Guinean Prime Minister Michael Somare faced the prospect of no-confidence motions when the 18-month postelection grace period that had kept him immune from parliamentary challenges expired in February 2004. On January 21 he adjourned Parliament for five months while he tried to have his period of immunity extended to three years. In a move to improve stability, opposition leader Sir Mekere Morauta joined Somare's government in May. Parliament reconvened on June 29, but in early August Somare, citing security concerns, declared another adjournment until November.

      The search for a new governor-general continued for months after the Supreme Court ruled that the elections of Sir Albert Kipalan and Sir Pato Kakaraya were null and void. Acting Gov.-Gen. (and former prime minister) Bill Skate, who was acquitted on charges of misappropriation, stepped down during his two-day trial in March; he resigned in May. Sir Paulius Matane was elected by 50 MPs as the new governor-general in May. He moved into the official residence with a mat, comb, razor blade, and clothes and pledged to leave with nothing more.

      On June 29 Papua New Guinea and Australia formalized an Enhanced Cooperation Program worth $A 800 million (about U.S.$550 million) over five years. Some 300 Australian experts would work with Papua New Guineans in the local police, courts, and treasury and in the areas of health, border protection, immigration, customs, and civil aviation. In October delegates reached agreement on a draft constitution for the secessionist province of Bougainville.

A.R.G. Griffiths

▪ 2004

Area:
462,840 sq km (178,704 sq mi)
Population
(2003 est.): 5,426,000
Capital:
Port Moresby
Chief of state:
Queen Elizabeth II, represented by Governor-General Sir Silas Atopare
Head of government:
Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare

      Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare, who had served as Papua New Guinea's first prime minister, brought more than 25 years of experience and a highly regarded regional stature to the difficult task of managing the country's key relationship with Australia, its neighbour and patron. Relations between the two countries became tense in 2003 when Australia decided to tie its vital annual aid of A$350 million (about $250 million) to a proposal to insert Australian police and civil-service bureaucrats into the administration of its former colony. Initially, Somare canceled arrangements for Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer's visit to discuss the proposal. Somare maintained that he would not abide interference in the sovereignty of Papua New Guinea and described Australia's perception that Papua New Guinea's law and order and financial management had gone wrong as “absolute rubbish.” He was also disappointed that Papua New Guinea had been branded a weak nation. In addition, Somare was put under pressure by the World Bank, which threatened to pull out of the country over the government's logging policy. Somare said that he could not understand the hard-line approach taken by the World Bank over logging rights given to local and foreign companies.

A.R.G. Griffiths

▪ 2003

Area:
462,840 sq km (178,704 sq mi)
Population
(2002 est.): 5,426,000
Capital:
Port Moresby
Chief of state:
Queen Elizabeth II, represented by Governor-General Sir Silas Atopare
Head of government:
Prime Ministers Sir Mekere Morauta and, from August 5, Sir Michael Somare

      Sir Michael Somare was elected—88 votes to 0—prime minister of Papua New Guinea on Aug. 5, 2002. It was his third term as prime minister, and he had also served as chief minister (1972–75) prior to independence. In a surprise move, incumbent Prime Minister Sir Mekere Morauta announced that he would not contest the general election, and he also resigned as party leader of the People's Democratic Movement. Former prime minister Bill Skate took up the position of speaker in the new Parliament.

      Upon taking office, Somare was urged to act soon to deal with the sharply declining economy. The president of the country's Chamber of Commerce and Industry pointed out that the kina (worth about 25 cents) was close to its lowest-ever level, company income and investment were way down, and economic activity was sluggish. As a result of the new Organic Law on the Integrity of Political Parties and Candidates, which outlawed the MPs' traditional practice of switching political allegiance after an election, Somare's position was secure.

A.R.G. Griffiths

▪ 2002

Area:
462,840 sq km (178,704 sq mi)
Population
(2001 est.): 5,287,000
Capital:
Port Moresby
Chief of state:
Queen Elizabeth II, represented by Governor-General Silas Atopare
Head of government:
Prime Minister Sir Mekere Morauta

      Papua New Guinea's secessionist province of Bougainville ended a decade-long war when final terms for peace were negotiated on June 1, 2001. Under an agreement signed by the minister for Bougainville affairs, Moi Avei, on behalf of the national government, the island was to have statelike autonomy and the option of total independence by 2011–16.

      Widespread breakdowns in law and order caused by difficult economic conditions and popular hostility to the Papua New Guinea Privatization Commission, the World Bank, and the International Monetary Fund posed serious problems in 2001. In the most serious incident, rebellious soldiers stole weapons from armouries in Port Morseby. The soldiers were angered by a Commonwealth Eminent Persons Group recommendation that the size of the army be halved and that the army headquarters be sold off as commercial real estate. To defuse the situation, Prime Minister Sir Mekere Morauta gave an unconditional amnesty to all those who took part in the uprising.

      In Port Moresby four students died during protests against privatization. The government promised a commission of inquiry into the killings. Violent squabbling between rival tribes over potential royalties from an A$8,590,000,000 (U.S. $4,278,000,000) project worried possible investors in a gas consortium. At least 25 people died during tribal fighting sparked by land ownership claims along the projected route of the PNG-Queensland (Australia) gas pipeline. In December clashes near Mendi between the Ujimap and Tugumap tribesmen killed at least 36 persons.

A.R.G. Griffiths

▪ 2001

Area:
462,840 sq km (178,704 sq mi)
Population
(2000 est.): 4,927,000
Capital:
Port Moresby
Chief of state:
Queen Elizabeth II, represented by Governor-General Silas Atopare
Head of government:
Prime Minister Sir Mekere Morauta

      After 15 months of negotiations, the Bougainville affairs minister in the Papua New Guinea cabinet, Sir Michael Somare, agreed to present to the cabinet a radical plan to allow autonomy for Bougainville and to conduct an eventual referendum that could lead to local independence. Subsequently, however, Prime Minister Sir Mekere Morauta ruled out secession or autonomy but assured the island of special status once the Bougainville Revolutionary Army surrendered its arms. In reply the North Solomons province (Bougainville) governor, John Momis, commented that similar situations in the world had taught that no group of rebels would agree to hand in its weapons unless its objectives had been met.

      In August Prime Minister Morauta pulled off something of a coup for his administration when the National Parliament voted 79–0 to amend the constitution. The Political Parties and Candidates Integrity Bill tightened controls on party registrations and was designed to stop the swapping of parties by members of Parliament once they had been elected.

      Papua New Guinea continued to work hard to cement good relations with China. Foreign Minister John Kaputin held talks with Chinese Vice Pres. Hu Jintao, thanking China for its economic and technological assistance and promising to support China's one-China policy.

A.R.G. Griffiths

▪ 2000

Area:
462,840 sq km (178,704 sq mi)
Population
(1999 est.): 4,705,000
Capital:
Port Moresby
Chief of state:
Queen Elizabeth II, represented by Governor-General Silas Atopare
Head of government:
Prime Ministers Sir Bill Skate until July 7 and, from July 14, Sir Mekere Morauta

      In a dramatic atmosphere of crisis, the National Parliament of Papua New Guinea voted on July 13, 1999, to replace Sir Bill Skate as prime minister. Almost the whole of the government defected to Sir Mekere Morauta when Skate's bold last-minute attempt to obtain badly needed overseas funds from the government of Taiwan—in reward for Papua New Guinea's diplomatic recognition—was rejected by most political parties. Two months later, on the 24th anniversary of independence, Morauta lamented the way in which Papua New Guinea had fallen short of the mark. He noted that the country had all the resources necessary to become prosperous but the people had not fulfilled their destiny, and things in 1999 were worse than they had been in the early days of independence. The prime minister outlined his priorities for turning the nation around, saying that he was determined to continue with the search for a resolution with the secessionist movement on Bougainville Island, repair the broken economy, stop the disastrous decline of the kina, rebuild the institutions of the state, and restore the integrity of the political system. His solution was to target the Australian government, the International Monetary Fund, and the World Bank for economic assistance while at the same time tackling what he described as the lethal mix of corruption and incompetence at home.

A.R.G. Griffiths

▪ 1999

      Area: 462,840 sq km (178,704 sq mi)

      Population (1998 est.): 4.6 million

      Capital: Port Moresby

      Chief of state: Queen Elizabeth II, represented by Governor-General Silas Atopare

      Head of government: Prime Minister Bill Skate

      Papua New Guinea faced complex difficulties in 1998, made worse by a disastrous tidal wave on July 17 at Vanimo and by the world economic crisis that was severely affecting Pacific nations in particular. U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright visited the nation after the tidal wave and increased U.S. disaster aid to more than $1 million. Despite the unexpected disaster, Prime Minister Bill Skate managed the coalition ministry well, dislocated though it was by a split in the United Party during which party founder Sir Michael Somare, his son Arthur, and others moved over to the opposition.

      On the positive side, another former party leader and ex-prime minister, Sir Rabbie Namaliu, joined the government to assist Skate in an attempt to solve the long-running problem of the secession movement on the island of Bougainville. A turning point in the conflict came when the UN Security Council approved the creation of a five-member UN political office in Bougainville to monitor the peace agreement between the Papua New Guinean government and the secessionists. Skate also met the rebel leaders Joseph Kabui and Francis Ona and agreed to withdraw Papua New Guinean defense forces from Bougainville as part of the peace process. An amendment to the constitution was passed by the legislature on October 2 that would establish a Bougainville Reconciliation Government as of Jan. 1, 1999. The BRG would prepare the way for democratic elections in June 1999.

A.R.G. GRIFFITHS

▪ 1998

      Area: 462,840 sq km (178,704 sq mi)

      Population (1997 est): 4,496,000

      Capital: Port Moresby

      Chief of state: Queen Elizabeth II, represented by Governor-General Wiwa Korowi and, from November 13, Silas Atopare

      Head of government: Prime Ministers Sir Julius Chan, John Giheno (acting) from March 27, Sir Julius Chan from June 2, and, from July 22, Bill Skate

      In 1997 Papua New Guinea faced "mercenary mayhem" after the government hired Sandline International mercenary soldiers to fight on the island of Bougainville in order to end the long-running secessionist crisis. Disgruntled Papua New Guinean soldiers, who had been fighting in Bougainville for nine years and who were fed up with low pay and poor conditions, triggered civil unrest. Brig. Gen. Jerry Singirok, who was later dismissed, announced on national radio on March 17 that he had ordered the Sandline contract to be suspended and called on Prime Minister Sir Julius Chan to resign. After politicians were blockaded inside Parliament House by soldiers and protesters, Chan acted. Although he survived a vote asking him to stand aside, Chan voluntarily stepped down, called elections, and set up an official commission of inquiry. The commission cleared Chan of corrupt practices and illegal actions, and he resumed office.

      In the ensuing elections, however, Bill Skate replaced Chan as prime minister. Skate had the difficult task of dealing with the aftermath of the mutiny and trying to restore consensus in the country while at the same time being pressed by the serious food shortages faced by up to 700,000 people following a severe drought and harsh frosts in the highlands.

      In July representatives from Bougainville, after meeting for two weeks at the Burnham army camp in New Zealand, issued the "Burnham Declaration," in which they called for a cease-fire, demilitarization of the island, an end to the military blockade, and installation of a UN peacekeeping force. In August, during his first visit to Bougainville, Skate endorsed the declaration and vowed to seek a peaceful settlement. Australia promised $A 600,000 for drought relief and reconstruction and rehabilitation on Bougainville.

A.R.G. GRIFFITHS
      This article updates Papua New Guinea.

▪ 1997

      A constitutional monarchy and Commonwealth member, Papua New Guinea is situated in the southwestern Pacific Ocean and comprises the eastern part of the island of New Guinea, the islands of the Bismarck, Kiriwina (Trobriand), Louisiade, and D'Entrecasteaux groups, Muyua (Woodlark) Island, and parts of the Solomon Islands group, including Bougainville. Area: 462,840 sq km (178,704 sq mi). Pop. (1996 est.): 4.4 million. Cap.: Port Moresby. Monetary unit: kina, with (Oct. 11, 1996) a free rate of 1.33 kinas to U.S. $1 (2.10 kinas = £1 sterling). Queen, Elizabeth II; governor-general in 1996, Wiwa Korowi; prime minister, Sir Julius Chan.

      Prime Minister Sir Julius Chan worked in 1996 to cement links with Japan and China. He had a successful visit to Japan and in July welcomed Chinese Vice Premier and Foreign Minister Qian Qichen to Papua New Guinea. Relations with Australia, however, deteriorated when Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer threatened to review a $12 million defense cooperation project after Papua New Guinea government forces violated it by using Australian-supplied Iroquois helicopters against the secessionist Bougainville Revolutionary Army. The eight-year Bougainville conflict worsened, and in October Theodore Miriung, head of the government-backed Bougainville Transitional Government and a leading voice for peace, was assassinated. (A.R.G. GRIFFITHS)

      This article updates Papua New Guinea.

▪ 1996

      A constitutional monarchy and Commonwealth member, Papua New Guinea is situated in the southwestern Pacific Ocean and comprises the eastern part of the island of New Guinea, the islands of the Bismarck, Kiriwina (Trobriand), Louisiade, and D'Entrecasteaux groups, Muyua (Woodlark) Island, and parts of the Solomon Islands group, including Bougainville. Area: 462,840 sq km (178,704 sq mi). Pop. (1995 est.): 4,302,000. Cap.: Port Moresby. Monetary unit: kina, with (Oct. 6, 1995) a free rate of 1.32 kinas to U.S. $1 (2.09 kinas = £1 sterling). Queen, Elizabeth II; governor-general in 1995, Wiwa Korowi; prime minister, Sir Julius Chan.

      French nuclear bomb tests in the South Pacific, continuing unrest in Bougainville, and problems with mining companies overshadowed Papua New Guinea's celebrations of 20 years of independence in 1995. Nine Papua New Guinea soldiers were killed in Bougainville fighting guerrillas of the secessionist Bougainville Revolutionary Army (BRA). A spokesman for the BRA and three other rebel representatives began talks on a cease-fire at a meeting in Cairns, Australia, but Prime Minister Sir Julius Chan announced on November 10 that the talks were being abandoned.

      At the heart of the disputes was the closure of one of the world's biggest copper mines. Fearing a similar fate for operations at the Ok Tedi and Fly mines, the government moved to restrict compensation for environmental damage. While Prime Minister Chan warned against villagers' being given unrealistic expectations, the Australian mining resources company BHP was criticized by the minister for mining and petroleum, John Giheno, for extraordinary and blatant interference in Papua New Guinea affairs. BHP denied the charge that it helped draft legislation aimed at outlawing individual claims for compensation against mining firms. Chan took a leading role as chairman of the South Pacific Forum, setting trade, tourism, and transportation as the main discussion points for the September meeting. He showed poise and sangfroid in condemning France and putting a stop to post-Forum dialogue with France after the detonation of the second nuclear test explosion on October 2. (A.R.G. GRIFFITHS)

      This updates the article Papua New Guinea.

▪ 1995

      A constitutional monarchy and Commonwealth member, Papua New Guinea is situated in the southwestern Pacific Ocean and comprises the eastern part of the island of New Guinea, the islands of the Bismarck, Kiriwina (Trobriand), Louisiade, and D'Entrecasteaux groups, Muyua (Woodlark) Island, and parts of the Solomon Islands group, including Bougainville. Area: 462,840 sq km (178,704 sq mi). Pop. (1994 est.): 4,246,000. Cap.: Port Moresby. Monetary unit: kina, with (Oct. 7, 1994) a free rate of 1.09 kinas to U.S. $1 (1.73 kinas = £1 sterling). Queen, Elizabeth II; governor-general in 1994, Wiwa Korowi; prime ministers, Paias Wingti and, from August 30, Sir Julius Chan.

      In September 1994 the Papua New Guinea government recaptured the Bougainville copper mine after the dwindling group of separatist guerrillas occupying it withdrew to the hills. No date was set for the reopening of the mine, but the government looked forward to achieving this as soon as worker access to the site could be secured on a daily basis. Even though the safety of the guerrilla leaders was guaranteed by the presence of a multinational peacekeeping force in the Pacific region, the government was not able to entice the leaders of the Bougainville Revolutionary Army from the hills to peace talks.

      The good news in Bougainville was offset by disaster in the central highlands, where a massive explosion in a gold mine stopped production. The Porgera mine was one of the world's largest, producing 32,885,000 g (1,160,000 oz) of gold a year. Eleven miners, including five Australians, were killed in the blast in the mine's explosives area, and 48 were injured when two sealed containers of ammonium nitrate were ignited by a fire. (A.R.G. GRIFFITHS)

      This updates the article Papua New Guinea.

▪ 1994

      A constitutional monarchy and member of the Commonwealth, Papua New Guinea is situated in the southwestern Pacific Ocean and comprises the eastern part of the island of New Guinea, the islands of the Bismarck, Kiriwina (Trobriand), Louisiade, and D'Entrecasteaux groups, Muyua (Woodlark) Island and other nearby islands, and parts of the Solomon Islands, including Bougainville. Area: 462,840 sq km (178,704 sq mi). Pop. (1993 est.): 3,918,000. Cap.: Port Moresby. Monetary unit: kina, with (Oct. 4, 1993) a free rate of 0.99 kina to U.S. $1 (1.50 kinas = £ 1 sterling). Queen, Elizabeth II; governor-general in 1993, Wiwa Korowi; prime minister, Paias Wingti.

      Amid uproar and dismay in the Papua New Guinea Parliament, Prime Minister Paias Wingti outmaneuvered his political opposition by resigning on Sept. 23, 1993, and being reelected almost simultaneously. This legitimate strategy saved him and his Cabinet from facing a vote of no confidence in the foreseeable future. The nation's constitution restricted the number of no-confidence motions that could be made in a 12-month period.

      Wingti, who first became prime minister in 1985 after leading a no-confidence motion against Michael Somare, made a deliberate effort in 1993 to turn the direction of the nation's foreign policy focus toward Asia. He argued, following visits to Singapore, Malaysia, and Indonesia, that the challenge for Papua New Guinea was to find its place in the Asia-Pacific regional economy of the 21st century.

      Wingti's main obstacles to his dream were not simply the difficulty in attracting investors to Papua New Guinea but also in guaranteeing physical security for foreign nationals and local citizens. Accordingly, because of the problems with law enforcement that continued to trouble the nation in 1993, he announced a system of national registration. Papua New Guineans traveling from their homes to anywhere in the country would be required to carry identification that included their names and addresses. (A.R.G. GRIFFITHS)

      This updates the article Papua New Guinea.

* * *

Introduction
officially  Independent State of Papua New Guinea,  
Papua New Guinea, flag of island country in the southwestern Pacific Ocean. It encompasses the eastern half of the island of New Guinea (the western half, Irian Jaya, belonging to Indonesia) and its offshore islands as well as the islands of the Bismarck Archipelago (New Britain, New Ireland, and the Admiralty Islands) and those of Bougainville and Buka. These islands stretch from just south of the Equator to the Torres Strait, which separates New Guinea from Cape York Peninsula, the northernmost extension of Australia.

      The official languages of the country are all introduced: English, Tok Pisin (Melanesian Pidgin), and Hiri, or Police, Motu, the last being a simplified form of the language of the people who lived around what is now the capital, Port Moresby, when it was first established in 1884. The islands that constitute Papua New Guinea have been settled for tens of thousands of years by the mixture of peoples who are generally referred to as Melanesians, and one of the principal challenges facing those who govern the modern state is the difficulty of welding together hundreds of diverse, once-isolated regional societies into a viable modern nation-state.

The land

Relief
 Papua New Guinea's (Papua New Guinea) magnificent and varied scenery reflects a generally recent geologic history in which movements of the Earth's crust resulted in the collision of the northward-moving Australian Plate with the westward-moving Pacific Plate. The low-lying plains of southern New Guinea are geologically part of the Australian Plate. Indeed, New Guinea was separated physically from Australia only 8,000 years ago by the shallow flooding of the Torres Strait. The southern New Guinea plains, called the Fly-Digul shelf after the Fly and Digul rivers, are geologically stable but very sparsely populated by seminomadic sago gatherers.

      Northward lies a belt of limestone country of varying width, most prominent in the Kikori River–Lake Kutubu area. This forms an extraordinarily harsh environment of jumbled karst, dolines, rock towers, and seemingly endless ridges of jagged rock, all covered in virtually impenetrable lowland rain forest. The discovery of mineral deposits about 1970 stimulated mining activity in the previously deserted region.

 Farther to the north lie the Highlands, an east–west-trending zone of mountains with elevations in excess of 13,000 feet (4,000 metres) and enclosed upland basins whose floors are usually at 4,500 feet or higher. The basins contain lake deposits, formed in the recent geologic past by impeded drainage; soil wash from the surrounding mountains; and layers of volcanic ash, or tephra, deposited from nearby and recently active volcanoes. Such basins, therefore, are usually very fertile. Temperatures are much cooler than in the lowlands, and frosts occasionally cause serious damage to the sweet potato (kaukau), which is the staple diet of the area. Much of the natural vegetation of most of the upland basins has been removed by the intensive agricultural technology of the Highlanders. Throughout the Highlands, carefully tended gridiron gardens with their drainage ditches or perfectly circular earth-covered mounds of compost dominate the landscape.

      The mountains drop away sharply to the north, and the intensive cultivation of fertile soils gives way to swidden (slash-and-burn, or shifting) cultivation of taro and yams in the forests of the foothills. These thinly populated areas in turn give way to the sago swamps along the courses of the great Ramu and Sepik rivers (Sepik River), the latter area famous for its magnificent folk art but equally noted for its immense numbers of mosquitoes. In the slightly more elevated areas away from the main rivers, the high water table combines with the human activities of swidden cultivation and hunting (the burning of vegetation to drive animals toward hunters) to create extensive areas of poor grassland.

      The most northerly zone consists of a complex, unstable volcanic arc stretching from the Schouten Islands off Wewak to the Huon Peninsula and through New Britain island, at which point it bifurcates, one arm sweeping northwestward through New Ireland and the Admiralty Islands, the other proceeding southeastward through Bougainville and the Solomon Islands. The north coast, unlike the swampy south coast, drops sharply to the sea, and stands of mangrove and, in brackish waters, nipa palm are rather limited. This northern volcanic fringe contains some of the most fertile soils of the islands. Thus, despite the hazards of volcanic activity and frequent earth tremors, the area is generally well-populated. The island of Karkar and the Gazelle Peninsula of New Britain island are centres of particularly dense population where yams, taro, bananas, and fish are the basic foods. Elsewhere, previously little-used volcanic soils are the focus of large-scale resettlement and oil-palm-cropping schemes, especially in western New Britain.

Drainage
      Steeply sloping mountain areas, exceptionally heavy rainfall, geologic instability in all except the most southerly areas, and rapid growth of both population and commercial enterprise combine to create some of the highest soil-erosion rates in the world, rivaling those of the Himalaya region. Consequently, while rivers are usually quite short in length, they carry extraordinarily high sediment loads, which have built up vast swampy plains and deltas, especially along the Sepik, the Fly, and the Purari river systems. Once they leave the Highlands, often through spectacular gorges, such rivers meander slowly across the sediment plains. For example, 512 miles (824 kilometres) from its mouth the Fly River is a mere 60 feet above sea level. Such high deposition rates create major problems for any proposed human use of these rivers, for transportation or hydroelectricity generation, for example.

Climate
      Although all the climatic regions of Papua New Guinea are basically tropical, they are nevertheless varied. In the lowlands, mean annual maximum temperatures range between 86° and 90° F (30° and 32° C), and the minimums are between 73° and 75° F (23° and 24° C). Seasonal variation in temperature is slight, and the daily variation approximates the annual variation. Cooler conditions prevail in the Highlands, where night frosts are common above 6,500 feet; daytime temperatures there generally exceed 72° F (22° C) regardless of season.

      Rainfall, rather than temperature, is the determinant of season. Precipitation is dependent on two wind systems, the southeast trades and the northwesterly turbulence zone (the monsoon), and on the three site characteristics of latitude, altitude, and exposure. The southeasterlies blow for approximately seven months (May to November) on the extreme southeast of the country (Milne Bay) and for gradually shorter periods northward, predominating for only three months in the Admiralty Islands. Conversely, northwesterlies are more common on the north coast and in the Bismarck Archipelago, but they affect Port Moresby for only three to four months of the year (December through March). The Highlands seem to have their own airflow systems, receiving rain throughout the year totaling between 100 and 160 inches (2,500 and 4,000 millimetres). With the northwesterlies, rain is frequently from convectional storms, and rain shadow effects are reduced. With the southeasterlies, however, exposure is particularly important. The Port Moresby coastal area is parched throughout the period of the southeasterlies, which flow parallel to the coast, yet where mountainous land lies athwart the airflow, as in New Britain or the southward-facing slopes of the Highlands, rainfall is extremely heavy, frequently exceeding 300 inches. Port Moresby receives less than 50 inches of rain annually, which occasions problems of water and hydroelectric power supply.

Plant and animal life
      In most areas the coastline is lined by mangrove swamp, succeeded inland by nipa palm (Nipa fruticans) in brackish waters. Farther inland, particularly along the valleys of the larger rivers in the north and along the deltas of the south coast, large stands of sago palm are scattered. Primary lowland rain forest covers much of the island up to approximately 3,300 feet above sea level. The forest is characterized by a large number of species, by the absence of pure stands of any one species, by fairly distinct layering of the forest into two or three levels, by the limited development of undergrowth, and by the small amount of human impact upon it. Dense undergrowth is usually a sign of human interference, except on soils that are particularly poor or where the low height of the forest allows sunlight to penetrate to the soil surface. In those lowland areas where drier conditions prevail, agriculture and hunting have often changed the delicately balanced natural ecosystem into grassland (for example, in the Sepik and Markham river valleys).

      In the uplands above 3,300 feet, stands of single species become more common, and trees such as oak, beech, red cedar, and pine become increasingly dominant. Above 6,500 feet, cloud or moss forest characterized by conifers, tree ferns, and a wealth of fungi and epiphytes (such as mosses and orchids) appears.

      Papua New Guinea possesses a rich variety of reptiles, marsupials (animals that carry their young in pouches), native freshwater fish, and birds but is almost devoid of large mammals. Since the Tertiary Period (which occurred from 66,400,000 to 1,600,000 years ago), the island has been isolated from Southeast Asia by the sea, and its animals thereafter evolved in isolation. This appears not to have been true for plant life, for New Guinea has been a centre of dispersal for many plants to all neighbouring regions. The extraordinary profusion in Papua New Guinea of such plants as orchids, figs (Ficus), and false beech (Nothofagus) and of such animals as cassowaries (large, flightless birds), birds of paradise, parrots, butterflies, and marsupials—including the tree kangaroo and phalanger—gives the island an unparalleled biogeography.

      Papua New Guinea's unique biological species have long been sought by collectors all over the world. The government has introduced several conservation and protection measures; the export of birds of paradise is now banned, and hunters thereof are restricted to the use of traditional weapons. Similarly, the export of many other birds and butterflies and of crocodile skins is strictly regulated. Other policies encourage the controlled expansion of selected exports of “farmed” orchids and crocodiles and of “cultivated” butterflies and other insects.

Settlement patterns
      More than 80 percent of the country's population lives in rural areas. Rural settlement patterns are extremely varied. In isolated areas of the southern interior there still remains a handful of the previously common giant communal structures that house the whole male population, with a circling cluster of women's huts. In many coastal areas, villages stretch between the beach and an inland swamp in long lines, broken into clan or family segments. In the Highlands numerous village forms exist: in the Eastern Highlands and Chimbu provinces, villages previously clustered along ridgetops for defensive purposes are dispersing increasingly downslope; in the Western Highlands and Enga provinces, the traditional form is of scattered households each surrounded by its own land, with separate houses for men and women; in the Telefomin area, clustered villages are supplemented by scattered garden houses at a distance from the central settlement. Housing styles originally reflected environmental circumstances, ranging from houses built over the sea in sheltered coastal areas, which avoided mosquitoes and simplified sanitary disposal problems, to houses dug into the ground to retain heat in the colder parts of the Highlands. Such adjustments are disappearing as Western-style housing becomes more common.

      The 14 percent of the population that is urban lives in towns whose original location was determined either by access to a good harbour for early colonial planters or, in the interior, by the sufficient availability of level land for an airstrip. Despite the greatly diminished importance of plantations and the removal out of town of most of the airstrips, these origins help determine the existing urban layout. Within the towns, of which Port Moresby and Lae are the largest, there are great contrasts in housing. Port Moresby has, for example, grand modern apartment blocks overlooking the sea, but nearly half its population lives in squatter settlements. Rapid urban growth, at about 6 percent annually, and considerable income inequalities mean that public or low-cost housing cannot be built in sufficient quantities to accommodate much more than a relatively small portion of the urban population.

The people

Ethnic composition
 Papua New Guinea's (Papua New Guinea) ethnic composition is extremely complex. There are more than 700 ethnic groups; these are often separated into two major divisions, Papuan (constituting more than four-fifths of the total population) and Melanesian (Melanesian culture) (constituting all but about 1 percent of the rest of the population). Very small minorities of chiefly Micronesian and chiefly Polynesian ethnic groups can be found on some of the outlying islands. Within the larger divisions, characteristics vary widely; the Melanesians, for example, who generally inhabit the coastal regions and offshore islands, range from the relatively tall, light-skinned Trobriand Islanders to the black-skinned people of Buka. Ethnic Papuans, who live mainly in the interior, are often physically characterized by other citizens as stocky and muscular.

      While at independence in 1975 the expatriate community of 40,000 was predominantly of Australian and Chinese origin, a decade later the slightly smaller foreign community was more mixed, with the largest non-Western group being from the Philippines.

Linguistic composition
      There are two radically different indigenous language types—Austronesian, or Melanesian, and non-Austronesian (Austronesian languages), or Papuan (Papuan languages)—and the language areas generally reflect ethnic divisions. Some 200 related Austronesian languages occur, mainly in the islands and along the New Guinea coast. The approximately 550 non-Austronesian languages have small speech communities, the largest being the Enga, in the Wabag area. Because of the multiplicity of tongues, Tok Pisin has developed as an effective lingua franca.

Religious composition
      About three-fifths of the populace consider themselves Protestant, and the largest portion of these are Lutheran. Nearly a third are Roman Catholic. The remainder include Anglicans and Bahāʾīs. Despite the numbers enrolled in introduced religions, traditional religious beliefs persist, and rituals of magic, spells, and sorcery are still widely practiced.

Demographic trends
      Population growth is high, about 2.7 percent annually, and two-fifths of the population is under 15 years of age. Since employment in the commercial sector has grown much more slowly (it declined in the 1980s), the government has attempted to concentrate its policies on rural, village-based development in an attempt to reduce urban migration and demands for formal employment. In the early 1980s the birth rate, though falling, was 50 percent higher than the world average, while the death rate was only 25 percent higher and falling much faster. Consequently, full employment is likely to remain a problem.

The economy

Resources
      From 1970 onward, major mineral discoveries have transformed the Papua New Guinean economy from one dependent on tropical crops (coffee, copra, cacao) to one that depends for much of its exports on minerals. Large gold or gold and copper deposits have led to major development at Panguna on Bougainville, Ok Tedi in the Star Mountains, Misima Island in Milne Bay, Porgera in the Western Highlands, and Lihir Island near New Ireland. After 70 years of exploration, major natural gas and oil finds were made in the late 1980s; at the end of the decade plans for their exploitation were being prepared.

      Such resource exploitation has caused local groups to contest, principally with the national government, the distribution of mineral revenues. Open warfare broke out on Bougainville (Bougainville Island), and the island's gold and copper mine was closed in 1989. Despite this, revenues from mining provided one-fifth of government revenue during the 1980s.

      Forestry exploitation, extensive particularly around Madang, in the northeast, and on New Britain and New Ireland islands, accounted for some 10 percent of exports. While fisheries have great potential, this industry has been especially erratic.

Agriculture
      Most agricultural production is for subsistence, and production remains difficult to estimate. Almost all commercial crop production is exported. High-quality Arabica coffee is grown throughout the Highlands, while cacao is grown in the islands, oil palms in western New Britain and the southeastern mainland, and robusta coffee on the north coast; copra is produced in all lowland areas, together with some rubber. Production of all crops has been stagnant since 1985. However, after 1975, smallholder growers increasingly took over the bulk of production, replacing plantations.

Industry
      Industrial output is of little significance, accounting for only one-tenth of gross domestic product despite the government's attempts to promote its expansion. Processing and manufacturing are centred chiefly in Lae and Port Moresby; products include food, beverages, tobacco goods, wood products, textiles, and metal goods.

Finance
      The kina, Papua New Guinea's currency, remained stable and very strong following independence, although problems on Bougainville in 1989 resulted in its devaluation. Responsible financial management remains a strong feature of the Papua New Guinean economy. Foreign investment and taxes thereon have dominated the economy and government receipts since independence.

Trade
      Papua New Guinea's trade is roughly in balance. Its exports, principally gold and copper, go primarily to Japan and Europe. Australia has consistently supplied just under half of the country's imports since independence. After machinery and transport equipment, foodstuffs are a major import; the basic diet of most urban dwellers consists of rice and canned fish or meat, very little of which is produced within the country.

Transportation
      Despite the construction of the Okuk Highway, which links Lae to all major Highland towns, air transport remains the most important and, from Port Moresby, essentially the only form of interurban transportation. Papua New Guinea has more regularly operative airstrips per 1,000 population than almost any other country in the world. International air access is via Jackson's Airport, Port Moresby.

Administration and social conditions
      Papua New Guinea is a member of the Commonwealth, with the British monarch as its head of state. The government follows a unicameral parliamentary system. The head of state appoints the prime minister, who presides over the National Executive Council; the governor-general, who is nominated by the council and represents the crown; and the chief justice, who presides over the six- to eight-member Supreme Court. Political parties are extraordinarily divisive and numerous and have weak local organization. A feature of parliamentary politics in Papua New Guinea during the 1980s was the frequency of motions of no confidence in the government (allowed every six months under the 1975 constitution). Despite the frequent changes of government, policies have remained notably stable. Papua New Guinea's major foreign policy concerns are its bridging role between Southeast Asia and the rest of the Pacific and its relations with Indonesia, which have been occasionally strained as a result of events in neighbouring Irian Jaya. A feature of Papua New Guinea's political life has been its active and free press staffed almost exclusively by national journalists.

Education
      Despite Papua New Guinea's impressive progress in education, three-fifths of all adults are illiterate. Only about two-thirds of all children attend primary school, only half of those attending finish primary school, and only one in six primary-school students receives any secondary schooling. The rapid growth and extreme youthfulness of the population (42 percent are under 15 years of age) mean that educational demand outstrips supply even though education is a major item of government expenditure. Families opt to educate sons rather than daughters: for every 10 boys in primary schools, there are 8 girls; at secondary school the figure is 6 girls, and at university 2 girls.

Health and welfare
      The village and the family in Papua New Guinea provide largely those welfare services which, in more developed countries, are assumed by the state. Health expenditure in Papua New Guinea as a proportion of total government spending is relatively high for a developing country. Pneumonia and malaria are among the leading causes of mortality. Emphasis on primary health care at the village level has reduced maternal and infant mortality. It has also led to a rapid increase in life expectancy.

Cultural life
      Despite incorporation into the modern world, Papua New Guinea retains a rich variety of village cultures, expressed in its human-molded landscapes and its sculpture, painting, storytelling, dance, and body decoration. The Papua New Guinea National Museum and Art Gallery at Waigani has a significant collection of ethnographic artifacts, and the government encourages the continuation and, in some cases, the revival of activities associated with traditional cultures. In 2008 the Kuk Early Agricultural area was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site. Because the area's land has been worked continuously for over 7,000 years, it contains evidence for the beginning of organized agriculture.

History

The peopling of New Guinea
      Relatively little archaeological work has been carried out in New Guinea. On the basis of current evidence, it has been postulated that parts of New Guinea were occupied as early as 50,000 years ago. Remains of swamp-drainage channels and other water-management works indicate the existence of intensive agriculture on the island around 7000 BC. The intensity and length of time of human occupation of the Highlands are evidenced by the extent of man-made landscapes in the region. These discoveries are made even more interesting by the fact that the sweet potato, the present staple crop of the region, does not seem to have arrived in the area from the Americas until 300 or 400 years ago. It is presumed that taro was the earlier staple, as it still is in some isolated Highlands basins such as that at Telefomin.

The colonial period
      Malay and possibly Chinese traders took spoils and slaves from New Guinea for hundreds of years. The first European visitor may have been Jorge de Meneses, who possibly landed on the island in 1526–27 while en route to the Moluccas. The first European attempt at colonization was made in 1793 by Lieutenant John Hayes, a British naval officer, near Manokwari, now in Irian Jaya. The Dutch, however, claimed the western half of the island as part of the Dutch East Indies in 1828; their control remained nominal until 1898, when their first permanent administrative posts were set up at Fakfak and Manokwari. Captain John Moresby of Great Britain surveyed the southeastern coast in the 1870s, and European planters had moved onto New Britain and New Ireland by the 1880s. By 1884 the southeastern quadrant of New Guinea had been established as a British (British Empire) protectorate, and in the same year the German New Guinea Company began its administration of the northeastern quadrant. Despite early gold finds in British New Guinea (after 1906 administered by Australia as Papua), it was in German New Guinea, administered by the German imperial government after 1899, that most early economic activity took place. Plantations were widely established in the islands and around Madang; labourers were brought from the Sepik River, the Markham Valley, and Buka Island.

      German New Guinea was taken over by Australia as a mandated territory of the League of Nations in 1921, after World War I. It remained administratively separate from Papua, where the protectionist policies of Sir Hubert Murray (lieutenant governor of Papua, 1908–40) did little to encourage colonial investment. The discovery in the 1920s of massive gold deposits at the Bulolo River and Edie Creek in the mandated territory increased the disparity of colonial impact in the different regions. In the early 1930s an even greater discovery was made—nearly 1,000,000 people previously unknown to Europeans were contacted in the Highlands basins of the Australian mandate. At first, the Highlanders were utilized as a massive new source of labour for the coastal plantations, a role they continue to play. At the end of World War II, however, the growing of Arabica coffee by small landholders spread rapidly throughout much of the Highlands. Cacao also was rapidly adopted as a plantation and smallholder crop in the islands and around Madang.

      In 1945 Australia combined its administration of Papua and that of the mandate into the Territory of Papua and New Guinea, with the common capital at Port Moresby, on the south coast of Papua. From 1946 Australia administered the mandate of New Guinea as a United Nations trust territory. Despite the general lack of economic development in Papua, its one large town of Port Moresby grew rapidly and attracted large numbers of migrants, particularly from the poorer areas.

Independence
      Self-government was achieved on Dec. 1, 1973, and full independence from Australia on Sept. 16, 1975. At independence there were attempts in both Bougainville and Papua to secede from the new state. The crisis on Bougainville was subdued as a result of the introduction of provincial government and a devolution of some national powers to such governments. The Papuan movement was also pacified by this action, but it, too, lacked cohesive support. In late 1988 secessionism was rekindled on Bougainville (Bougainville Island) as a result of disputes over the distribution of mineral revenues, and in 1990 Bougainville declared independence, though its independence was not recognized by any country.

Richard T. Jackson

Additional Reading
A general guidebook is Andrew Burke et al., Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands, 7th ed. (2005). H.C. Brookfield, Melanesia: A Geographical Interpretation of an Island World (1971), is a comparative survey of geography. Many aspects of European exploration are included in James Sinclair, Kiap: Australia's Patrol Officers in Papua New Guinea (1981). Essential historical coverage is provided in J.L. Whittaker et al. (eds.), Documents and Readings in New Guinea History: Pre-History to 1889 (1975). The Melanesians' view of change is discussed in Gernot Fugmann (ed.), Ethics and Development in Papua New Guinea (1986). Among the best anthropological works are Lawrence S. Grossman, Peasants, Subsistence Ecology, and Development in the Highlands of Papua New Guinea (1984); Roy A. Rappaport, Pigs for the Ancestors: Ritual in the Ecology of a New Guinea People, new ed. (1984); and Marilyn Strathern, Women in Between: Female Roles in a Male World, Mount Hagen, New Guinea, new ed. (1993).Sophie Foster

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Universalium. 2010.

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