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BY:  Dr. Bruce Yeates, University of Papua New Guinea

Paper presented at Mini-conference on National Youth Service - Youth In National Development (circa 1996), Papua New Guinea

There appear to be four visions of development which are influencing the formation and implementation of the policies, programmes and projects of organizations providing social services which target Papua New Guinea's youth today. (The diagram on Social Delivery System below outlines the relation between policies, programmes and projects in the country.) These visions of development have been labelled 'Structural Adjustment', 'Human Development', ‘People-Centred Development', and 'Local-level Government Reform' respectively. This paper provides a brief outline of the goal, features and the organizations which use one or more of the first three visions of development as the philosophical base of that organization and some of the law-making powers and administrative functions of the Local-level Government Reforms.

Structural Adjustment has largely been accepted by the Government and large transnational corporations that are exploiting the natural resources of the country. Economic growth through free markets and free trade is the primary goal of this vision. The features of this include:

  • Currency devaluation.
    • Spending less on health, education and social services.
    • Removing subsidies on cash crops, food price.
    • Retrenching public servants.
    • Public sector wage freeze.
    • User pay policy: health, education, social services.
    • Privatization of airlines, P.T.C., etc.
    • Globalization of market e.g. Pepsi.

Organizations using this vision are:

  • World Bank
  • International Monetary Fund
  • Governments
  • Multi-national Private Business Companies

The Government signed the Social Development Summit Declaration in March 1995 and this document charts the path for Human Development. This vision differs slightly from the first in that it attempts to put a human dimension in economic growth. The goal is to redistribute income from the free market by:

  • eradicating absolute poverty
  • full employment.
  • fostering safe, stable and just societies.
  • promoting equality and equity between men and women.
  • universal and equitable access to education and health services.

Organizations which favour this vision include:

  • United Nations
  • UNDP - Human Development Index
  • Departments of Home Affairs, Education, Health.
Organizations which use the ‘People-Centred' approach see their goal as being one of transforming the economic, social and political structures which are the cause of poverty and inequalities that exist in today's world. They say that social services must:
  • covenant with marginalised groups in society.
  • provide people with sustainable livelihoods.
  • build people's capacity to meet their basic needs.
in order that marginalised groups can benefit from an economy that is able to provide its people with sustainable livelihoods.

Organizations which advocate for and with the people at the grassroots are:

  • NGOs
  • Churches
  • Private individuals.

In part to achieve the administrative competence required of structural adjustment and to bring services closer to the people, the National Parliament amended the Constitution and introduced Local-level Government Reforms. Funding for Local-level Government projects is guaranteed under this new arrangement and is based on the population of the local area. The law-making powers of Local-level Governments include:

  • labour and employment.
  • self-help and tokples schools.
  • dispute settlement.
  • social services.
  • bride and groom wealth.
  • community sport, recreation, cultural and industrial shows.
  • local environment.
  • control on consumption and use of alcohol, betelnut. community day work or service programmes.
  • village committees.

The administrative functions are:

  • initiating and implementing youth and women programmes.
  • implementing national or provincial programmes when required.

This paper has attempted to outline to you the four visions of development that are shaping the road ahead for youth policies and programmes in the country. The points raised can be used as tools to understand the approaches that come from development organizations. With the social change which is happening we can see that tensions and conflicts will occur because of the competition between these four visions of development.

Dr. Bruce Yeates, University of Papua New Guinea


GEORGE H. WRONDIMI, Conference Facilitator

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