Speaker of the Bougainville House of Representative Simon Pentanu suspended this morning’s sitting of the House in Buka, Autonomous Region of Bougainville, to give an opportunity to members of the House to hear a statement from the outgoing United Nations in Papua New Guinea Resident Coordinator His Excellency Gianluca Rampolla.

A number of Members of the House of Representatives in attendance led by President Ishmael Toroama spoke in praise of Mr Rampolla’s leadership and warm personality during his tour of duty to Papua New Guinea, and especially to Bougainville. One of them was Minister for Information and Communications Technology under the Marape-Basil Government and local member of parliament for South Bougainville, Timothy Masiu.

“His Excellency Gianluca Rampolla has devoted over 20 years to development cooperation, humanitarian assistance and peacebuilding work. From 2018 to the end of June 2021, he will have served a full term as United Nations Resident Coordinator in the Independent State of Papua New Guinea.”

Minister Masiu said that as Resident Representative in Papua New Guinea, Mr. Rampolla first visited Autonomous Region of Bougainville in February 2018 and over his tenure, oversaw the United Nation’s intervention in the Autonomous Region of Bougainville, including:

  • Support to political dialogue between the National Government and the Autonomous Bougainville Government, and continued accompaniment of the implementation of the Bougainville Peace Agreement;
  • Support to the holding of the Bougainville Referendum, through technical and financial assistance provided to the Bougainville Referendum Commission and its Chairperson, the Honourable Bertie Ahern;
  • Support to the Weapons Disposal Programme conducted before the holding of the Referendum;
  • Support to and direct participation in the joint awareness activities conducted by the two governments on the Referendum and post-Referendum processes (‘roadshows’) that reached out directly to more than 20,000 people, in the three regions of Bougainville, 13 Districts, and 20 locations;
  • Support to the post-Referendum Planning Taskforce, through technical advice and facilitation of meetings, and;
  • Chairmanship of the post-Referendum consultation, at the invitation of Prime Minister James Marape and President Ishmael Toroama.

“Now that His Excellency’s tour of duty to Papua New Guinea has come to an end, we remember his leadership and honour his contributions. On behalf of the people of South Bougainville District, and the people of the Autonomous Region of Bougainville, I take this opportunity to go on record and thank His Excellency. We wish him and his family all the prosperity and good health in his next calling.”

Minister Masiu said that Mr. Rampolla should be proud that he was part of the team that delivered a successful Referendum.

“Mr. Rampolla, through the United Nations in Papua New Guinea, was a key partner in delivering a successful Referendum and continued with post-Referendum activities right to the end.”

Mr Rampolla flew into Buka yesterday in his final trip to the Autonomous Region of Bougainville and departed Bougainville at noon today after addressing the House of Representatives. Mr Rampolla will conclude his post at the end of this month. It is understood Mr. Rampolla will take up his next posting in Venezuela.