Conflict and Resource Development in the Southern Highlands of Papua New Guinea

Conflict and Resource Development in the Southern Highlands of Papua New Guinea

Edited by: Nicole Haley, R.J. May

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The Southern Highlands is one of Papua New Guinea’s most resource-rich provinces, but for a number of years the province has been riven by conflict. Longstanding inter-group rivalries, briefly set aside during the colonial period, have been compounded by competition for the benefits provided by the modern state and by fighting over the distribution of returns from the several big mining and petroleum projects located within the province or impinging upon it. Deaths from the various conflicts over the past decade number in the hundreds. As a result of inter-group fighting, criminal activity and vandalism, a number of businesses have withdrawn from the province. Roadblocks and ambushes have made travel dangerous in many parts and expatriate missionaries and aid workers have left. Many public servants have abandoned their posts with the result that state services are not provided. Corruption is rife. Police are often reluctant to act because they are outnumbered and outgunned.

This volume brings together a number of authors with deep experience of the Southern Highlands to examine the underlying dynamics of resource development and conflict in the province. Its primary purpose is to provide some background to recent events, but the authors also explore possible approaches to limiting the human and economic costs of the ongoing conflict and breakdown of governance.


ISBN (print):
ISBN (online):
Publication date:
Nov 2007
Studies in State and Society in the Pacific, No. 3
ANU Press
State, Society and Governance in Melanesia
Arts & Humanities: Cultural Studies; Business & Economics; Social Sciences: Development Studies, Politics & International Studies, Social Policy & Administration
Pacific: Papua New Guinea

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  1. Introduction: Roots of conflict in the Southern Highlands (PDF, 577KB)Nicole Haley and Ronald J. May doi
  2. The National Government and the Southern Highlands since the 2002 General Elections (PDF, 129KB)Joseph Dorpar and Jim Macpherson doi
  3. The Setting: Land, economics and development in the Southern Highlands (PDF, 1.6MB)Bryant Allen doi
  4. The Southern Highlands: A hasty transition from unknown to riches and chaos (PDF, 123KB)Joe R. Kanekane doi
  5. Cosmology, Morality and Resource Development: SHP election outcomes and moves to establish a separate Hela Province (PDF, 128KB)Nicole Haley doi
  6. ‘Hoo-Ha in Huli’: Considerations on commotion and community in the Southern Highlands (PDF, 327KB)Laurence Goldman doi
  7. Issues of Stability in the Southern Highlands Province (PDF, 133KB)Laurie Bragge doi
  8. The Future of Resource Development in the Southern Highlands (PDF, 113KB)Chris Warrilow doi
  9. Community-Based Development in Tari – Present and Prospects (PDF, 242KB)John Vail doi
  10. A Brief Overview of Government, Law and Order, and Social Matters in the Tari District (PDF, 87KB)Noel H. Walters doi
  11. Porgera Joint Venture’s Presence in the Southern Highlands Province (PDF, 110KB)Kai Lavu doi
  12. What if they don’t want your kind of development? Reflections on the Southern Highlands (PDF, 132KB)Maev O’Collins doi
  13. Conflict Vulnerability Assessment of the Southern Highlands Province (PDF, 136KB)Neryl Lewis doi
  14. An Inside Post-mortem on the Southern Highlands: A perspective from Tari (PDF, 134KB)Philip Moya doi

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