Society member profile.
Asia and the Pacific Policy Society members are located all around the region in a wide range of roles. In the first of a new series profiling the work of some of our members ‘Five minutes with…’, Asia and the Pacific Policy Society member Peter Tulapi talks about his work in Papua New Guinea and the biggest policy challenges facing PNG’s development.
Tell us about your work in PNG?
I work for the national university – the University of Papua New Guinea, as a tutor in the Public Policy and Strategic Management divisions or strands. My primary duties are assisting the lecturers and senior lecturers to organise tutorials, seminars, debates and other practical sessions. I also assist them in research and consultancies in addition to teaching. Furthermore, I also do volunteer outreach work with the local communities; for example, I played an important role as a chairman by brokering a peace agreement on one of the biggest tribal fights in the Highlands of PNG. I love taking my professional time off working for the local communities as a volunteer.
What is the most interesting part of your job?
The most interesting part of my job is working as a detective and investigator, trying to figure out what are the real issues and problems affecting a human’s wellbeing. In so doing, I have to devise a strategy or think about better ways to address such dilemmas. For instance, being a researcher or tutor is about thinking proactively and innovatively not only at addressing the questions of ‘what’ but also think out ways to address the ‘how’ questions. I work as an academic/researcher in policy and strategic thinking, seeking to help address development issues in PNG but faced with greater challenges of identifying the right tools in dealing with development. Thus what makes my career interesting is the fact that I continue my long journey as an investigator or detective searching for the right policy tools aimed at addressing PNG’s development issues; and presumably the answer to it will be discovered sooner rather than later.
What do you think are the biggest policy challenges facing PNG’s development aspirations?
To me, there are many big challenges facing PNG’s development. Amongst them are the following considered needing foremost attention. First, PNG needs a strong and robust leadership at both the political and bureaucratic levels, complemented by the private sector. Second, a wider consultation is necessary and critical during policy design and agenda setting. This is because views of all the stakeholders should be captured prior to deciding what policy is important for them and their future. Third, achieving integrity and maintaining desired levels of results and outcomes are formidable challenges for PNG. Stages of policy such as implementation are done by persons of high stature and standing to set practical examples, let alone attain good governance and best practice standards in the public sector. Finally, PNG urgently needs capacity and skilled personnels (reliable and honest) to drive existing reform agendas for implementation and service delivery but not reforms or new ideas that will further curtail growth and development.