The two days forum that started yesterday, is with the theme, Rise Up! Return Our Roots.
The idea of the theme, is to get the leader and representatives of all six districts in Madang, to identify issues affecting them, discuss and come up with their own solutions.
Organized by the NGO Actnow PNG, the Program Coordinator, Effrey Dademo said the overall aim is to look at getting citizens actions on issues instead of sitting and being complacent.
One of the ways she said, is for the Madang community leaders to hold their members of parliament accountable for what they are suppose to do in the respective districts.
“If economic growth does not support or enhance good living standards in the communities, then we have to question whether we are doing the right thing. We want to see a lot of emphasis on Papua New Guinean ways of doing things and supporting local communities. This is so the people better themselves, instead of the large infrastructures in the cities that local communities don’t benefit from,” Dademo said.
Most issues discussed by the leaders in the forum were centered around the misappropriation of public funds and focusing on the extractive industries like mining, logging, and land theft in the form of Special Agriculture Business Leases.
Ms Dademo says, this is because there’s a lot of emphasis by the government is on extractive industries, and very little on agriculture and other things that will contribute to better living standards in the communities.
More than 70 community leaders from all around Madang Province participated at the forum, that is aimed at helping the leaders understand the difference between economic growth and community development.