International Operation Name: Operation PANDA
International Mission Name: Operation PANDA
Mandating Organization: Government of Canada
Region Name: Asia
Location: Papua New Guinea
Mission Date: 15 June 1998 - 31 January 1999
Mission Mandate: Work with the Peace Monitoring Group in support of the peace process; Consult on all aspects of the ceasefire and breaches thereof; Promote public awareness and understanding of the peace process; Assist in other areas as agreed by both parties to the Agreement; and Chair the Peace Process Consultative Committee.
Mission/Operation Notes: Between 1989 and 1998, thousands of people died (some estimates suggest up to 20,000) on the island of Bougainville in the island nation of Papua New Guinea (PNG). Copper mining on the island produced considerable wealth for the government of PNG; however, the mining also brought environmental damage and social change. Some elements on Bougainville believed the island's people would be better served being independent of Papua New Guinea. The Bougainville Revolutionary Army was formed to fight for independence, while the Bougainville Resistance Force fought to maintain Bougainville within PNG.
In the ten years of fighting, the island's infrastructure was destroyed, people lived in fear, and the economy was devastated. In 1997 the New Zealand government succeeded in arranging a peace conference that led to the Burnham Declaration of Ceasefire. This was followed by The Lincoln Agreement on Peace, Security and Development of Bougainville, 23 January 1998, the Arawa Agreement Covering Implementation of the Ceasefire, 30 April 1998 and the Bougainville Peace Agreement, 30 August 2001.
In December 1997 New Zealand deployed a Truce Monitoring Group. This was folded into the Peace Monitoring Group (PMG) that was established by the Lincoln Agreement. The PMG officially began operations on 1 May 1998 and consisted of military and civlian personnel from Australia, Fiji, New Zealand and Vanuatu.
On 15 June 1998 in a letter to the Secretary-General, the United Nations Security Council authorized the United Nations Political Office in Bougainville (UNPOB). The Arawa Agreement called for the presence of a small UN monitoring mission, for which the Secretary-General had requested Security Council approval on 2 June. The mandate of the UNPOB was to:
- Work with the Peace Monitoring Group in support of the peace process;
- Consult on all aspects of the ceasefire and breaches thereof;
- Promote public awareness and understanding of the peace process;
- Assist in other areas as agreed by both parties to the Agreement; and
- Chair the Peace Process Consultative Committee.
With the signing of the Bougainville Agreement UNPOB's mandate was expanded to include disarmament issues, approved by the Security Council on 31 October 2001. With the continued success of the normalization and peace process in Bougainville, the Security Council replaced UNPOB with the United Nations Observer Mission in Bougainville on 1 January 2004.
In preparing for the UNPOB, the United Nations requested that Canada provide two military advisors. Canada agreed to provide one, with the order being issued on 11 September 1998. Two CF majors, one who would deploy and one as back-up, were tasked and prepared for deployment. Initially, the tasking was held up by questions related to the visas and the role of the UNPOB. Neither officer deployed. The UN later indicated that a military advisor was not required. The planned deployment was therefore cancelled on 3 August 1999.
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