The Consultative Implementation and Monitoring Council (CIMC) is an independent organisation that brings together civil society, the private sector, and Government partners to dialogue and develop policy, influence, and monitor Government decision-making for the long-term development of Papua New Guinea.
It was established by the National Executive Council (NEC) through NEC Decision (46/98) after the National Economic Summit in February 1998. Private sector and civil society participants who attended the Summit called for a consultative mechanism (CIMC) to be established so that recommendations made by the wider community could be followed up within Government circles by the CIMC and ensure their implementation through law and policy.
The goal of the CIMC is to ensure that dialogue, through the ongoing consultation processes, is sustained between Government, the private sector, and the community at large, and the recommendations made to Government through this process are implemented. The CIMC is administered by the Institute of National Affairs, a private non-profit research institute providing alternate advice to that provided by the public service to ensure it is efficient and free from political influence.
The CIMC is Chaired by the Minister for National Planning & Monitoring reporting directly to the National Executive Council and selected Ministerial Committees. Its Council members are from Government which includes Secretaries from key Government agencies, the business sector, the NGO sector, and peak bodies representing civil society in the country.
As a policy and development dialogue platform for all stakeholders, CIMC is recognised by Government as the only appropriate mechanism through which stakeholders can express their opinions concerning Government policies and legislation and bring Government to the people. Discussions on development policy is also done through the Sectoral Committees, working groups, and Regional/National Development Forums each year. The CIMC is also tasked to oversee and coordinate the implementation of the recommendations gathered through the Development Forums and promote constructive, collaborative, and practical policy approaches to tackle some of the country’s persistent development problems. CIMC can also provide alternative advice to Government on development policy while promoting applied research and data collection on economic, social, and development issues and ensure its intended purpose as the link between Government and the people is fully realised. The Government is commended for establishing such a unique mechanism that brings Government down to the people and bridges the various sectors in society.
The CIMC formally captures policy and legislative proposals expressed by the people and submits them to the Government for consideration and also offers solutions relating to the implementation of Government policies and programs. This is done through two main functions: (1) Hosting the annual Regional and National Development Forums and (2) facilitating regular Sectoral Committee meetings to encourage sectoral dialogue on sector issues.
Since its establishment, CIMC has been the avenue for dialogue between Government, the private sector, and the community on key Government policy initiatives. CIMC is also an alternate body that provides policy oversight and helps influence policy outcomes and keeps a check and balance of significant Government policies and legislation over the years.
What added value does the CIMC bring to the work of the Government?
The CIMC consultative Forums offer opportunities for information exchange on existing policies, functions, programs, etc., as well as floating new ideas. The Forums and Sectoral Committees bring together participants who do not normally talk to each other. Such innovative Forums might fail, but they might also be a much-needed source of good ideas and practical steps towards change. CIMC has been a springboard for catalyzing ideas and actions. Participants at Forums and meetings, and workshops, take away the discussions and distill these and develop further ideas relevant to specific areas of work. There is flexibility, and actions can result between sub-groups that may not have occurred in their normal operations. When public servants engage in CIMC Forums and meetings, the community gets a better understanding of how the bureaucracy works, and what their functions and constraints are. Forum participants and the public and Government officials have continued to acknowledge the value of these opportunities for dialogue and information sharing. In many cases, it has enabled dialogue between Government agencies at the national and sub-national levels, where inter-government communication is widely deficient.
The CIMC process doesn’t replace the role of the Government. It respects the authority of the Government and works to complement Government’s efforts to find solutions to its development challenges and providing a mechanism through which views can be expressed for Government consideration.
Current Programs and Activities
The CIMC employs two main processes to get views from stakeholders and citizens. The first is through the annual development forums; four regional forums and one national forum, and the second is through the CIMC‟s Sectoral Committees. Forums are organized for the four regions (Momase, Highlands, Islands, and Southern), with the peak being the National Development Forum, usually held at Parliament House.
The CIMC Sectoral Committees have members from different backgrounds, bringing researchers, public servants, NGOs, and development practitioners together in ways that complement the work of the existing sector-specific Committee. The Committees meet on a quarterly basis and are chaired by either Government officials or private sector representatives. At present, there are ten CIMC Sectoral Committees and two programs.
The Committees with programs are the Family & Sexual Violence Action Committee (FSVAC), and the Informal Economy Sectoral Committee. Programs without Committees are State-Civil Society Organisation (CSO) Partnership Coordination.
Sectoral Committees without programs are:
- Commerce and Services
- Law and Order
- Transport and Infrastructure
- Health, HIV/AIDS & Population
- Governance and Service Delivery
- Natural Resources
- Family & Sexual Violence
- Informal Economy
- State, Civil Society Partnership Program
- PNG Resource Governance Coalition (PNGRGC)
The CIMC process has achieved a number of important achievements and has proven to be an invaluable avenue for the wider participation of members of society to influence policies.
The CIMC has made many submissions to the National Executive Council of which some have been endorsed and implemented through policy development and the annual budget process. Some key achievements of the CIMC include:
- promoting the maintenance of key road infrastructure as a means of enhancing economic development (Creation of the National Roads Authority);
- targeting corruption and its proceeds at all levels (creation of the National Anti-Corruption Alliance which is now subsumed into the Taskforce Sweep;
- promoting informal sector developments through advocacy, awareness, legislative and policy reforms (Informal Sector Development and Control Act 2004) & National Informal Economic Policy 2009;
- long term strategy to combat family and sexual violence, including legislative reforms and services for survivors;
- establishing the National Working Group on Impediments to Business and Investment;
- Security Industry Protection Act 2004, regulating the private sector security industry;
- establishment of the Rural Airstrips Agency (RAA) in partnership with Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF).
Under the leadership of the current Chairman the CIMC has undertaken the following activities:
- had three policy submissions endorsed by Cabinet between 2012 and 2013had two Outcome Reports presented to Parliament for the first time
- undertaken a review to see where CIMC is after 14 years of operation
- undertaken stocktake on the implementation of past CIMC recommendations since 2007
Good governance through the CIMC process
Through the CIMC mechanism, the Government can build and strengthen effective, efficient, transparent, and accountable Government structures ensuring that the greater majority of citizens access Government information and participate through consultation in policymaking.
Such will contribute to good governance fostering greater transparency in policymaking and accountability through direct public scrutiny and oversight. These can then result in the Government making quality policy decisions based on a wider range of information sources resulting in higher levels of implementation and compliance, given greater public awareness of policies and participation in their design.
The CIMC is about
All citizens having equal opportunities and multiple channels to access information, be consulted, and participate. Every reasonable effort should be made to engage with a wide variety of people as much as possible. Strong relation with citizens is a sound investment in better policy-making and a core element of good governance.
Governments have an obligation to inform participants and ensure that the policy-making process is open, transparent, and amenable to external scrutiny to help increase accountability and trust in Government.
Why the CIMC is important to you
The CIMC aims to provide education informally, on public issues to increase society’s capacity to understand issues. The CIMC emphasises sharing of information, skills, and insights. Sharing of information does not just mean Government officers explaining policies, but also learning about other stakeholders’ values, experience, and local knowledge are also important to understand the “bigger picture”. Through your participation in the CIMC process, you can make a contribution to generating alternatives and assess their consequences, and finding possible solutions that are satisfactory for all. The emphasis is on involving citizens, organisations, and business people, who are not normally active in policy-making for the development of the country to join Sectoral Committees and participate in the Forums. Individuals and organisations with concern for the country’s development are encouraged to contact the CIMC Secretariat to raise concerns or lobby for CIMC type entities to be established in the districts and provinces so that effective dialogue on local development needs are attended to at that level.