The need for mediators to handle alternative dispute resolution to resolve conflicts and disputes which can be ongoing and costly through court proceedings has become crucial in PNG.

Such drawn out court proceedings become time consuming and costly, thus hindering the development of individuals, businesses and even the nation on matters of national interest.

With the aim of nation building through mediation, the Basic Mediation Skills training run by a team of national and internationally accredited and acclaimed mediators concluded in August at the Gateway Hotel in Port Moresby.

Retired PNG Judge Kim Wilson, an internationally accredited mediator was at the training to assess the trainees.

The training workshop ran for a week and was attended by private lawyers, National Judiciary Services staff and working professionals including UPNG Law School Dean Professor John Luluaki.

The final session saw an assessment for national accreditation to identify those who have met the requirements to be accredited mediators in the country.

This is the second workshop this year with the first one held for state lawyers only.

Lead international trainers included Craig Jones and Carol Powell, and Jeffery Shepard. PNG coaches included the likes of Judge Ambeng Kandakasi, Senior Magistrates Mark Pupuka and Regina Sagu, Andrew Kuimbari and Maya Peipul.

The national court appointed ‘Alternative Dispute Resolution Committee” chaired by Justice Ambeng Kandakasi, has been a huge help in reducing the backlog of court cases in the country.

Mediation is helping to resolve cases quickly and cheaply. Justice Kandakasi previously stated that “mediation is proving to be an important development and peace-making tool to the people and legal system of Papua New Guinea.”

MRDC General Manager for External Affairs and Sustainable Development Imbi Tagune who attended the training said the workshop was very helpful in his line of work.

“For 25 years I have been in the Oil, Gas and Mining Industry and have been present at many disputes and conflicts with landowners but to be able to use all that I have acquired through experience and use it in a more structured process to resolve conflicts, is a very useful tool in my ‘toolbox of skills,” said Tagune.

He said he had been involved in several ADR’s chaired by Judge Kandakasi and his team as an observer, such as the Gobe landowner dispute, and Fasu leadership dispute resolution.

Mr Tagune was also involved in the first-ever successful ADR in Misima Mine landowners in 2010. Based on his experiences, Tagune believes, mediation is the way forward for PNG, in resolving conflicts. He said it would also make PNG a better and peaceful paradise now and for the future generation.