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IFC and Papua New Guinea Courts Promote Mediation to Resolve Business Disputes

Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, July 26, 2011 —IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is helping  promote the use of mediation among lawyers and business owners in Papua New Guinea as a means to resolve business disputes quicker, cheaper, and on good terms.
IFC, the National and Supreme Courts of Papua New Guinea, and the National Court-appointed Alternative Dispute Resolution Committee are holding a three-day public workshop at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Port Moresby from July 27 to 29. They will discuss the development of mediation in the country, the legal framework, types of alternative dispute resolution, features of mediation and its benefits, and the training and accreditation process for mediators.
“With the support of IFC and the Papua New Guinea government, the committee has been raising awareness of mediation across the country,” said Justice Ambeng Kandakasi, Chair of the Alternative Dispute Resolution Committee. “Mediation has resulted in substantial savings in legal costs estimated at more than 500 million Papua New Guinea kina—about $224 million—for mediation participants.”
Mediation is a confidential and informal way of resolving disputes between parties.  A mediator works with the parties to help reach a mutually beneficial and lasting solution and to avoid lengthy and costly court proceedings. Parties can agree to go to mediation or the court can order them to participate in mediation.
Since the mediation program started in June 2010, mediation has become an essential component of the Papua New Guinea court process, with more than 100 mediations completed and 16 mediators trained with international accreditation.
“Mediation is a cost-effective and quicker way for businesses to resolve disagreements with each other, with government, with customers, and with landowners,” said Carolyn Blacklock, IFC Country Manager for Papua New Guinea.  “Business disputes held up in courts for years have, in some cases, been resolved with mediation within a week or less, helping business owners get back to doing business.”
IFC partnered with the National Court to help develop the mediation rules, support training of mediators, and deliver public awareness workshops in Mount Hagen, Lae, and Goroka.  IFC’s assistance is supported by the governments of Australia, Japan, and New Zealand.
About IFC
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is the largest global development institution focused exclusively on the private sector. We help developing countries achieve sustainable growth by financing investment, providing advisory services to businesses and governments, and mobilizing capital in the international financial markets. In fiscal 2011, amid economic uncertainty across the globe, we helped our clients create jobs, strengthen environmental performance, and contribute to their local communities—all while driving our investments to an all-time high of nearly $19 billion. For more information, visit www.ifc.org .
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