• Offered by Department of Pacific Affairs
  • ANU College ANU College of Asia and the Pacific
  • Course subject Pacific Studies
  • Areas of interest Pacific Studies, Asia Pacific Studies
  • Academic career PGRD
  • Mode of delivery Online or In Person

This course aims to develop conceptual and applied knowledge of governance and service delivery challenges in Melanesia. By examining existing and emerging trends in the region, particularly in Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Bougainville, this course considers contemporary policy debates involved in the politics of governance reform, decentralisation and its associated implications for development. Specifically, the course considers the role of Constituency Development Funds (CDFs) in providing local-level development and service delivery to communities in Melanesia.


This course complements PASI8301 How Papua New Guinea Works. It introduces students to scholarly discourse on a range of topics incorporating insights from comparative politics, public administration and development studies to engage with debates on decentralisation, government service delivery and the emergence of CDFs in the Melanesian context. Case studies of applied policy relevant research conducted in Melanesian countries are explored.

Topics covered under the course:

  • The role of the state and concepts of governance
  • Decentralisation and the post-colonial Melanesian state
  • Long standing challenges of government service delivery
  • The emergence of Constituency Development Funds (CDFs)
  • The politics of governance reforms
  • Policy and programming challenges in supporting governance

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

  1. Demonstrate an understanding of the contextual factors behind governance reforms in Melanesia, including reasons for their successes and ongoing challenges.
  2. Critically reflect on and engage in an in-depth analysis of key policy reform initiatives relevant to the Melanesian context.
  3. Demonstrate an appreciation of the challenges faced by key political actors, public servants and development partners in Melanesia

Indicative Assessment

  1. Concept review (1,000 words) and in-class briefing (40) [LO 3]
  2. Written case study (2,000 words) (60) [LO 1,2]

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Contact hours: 12 hours, either face-to-face on campus, or in online video calls through a platform such as Zoom. The course would usually consist of four half-day sessions.

Individual study of approximately 50-60 hours.


Inherent Requirements

Not applicable

Prescribed Texts

None required

Preliminary Reading

1.    Allen, M. and Hasnain, Z. 2010. ‘Power, pork and patronage: Decentralisation and the politicisation of the development budget in Papua New Guinea.’ Commonwealth Journal of Local Governance 6: 7-31.

2.    Axline, W.A. 2008. The review of intergovernmental financing arrangements and the restructure of decentralised government in PNG. Paper Prepared for Presentation at the Workshop Reforming Decentralisation and Sub-National Fiscal Policy in Papua New Guinea. Port Moresby: Institute for National Affairs.

3.    Batley, R. 2004. The politics of service delivery reform. Development and Change 35(1): 31–56.

4.    Baskin, M. 2014. Are Constituency Development Funds a Policy Tool? In M. Baskin and M.L. Mezey (eds). Distributive Politics in Developing Countries: Almost Pork. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 1–27

5.    Cheema, G.S. and Rondinelli, D.A. 2007. ‘From Government Decentralization to Decentralized Governance’ In G.S Cheema and D.A. Rondinelli (eds) Decentralizing governance: Emerging concepts and practices. Washington DC: Brookings Institution Press.

6.    Channa, A. and Faguet, J.P. 2016. Decentralization of health and education in developing countries: a quality-adjusted review of the empirical literature. The World Bank Research Observer 31 (1): 1–43.

7.    CPA (Commonwealth Parliamentary Association) 2016. Handbook on Constituency Development Funds (CDFs): Principles and Tools for Parliamentarians. London: CPA.

8.    Fraenkel, J. 2011. The Atrophied State: A Supply-Side Perspective on Politician ‘Slush Funds’ in Western Melanesia. In R. Duncan (ed.). The Political Economy of Economic Reform in the Pacific. Mandaluyong City, Philippines: Asian Development Bank.

9.    Hou, Rick. 2016. A Day in the Life of a Member of Parliament in Solomon Islands. State, Society and Governance in Melanesia Discussion Paper 2016/2. Canberra: Australian National University.

10. Kalinoe, L. 2009. Review of the implementation of the OLPG & LLG on service delivery arrangemen


Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.  

Commonwealth Support (CSP) Students
If you have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). More information about your student contribution amount for each course at Fees

Student Contribution Band:
Unit value:
3 units

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3.00 0.06250
Domestic fee paying students
Year Fee
2024 $2220
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2024 $3180
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

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