An example of MDF support to inclusive sustainable development planning in Rigo District in Papua New Guinea.

On 30 July 2018 The District Administration of Rigo District in Papua New Guinea launched its Five Year Development Plan for the period 2018 - 2022. Mr. Koen Toonen, Sr. Trainer/Consultant and Branch Director of the MDF Asia Vietnam regional branch office, visited Rigo District extensively during the final months of 2017, and jointly with UNDP and the District staff formulated a plan, that was discussed and finalized jointly with the Government and UNDP in Papua New Guinea.

The plan, launched in presence of Prime Minister Peter O’Neill and National Planning minister, Richard Maru, reflects revised rural development planning processes, which now also include funds for bottom up community development projects and budget allocations. The launch was a great success and the Minister for National Planning said this was the best plan yet, setting a model template for all to follow. The plan enables the Rigo District to access 10 million Kina per year for community development from the national budget allocations, while the District will endeavour to contribute to deliver on their share and contributions to the realisation of the Sustainable Development Goals.

MDF as a worldwide training and consulting company is eager to contribute to the realisation of the Sustainable Development Goals. These goals were adopted in New York in September 2015 and are now the guiding principles for integrated, holistic, sustainable development. Much has been said and written about these goals, 17 in total, setting 169 global targets to be achieved. Beautiful in rhetoric, but how does one even start to go about reaching these goals, when the global context shows evidence of a changing development cooperation landscape? 

UNDP Papua New Guinea requested Koen Toonen, to assist with a review of 4 communities in Papua New Guinea that have received project support under the Millennium Development Acceleration Fund. Mr. Toonen conducted this review through using a combination of data collection tools: a SWOT Analysis, Focus Group Discussions, Key Informant Interviews and stories collection through the Most Significant Change methodology.

On the basis of this review his task was to write a good practice document and a manual for inclusive, holistic, bottom up rural development planning. This document, published by the UNDP, highlights the relevance of ownership, inclusion and participation at the village and grassroots level and highlights 5 steps of generating community level ownership and participation.

Inspired by this publication, the District Development Authority and District Administration in Rigo District in Papua New Guinea, undertook to revise its planning and budgeting processes, and ensure that approximately 25% of its allocated funding would be made available for bottom up, holistic development planning with communities in the lead, and ensuring that marginalised groups, women, youth and children are included in the planning processes.

Consequently, the Rigo District Administration requested UNDP and Mr. Toonen for further support with drafting the Rigo Five Year Development Plan 2018 - 2022, in which the Government of Papua New Guinea envisages Rigo District to become a food production hub for the region, while placing the sustainable development goals, climate smart agriculture and green economic growth at the heart of its development strategy.

Koen W. Toonen has extensive experience with rural development, rural governance and strategy development. He is using his extensive expertise with the UN system to advocate, plan and support the realisation of the SDGs. While doing so, he fosters and strengthens partnerships for the delivery on these goals, and provides advice on monitoring systems and indicator frameworks at national, provincial and sub-national level. For more information kindly contact us at or


Further information about the launch of the Five Year Development Plan 2018-2022 for Rigo District in Papua New Guinea can be found in the links below.




The National: