Pacific Island countries

Sea levels returning to normal in parts of the Pacific

Flooding damaged infrastructure, including American Samoa's main airport, and resorts in the Cook Islands. Some domestic flights were stopped in French Polynesia.

American Samoa declared a state of emergency over the weekend after large swells caused flooding including at the airport.

Nevertheless, a wave alert remains in place in the Cook Islands and could peak at up to 4.5 metres on Wednesday afternoon local time.

MoU to grow agricultural trade between Pacific Island Countries and Australia

Signed 6 October by Australian Chief Plant Protection Officer, Gabrielle Vivian-Smith and DT Global Asia Pacific Managing Director, Frank Maiolo the MoU will strengthen the partnership between the department and DT Global through the Pacific Horticultural and Agricultural Market Access Program (PHAMA Plus) program.

The PHAMA Plus program is funded by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the New Zealand Ministry for Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Report warns food process a recipe for disaster in the Pacific

In the Pacific, it's triggering what the aid organisation is calling a "pandemic of child malnutrition".

Researchers found that food prices have gone up significantly in many Pacific countries, including by nearly a third in Vanuatu.

There is also evidence that one in five Pacific households have been eating cheaper meals, or skipping some altogether, because they can no longer afford a healthy diet.

Pacific countries withdraw from Tokyo 2020 Paralympics

The International Paralympic Committee announced that Samoa, Kiribati, Tonga and Vanuatu will no longer compete at the Games which are due to start on Tuesday 24 August.

Spokesperson for the International Paralympic Committee, Craig Spence, told Inside the Games all four nations were left financially hamstrung by Australia's two-week hotel quarantine rule on international travellers.

Pacific countries press ahead with AstraZeneca rollout

That is despite several European countries and Australia limiting its use because of safety concerns.

In Australia, the Pfizer vaccine is now the preferred option for people under 50, Britain is offering an alternative for those under 30, while France and Belgium recommend AstraZeneca be given to those 55 and over.

European regulators said earlier this month they had found a possible link between AstraZeneca's Covid-19 vaccine and a rare blood clotting problem that led to a small number of deaths.

Jamaica boosts ties with Pacific

The Caribbean nation has signed bilateral partnership agreements with Kiribati, the Marshall Islands, Palau, Samoa, Tonga and Tuvalu.

Cabinet Minister Fayval Williams said the pursuit of diplomatic relations with Pacific countries would cement Jamaica's strategic plans to establish a greater presence in the Pacfic and intensify relations with small island states.

Williams said there was scope for cooperation in multiple areas, including environment, health, disaster resilience, education, agriculture and fisheries.


New Zealand to support Pacific neighbours in accessing Covid-19 vaccines

Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta confirmed $75 million had been earmarked to support Pacific and global vaccine access and roll-out. 

“New Zealand is pursuing a portfolio of potential Covid-19 vaccines to ensure we have flexibility and choice in the fast-moving global marketplace. 

"We want to make sure Pacific countries can also access suitable options, and have the support they need to run successful immunisation campaigns,” she says.

Pacific tourism industry wiped out by Covid-19

Thousands of jobs in countries like Fiji, Samoa and Tonga are dependent on visitor numbers, which have fallen to zero.

Thousands of jobs have already been lost, with resorts and hotels closing in Fiji, the Cook Islands and Samoa, countries where tourism makes up more than half the economy.

And the ILO said with the pain brought by the pandemic expected to be long-lasting, workers with previously stable incomes are sliding into poverty.

Many of these people are also informal workers, with few protections if their jobs fall through.

Pacific nations take aim at NZ tag football organisers

The issue has come to light yet again after concerns were raised at the Tag Football World Cup held in Sydney last year when a Samoan team competing had not been recognised by the Samoan government.

And now American Samoa has taken aim at the New Zealand Tag Federation (NZTFI) organisers with concerns surrounding the use of the name 'American Samoa' in recent events.

Mechanism to track finance

Pacific Island Forum Secretariat (PIFS) Climate Change Finance Advisor, Exsley Taloiburi, said the tracking tool is being tested in two countries with a report to be presented at the 2020 Forum Economic Ministers Meeting (FEMM).