Pacific Islands

Small water projects could be used on larger Pacific islands

The community's water security coordinator David Hebblethwaite conveyed the message to a conference of the Pacific Water and Wastewater Association, currently underway in Apia.

Mr Hebblewthwaite said the success of projects in atoll countries like Tuvalu and Kiribati could be shared with bigger nations.

"Sharing approaches to drought management, to drinking water safety, to ground water management and management of rain water harvesting, we're hoping that can continue broader than just in the atolls and to some of the smaller communities in the larger countries too."

NZ trade negotiator confident of PACER Plus

The deal was signed in June, but three of the region's largest countries - Papua New Guinea, Fiji and Vanuatu - refused to join, saying it would harm their economies and was imbalanced towards Australia and New Zealand.

The negotiator, Tessa Te Mata, said PACER Plus was about building on existing regional trade agreements and adding to the dynamism, economic integration and trade in the region.

She said the countries that refused to join needed to work out how PACER Plus would work for them and what they wanted from it.

More climate scientists urgently needed for Australia, academy says

The academy's assessment, prompted by last year's decision by CSIRO to axe as many as 100 of 140 climate scientists, identified 77 extra research positions that should be created in the next four years.
Australia now has about 419 climate researchers, or less than 1 per cent of the 50,000 in public science. The additional tally includes 15 staff announced by the Turnbull government last year for the CSIRO after a public outcry forced the agency's chief executive Larry Marshall to reverse most of the planned cuts.

Advancing regional climate change finance priorities

The discussions will advance the implementation of the USAID Institutional Strengthening for pacific island countries to Adapt to Climate Change (ISACC) and DFAT/GIZ Climate Finance Readiness in the Pacific (CFRP) projects.

Both projects are implemented jointly, to provide countries with integrated approaches.

The countries gather to share project milestones, challenges and lessons learnt and these experiences will be aligned to peer-to-peer exchanges which will be facilitated and supported by the two regional projects.

NZ boosts anti-money laundering initiatives in Pacific

New Zealand is sending more than $US2.6 million dollars to the Asia-Pacific Group on Money Laundering as part of a five-year plan to crack down on financial crime in the Pacific.

Mr Brownlee said terrorism financing would also be cracked down on as part of the group's efforts.

He said Pacific members would be provided with legislative and technical assistance, including training staff of institutions and law enforcement officials on dealing with financial crime.

New app for coastal fish identification in Pacific launched

The Pacific Community has just released PacFishID, an app which draws on data previously used by fisheries officers, but now opened to a wider digital audience.

The group's Fisheries Information Officer, Aymeric Desurmont, said the coast had been overlooked because of the focus on policing offshore fisheries.

Climate Change and flooding threaten 4.2 million people

In addition to coastal erosion, rising sea levels are expected to negatively impact economic output and employment and could aggravate inflation and cause an increase in government debt, according to the study, A Blue Urban Agenda: Adapting to Climate Change in the Coastal Cities of Caribbean and Pacific Small Island Developing States.

“Caribbean and Pacific coastal cities are on the frontlines of climate change,” said Michael Donovan, Senior Urban Specialist at the IDB, co-author of the study.

Give Pacific democracies time to develop, says McKinnon

Sir Don McKinnon last night delivered the latest in the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association Lecture series at New Zealand's parliament in Wellington.

In his lecture 'Dark Clouds Over Democracy', Sir Don said democracy was facing big challenges but that it still offered a system everyone could participate in.

Stressing that developing democracies in the Pacific should be given time to find their feet, he said developed democracies should not adopt the approach of wielding a big stick.

First ever regional meeting on food security in disaster-prone Pacific Islands

Preparing for and responding to natural disasters as they affect access to food for millions of people in the Pacific Islands, was of the major themes at the meeting.

50 representatives from governments, non-governmental and UN organisations, jointly hosted by Food Security Cluster co-lead Coordinators: the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) and the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP).

The three-day event was designed to foster collaboration, coordination and the sharing of ideas and experiences amongst members.

PACER Plus Pacific trade deal has fishhooks

“New Zealand and Australia are being accused of pushing a trade deal to advance their own commercial interests at the expense of Pacific Islands’ national interests,” Green Party trade spokesperson Barry Coates said.
“The fact that the Pacific’s two biggest economies, Fiji and Papua New Guinea, have opted out is a warning sign that Australia and New Zealand have demanded too many concessions. Their absence from PACER Plus will undermine the existing Pacific Island Countries Trade Agreement (PICTA) and Pacific regionalism.