Pacific

UN agencies tell Pacific to vaccinate against measles

They said this should to happen before travelling internationally, attending major events or community gatherings.

Vaccination provided the best protection against measles and parents should get their children immunised, the agencies said.

In October, Samoa and Tonga both declared measles outbreaks.

Both UNICEF and the WHO said they were continuing to provide resources to Pacific states to respond to the measles threat.

     

Researchers to look at Pacific genetic link to gout, diabetes

Both diseases and other metabolic disorders are rife in the Pacific.

A team of researchers from the University of Otago has been granted the money by New Zealand's Marsden Fund Council.

One of the principal researchers, Anna Gosling, said through the work Professor Tony Merriman has already done with Maori and Pasifika in New Zealand, they thought there was a genetic link.

Throughout the Pacific, where there are high rates of these diseases, people had a shared ancestry, Dr Gosling said.

Up to 12 Pacific cyclones expected this season - forecasters

Working with New Zealand's MetService and meterological services in the island nations, the team said there would be elevated activity in the latter part of the season, from February.

Nine to 12 named tropical cyclones could occur in the Southwest Pacific basin between November and April, with the risk highest in Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, Samoa, American Samoa, Tonga, Niue, the southern Cook Islands, and the Austral Islands, they said.

Four severe cyclones reaching category 3 or higher might occur anywhere across the region.

     

Australia eases kava restrictions

The announcement of a kava pilot programme was made as Australia's prime minister, Scott Morrison, visited Fiji on Friday.

Mr Morrison said the amount of kava that can be imported for personal consumption will be doubled from two to four kilograms by the end of the year.

A pilot programme for commercial kava imports will also be implemented by the end of 2020.

 

     

Workshop on Maritime Security in the Pacific

"Good maritime and port security is the enabler for maritime and economic development through maritime trade. It can be taken for granted when it works, but maintaining good security is essential," said the UN body.

The workshop coincided with IMO Secretary General Kitack Lim's visit to Vanuatu, Fiji and Australia - the first time an IMO Secretary General visited the South Pacific.

Pacific insurers see SME and group business as a way forward for growth

However, a lack of insurance awareness amongst business owners, and the condition of some businesses (insurability) are hampering the speed at which insurance take up is happening amongst this market segment.

The majority of the respondents from 12 of the leading insurance providers in the region recently surveyed by the Pacific Financial Inclusion Programme (PFIP) say that while SME’s make up a very important part of Pacific economies, insurance providers are still working out how to best capitalise on the opportunity that SMEs present.

NZ RSE scheme boosting employment in the regions

Business expansion has boosted employment in regional areas, with RSE employers hiring more New Zealanders from the local community, including through Work and Income NZ.

Immigration New Zealand (INZ) Pacifica Labour and Skills Manager, George Rarere says the 2019 survey highlights the positive impact of RSE workers on businesses and the local community.

“A stable seasonal workforce has meant more employers have been able to grow their business operations and put more investment into plant equipment and offer job opportunities to locals,” Mr Rarere says.

Indonesia's Pacific trade show kicks off in New Zealand

Dozens of government and private sector representatives from the Pacific are in Auckland for the Pacific Exposition this week.

On Friday, the foreign ministers of Indonesia, New Zealand and Australia will hold talks, where human rights issues in West Papua are expected to be raised.

Indonesia's ambassador to New Zealand, Samoa and Tonga, Tantowi Yahya, said he hopes to bring economic benefit to the Pacific through trade and tourism.

World Bank to prioritise climate change resilience in Pacific

Its vice president for East Asia and the Pacific, Victoria Kwakwa, was in Tonga last week for talks.

Ms Kwakwa said the World Bank was working closely within Australia's Step Up and New Zealand's Pacific Reset programmes.

"We've been working on several things including supporting countries to strengthen their climate change resilience, working to support policy reforms to build their economic resilience and we're also working together on the connectivity agenda," Ms Kwakwa said.

"As you know, this region is very remote, even compared to other small island states."

Rate of child sexual exploitation in Pacific 'appalling'

The survey by the child protection agency ECPAT International shows perpetrators are most likely to be family members or a close family friend.

It was a small study but showed children were being abused for profit at an appalling rate, according to the director of ECPAT International New Zealand, Eleanor Parkes.

"We saw again and again in this research that more often it's not a "stranger-danger" situation.

"More often it is coming from someone that is known to the child so a family member or a close family friend," she said.