Pacific Islands

Pacific leadership focused on improving lives of islanders

Gerry Brownlee made this comment after attending the Pacific Islands Forum leaders summit in Apia, where he was standing in for New Zealand's prime minister Bill English.

He told RNZ that the Pacific Islands' leadership is well focused on interacting with other countries to improve living standards for their own people.

Virtual climate centre to improve long-term forecasts

The online centre will be run by the Pacific Meteorological Council, which says a regional perspective will enhance the prediction of long term weather patterns that can cause droughts and cyclones.

The council's chair Andrew Tait said the centre would enable countries to share weather data and improve long-term forecasts.

Tozaka calls for extra efforts ahead of Post-Cotonou negotiations

The Cotonou Partnership Agreement provides the base for the EU – ACP Partnership, and was signed in June 2000 at Cotonou, Benin.

However, the agreement will expire in 2020, with a successor partnership agreement expected to take its place after its expiry.

The EU-ACP Partnership has contributed to a number of developmental programs amongst its ACP partners.  Ranging from Development Financing, to Trade Agreements like the EPAs, Climate Change Programs, as well as, the European Development Fund programs (EDF). 

Australian senate rejects bill to restore ABC shortwave

The bill would have required the ABC to restore its shortwave transmission services which the broadcaster ended in January this year.

This move was described in the bill as having deprived communities in Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and other parts of the Pacific of access to reliable emergency broadcasting.

Submitters of the bill questioned the ABC's assertions that very few listeners accessed Radio Australia's shortwave service.

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.