Pacific

China lobbying Pacific nations over Taiwan issue

The Pacific is Taiwan's last bastion of diplomatic support, with six nations in the region - Solomon Islands, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Tuvalu and Palau - recognizing Taipei rather than Beijing.

Taiwan donates large amounts of aid to these countries, and works hard to cultivate relationships with their political leaders.

But China is intent on prising off Taiwan's remaining allies around the globe.

The ABC reports Pacific officials lobbied by China asked not to be identified because they did not want to damage diplomatic ties with Beijing.

Pacific tuna fishery on track to return US$1 billion

The community's director general, Dr Colin Tukuitonga, said the Parties to the Nauru Agreement, or PNA, and the Forum Fisheries Agency are increasing returns to their member states.

The PNA controls the world's largest, sustainable tuna purse seine fishery which is valued at US$6 billion annually.

Dr Tukuitonga says it returned $US60 million to the region in 2010 which increased to US$500 million in 2017.

NRL teams to play trial matches in Pacific nations

The announcement, made by Prime Minister Scott Morrison in Suva on Friday morning, will see at least two NRL Telstra Premiership teams play an official trial fixture within the region in 2020, 2021 and 2022.

Players and coaches will be in-country for a number of days prior to each of the fixtures to prepare and train, as well as participate in NRL and Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) programs targeted towards promoting social inclusion, participation, equality and health and wellbeing.

NZ ups its diplomatic presence in Pacific

The reset aims for a heightened focus on the Pacific and today's announcement will see 14 new diplomatic and development positions created offshore.

Mr Peters said the new posts would be in Samoa, Tonga, Fiji, Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Kiribati, and Honolulu.

In addition four new diplomats will be placed in Tokyo, Beijing, Brussels, and New York, "to co-ordinate development policy and partnerships for the Pacific region".

Threat to Pacific from climate change more severe - US report

The 4th US National Climate Assessment, released at the weekend, is the federally sanctioned work of about 300 academics and experts on the threat posed by climate change.

The assessment devotes a chapter to the US Pacific.

Zena Grecni, is the Project Specialist for the Pacific Islands Regional Climate Assessment based at Honolulu's East-West Center.

She said in the four years since the last report, threats from climate change had increased substantially.

Australia to increase military and police cooperation in Pacific

On Thursday, Prime Minister Scott Morrison unveiled a new foreign policy strategy for the Pacific region, including increased military cooperation.

But Defence Minister Christopher Pyne told Fairfax Media this strategy also includes a new vessel to operate semi-permanently in the south west Pacific.

He said the ship could assist with preparation for and response to natural disasters and other resilience support.

Australia will also strengthen its links with police forces in the Pacific.

Australia lifting Pacific work scheme numbers

The assistant minister for international development and the Pacific, Anne Ruston, said under Australia's pledge to step up its relationship with Pacific nations it recognised that labour mobility was a key issue for them.

This was reflected in the 40 percent annual growth of the seasonal worker scheme, while a new Pacific labour scheme would also bring in 2000 workers over the next year, she said.

Mobile tests for HIV and syphilis rolled out in Pacific

Thirty-thousand kits have been distributed in 11 countries, replacing the need for people to travel long distances to testing facilities.

The UNDP's Anna Chernyshova said the rapid diagnostic kits had also revolutionised the process of testing people in remote areas.

"Especially at the outer islands this procedure was really complicated because they had to send a nurse with all the equipment and she had to collect the blood from the people and then carry it back to the laboratory in the central hospital in one of the other islands," Ms Chernyshova said.

Forecasters predict dry spells for parts of the Pacific

They are New Caledonia, northern Vanuatu, Tuvalu, Tokelau, the northern Cook Islands and the Marquesas.

The forecasters said above normal rainfall for Solomon Islands was also expected.

They also said there was a significant chance of an El Nino weather system developing over the next few months.

El Nino means a warming of the tropical ocean which can lead to more intense storms.

 

 

Photo file UNDP. Caption: Drought in Marshall Islands 

$US2m boost for human rights work in Pacific

One of the aims of the Pacific Commonwealth Equality Project is to support MPs and community leaders champion human rights in their communities.

The project will receive about $US2 million in funding over two years from the UK government's Commonwealth Fund.

Senior human rights advisor for the Pacific Community Jayshree Mangubhai said she was confident the work would help create meaningful social change.