Pacific

China to create fund to help Pacific Island countries defeat COVID-19

Wang made the remarks at the first China-Pacific Island Countries Foreign Ministers' Meeting in Beijing via video link.

He said the bilateral relationship between China and the Pacific Island countries has shown a good development momentum, and the comprehensive strategic partnership has continued to deepen.

Relations between the two sides are based on mutual respect and equity, Wang said.

Double dip La Nina forecast for Pacific summer

La Niña is the phenomenon where the trade winds become stronger, warming waters in the Western Pacific and causing the sea surface temperatures in the Central and Eastern Pacific to cool.

These conditions can mean cooler and above normal rainfall in the west compared to the eastern Pacific.

Climate models and prediction tools used by Pacific National Meteorological and Hydrological services (NMHSs) show this phenomenon is likely this summer.

Child stunting from malnutrition could increase in Pacific in wake of Covid, experts warn

The loss of work and skyrocketing food prices, brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic, could lead to an increase in child stunting in the Pacific, experts have warned.

A new report from World Vision, released today, found that 60% of people in Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu, Solomon Islands and Timor-Leste having lost their job or main source of income due to the pandemic and that this had had a serious impact on the health of children.

Aust To Keep Making AstraZeneca Doses

Australian Health Minister, Greg Hunt on Thursday rejected reports CSL would stop producing the vaccine in Melbourne this year, as coronavirus cases reached a new national daily record.

“CSL and AstraZeneca are on track to complete the full 50 million-dose production run in Australia and the 3.8 million supply from overseas,” he told reporters.

“Our expectation and our plan is that that program will be completed in full. All of those extra doses are being supplied to the region.”

Cocaine, geography and COVID-19, drug trafficking in the Pacific

In July, an estimated 14kgs of cocaine washed up on beaches in Vava'u.

Tongan police seized the haul and an ongoing investigation has seen 21 people charged so far including three foreigners.

At the end of August, Acting Deputy Commissioner of Tonga Police Halatoa Taufa told Matangi Tonga the recent arrests included a 49-year-old man and his 23-year-old wife from Ta'anea, Vava'u on August 23.

The couple are in police custody charged with engaging with others in the supply of illicit drugs.

Pacific farmers look to control deadly coconut rhinoceros beetle infestations

The strain has spread to seven Pacific Island countries in just a decade leaving thousands of dead palms in its wake. The Guam strain, together with much more established biotype CRB-S has hampered the success of renovation programmes for mature tall palms as well as newly emergent, high-value coconut product industries (such as virgin oil and coconut water) that offer economic opportunities for communities in the region.

Sending money home to the Pacific more often

In July 2021, ANZ customers in Australia and New Zealand sent 11,668 International Money Transfers to family and friends in the Pacific, worth AUD$ $13.1m (US$9.6 million), a 21 percent increase in volume when compared to the same period last year.

“In the Pacific, international money transfers - also known as remittances - are about more than money: they are about family, safety, culture, and community,” ANZ Regional Executive, Pacific, Tessa Price said.

FAO calls for renewed digital push in Small Island Developing States

The goals in particular are SDG 1 (No poverty), SDG 2 (No hunger) and SDG 10 (Reduced inequalities).

Qu spoke at the two-day virtual SIDS Solutions Forum (30-31 August), co-hosted by FAO and the Government of Fiji. Heads of State and Government from nine Pacific Island countries attended or were represented at the high-level event, as well as government ministers holding key portfolios related to agriculture, food, nutrition, environment, health, and information and communications technology. African and Caribbean nations were also represented.

Australia says it's given 2.1 million vaccines doses to the region

The Minister for International Development and the Pacific Zed Seselja told parliament this was one of the reasons why assistance to the Pacific remains critical.

He said on pandemic response, Australia had fronted up with COVID-19 vaccines.

"We have now gifted over 2.1 million life-saving vaccines to our neighbourhood. Because until everyone is safe from COVID, nobody is safe.

"And similarly, hundreds of thousands of Australian jobs depend on strong economic growth across our region."

ANZ extends fee waiver for money transfers to Pacific

Latest figures show the value and volume of transfers made by ANZ customers to the Pacific has increased substantially on the same period last year.

In February 2021 ANZ Australia and New Zealand customers sent a combined volume of 8,761 International Money Transfers worth AUD$12m (US$9.2 million) – a 95 percent increase in volume and 33 percent increase in value compared with the same period last year.

Money sent back to the Pacific from overseas, known as remittances, can make up a large part of a Pacific household's disposable income - up to 25 percent.