Pacific

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.

Regional Tourism Sector achieves 3.16 million visitor arrivals in 2018

Of this, air arrivals were 2.14 million in 2018, 1.6% above 2017 while sea arrivals, mainly cruise (day visitors) were 1.02 million,” said SPTO Chief Executive Officer, Chris Cocker.

These figures were released by the South Pacific Tourism Organisation in its 2018 Annual Visitor Arrivals Report.

The Report also noted that Pacific tourism receipts or visitor spending in destinations contributed US$3.8 billion or 11.1% to the region’s GDP and generated 131,010 jobs placing the tourism sector as a key driver of economic growth and employment creation for the Pacific Islands.

Australia extends help to Pacific on maritime zones

Foreign Minister Marise Payne said through its Office of the Pacific, the Australian government has established a dedicated Pacific maritime boundaries section to work closely with Pacific nations and help them secure their rights and entitlements stemming from maritime zones.

She said Canberra is providing additional funding of $US2.4 million to the Pacific Community for addressing the risks to maritime boundaries from sea-level rise, and other climate change related impacts.

Ms Payne said Australia has now spent a total of $US5.9 million on Pacific maritime boundaries.

SPTO reports more visitors in Pacific in 2018

The organisation released its inaugural Pacific Tourism Forecast this week which showed about 40,000 more visitors arrived in the region last year - 38,941 more than 2017.

It attributed the growth to a positive global tourism trend, regional and national tourism marketing, improved connectivity and infrastructure development.

The organisation said it expects tourist numbers will grow by 3.3 percent in 2019 and each year until 2024.

     

Call for bold move by Australia to improve Pacific relationship

But observers said no substantial change is expected for Australia's engagement in the region after the Coalition's surprise win at the weekend.

Shane McLeod of the Australian think-tank, the Lowy Institute, said Australia's so-called Pacific step up, a suite of policies and funding initiatives brought in in 2017, will likely continue.

But he said with losses on the hard right, there may be more room for the government to manoeuvre on climate change.

Pacific not immune to armed conflict

Speaking at the 2nd Pacific Islands Roundtable on International Humanitarian Law (IHL) in Apia Tuesday, Arrigoni told delegates even though there are currently no armed conflicts in the Pacific region, the Bougainville conflict constituted a non-international armed conflict. 

ADB offers support for Pacific renewable power projects

The support includes loans, guarantees, and letters of credit aimed to overcome constraints to private sector investment in the renewables sector.

The ADB says the Pacific Renewable Energy Programme will support an estimated 5 separate renewable energy projects in its Pacific developing member countries over a 5 year period.

"The program will help to build urgently needed capacity for energy sector expansion and private sector interest in clean energy projects in the region," said the Director General of the ADB's Pacific Department Carmela Locsin

European FAO candidate promising Pacific focus

Catherine Geslain-Lanéelle is up against five other candidates to head the office.

Ms Geslain-Lanéelle said the Pacific had little representation within the organisation, which needs to change as the challenges the region faces are immense.

"And this region is very much affected by climate change. We still have countries where have hunger, we have malnutrition and where we have food waste and loss. So this is important to address all of these challenges."