Monday 20 May 2019 | 16:22 | SYDNEY
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The Pacific Islands Program

A focus on Pacific Islands has been a central component of the Lowy Institute’s work for more than a decade. We research contemporary challenges facing the Pacific islands region in areas including geostrategic competition, sustainable economic development, governance and leadership challenges, poverty alleviation, and Australia’s relationship with Pacific countries and organisations. We also hold major conferences, workshops, dialogues and exchanges. We have produced influential work on Australia’s Regional Assistance Mission to the Solomon Islands, the 2006 Fiji Coup, normalising Australia’s bilateral relationship with Fiji, Australia’s bilateral relationship with Papua New Guinea, the future development challenges of Papua New Guinea, the economic benefits of greater labour mobility between Australia and the South Pacific, security and resilience dynamics in the Pacific, and foreign aid flows in the Pacific.

The Institute manages four major projects focusing on the Pacific:

The Pacific Research Program (PRP) is a consortium partnership between the Lowy Institute and the Australian National University’s Department of Pacific Affairs and Development Policy Centre, with the support of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. The PRP is designed to be a globally pre-eminent centre of excellence for research on the Pacific. More details are available here.

The Lowy Institute Pacific Aid Map is supported by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and is designed to enhance aid effectiveness in the Pacific.

The Australia-PNG Network is a project supported by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, designed to foster people-to-people links between Australia and Papua New Guinea. More details are available here.

The South Pacific Fragile States Project was a project supported by the Department of Defence to produce independent research and forward looking analysis on the key drivers of instability in the South Pacific and the associated security challenges for Australia and the wider region. More details are available here.

THE MAPPING FOREIGN ASSISTANCE IN THE PACIFIC PROJECT

The Lowy Institute Pacific Aid Map is an analytical tool designed to enhance aid effectiveness in the Pacific by improving coordination, alignment, and accountability of foreign aid through enhanced transparency of aid flows. The Pacific Aid Map has collected data on close to 13,000 projects in 14 countries supplied by 62 donors from 2011 onwards. All data has been made freely available on this interactive platform, allowing users to investigate and manipulate the information in a variety of ways. The Pacific Aid Map is supported by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

The Lowy Institute Pacific Aid map is available here.

Country profiles from Pacific Islands countries can be found here.

See the Chinese Aid in the Pacific map here.

 

 

Experts

Latest Publications

Solomon Islands: Was RAMSI worth it?

Tobias Haque and Doug Porter have worked on Solomon Islands for the past several years. The views expressed here are those of the authors and not necessarily those of their employers . Jenny Hayward-Jones' recent paper (Australia's Costly Investment in Solomon Islands) suggests

Elections for the future of New Caledonia

On Sunday 11 May elections were held in New Caledonia. They will have a big impact on the future of the French territory. These were the final elections under the 1998 Noumea Accord. This Accord, building on the 1988 Matignon Accords, put an end to bloodshed over demands for independence. They

Budget 2014: The end of an aid era?

By Jenny Hayward-Jones, Director of the Lowy Institute's Melanesia Program, and Philippa Brant, a Lowy Institute research associate. The Abbott Government last night brought down the first annual aid budget since the integration of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) and AusAID

'Timeless Tuvalu' and the role of migration

'Timeless Tuvalu' is the country's branding to the world, or at least to the trickle of visitors that arrive every year to the tiny country of 10,000 people. It does indeed feel timeless as I walk the stretch of Fongafale (the main island, on which the capital is located). As I meander the streets

Labour mobility key to Pacific future

The issue of labour migration and seasonal work is back on the agenda of Pacific island governments and donor agencies. Pacific population is increasing by 177,100 each year and at the present rate the region's population will double in the next 36 years. Disaggregating those statistics makes the

Solomon Islands flooding and Australian aid

On 5 April, the Solomon Islands was hit by extreme flooding, killing 23 people and leaving an estimated 50,000–60,000 people homeless. Lowy Institute Melanesia experts Jenny Hayward Jones and Tess Newton-Cain got together earlier this week to discuss the impact of Australia's $3 million

Pacific private sector engagement: Where to begin?

Suva, Fiji. A key facet of the Australian Government's aid and development policy for the Pacific island region is enhancing private sector engagement. However, the detail of this policy has yet to be articulated. The role of the private sector in aid and development is the subject of an ongoing

A victory over corruption in PNG

The fight against corruption in PNG reached a milestone last week when the PNG National Court sentenced Paul Tiensten, a former senior minister and current parliamentarian, to nine years imprisonment with hard labour for misappropriating A$4 million of public funds. It was the most severe penalty

Fiji: A flurry of election activity

    It has been standard practice for a while that the interim government of Fiji and its leader, Rear Admiral JV Bainimarama, makes big announcements late in the day or during weekends. Last weekend proved no exception. On Friday, we learned that the first elections to be held in

Tony Abbott in PNG: Knowns and unknowns

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott went to Papua New Guinea last week and stayed for three days. He met with his counterpart, Peter O'Neill, with members of the PNG business community and with emerging leaders, among others. Speeches were made and conversations were held. So, now that the

Deafening silence on rule of law in Nauru

The status of the rule of law in Nauru became even more precarious with the recent resignation of Nauru's Chief Justice, Australian Geoffrey Eames. After two months of seeking to have the withdrawal of his visa by the Nauruan Government overturned, he now says his position is untenable. This week

O'Neill flexes his muscles as Abbott flies in

Tony Abbott flew in to Port Moresby last night for his first prime ministerial visit to Australia's nearest neighbour. Karl Claxton has foreshadowed some of the major themes of the visit over at The Strategist. Despite the range of issues on the agenda and whatever the expected results of the visit

Abbott in PNG: Advice from the younger generation

Tonight, Tony Abbott flies into Port Moresby on his first visit to Papua New Guinea as prime minister. So far his foreign minister, Julie Bishop, has done the heavy lifting in the relationship, building on several visits in opposition with a high profile visit in February. The Abbott Government

International Women's Day: Progress in the Pacific

As tomorrow (8 March) is International Women's Day, let's take a somewhat different look at what's happening in the Pacific. No one is denying that there are significant and sometimes frightening challenges in our region when it comes to the safety of women and girls or the recognition of the

In visa stoush, PNG only hurts itself

Australia is PNG's biggest trading partner. It's our largest recipient of aid and unwanted asylum seekers. To get there, we can catch any of the four or more daily flights that link the two countries. Or at low tide, we can simply walk across the border. But come Saturday, getting there will be a

New Caledonia wrestles with its future

In October, the New Caledonian Committee of Signatories to the Noumea Accord quietly released a document which will have important consequences for Australia and the South Pacific region. At first glimpse, the discussion paper, Reflexions sur l'avenir institutional, would be easy for those

Four Corners tackles PNG corruption

The ABC’s flagship current affairs program, Four Corners, last night investigated corruption in Papua New Guinea. In Preying on Paradise, journalist Marian Wilkinson looked at the extent of corruption in our nearest neighbour. This kind of report is long overdue in Papua New Guinea. A focus

First female foreign minister is a milestone

In the midst of the debate about the gender deficit in the new Abbott cabinet, we risk failing to recognise a milestone for Australia. Australia’s first female governor-general is swearing in Julie Bishop as our first female foreign minister today. As Annabel Crabb argues, Bishop is not a token

Reader riposte: Fiji's politics

John Caldeira writes: Your article on the current Fiji political situation is quite biased and poorly researched. Compared to the racist and corrupt governments of the past, the current government in Fiji has been a godsend. Not perfect. Everyone would like to choose their political leadership by

Pacific forum fights for relevance

The 2013 Pacific Islands Forum starts today and the host, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, wants climate change to be the major focus, naming the theme of the leaders' summit as 'Marshalling the Pacific Response to the Climate Challenge'. As Marshall Islands Senator Tony de Brum explains in

Solomons' gun amnesty: A stunning achievement

Nick Warner, now the Director-General of ASIS, was the first Special Coordinator of the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (2003-2004). This post is drawn from a speech he made in Honiara on 25 July for the 10th anniversary of RAMSI. Nick Warner (right) briefs media in Honiara in

Pacific leadership: PNG gets its chance

Competing claims for leadership of the Pacific Islands region are reinforcing doubts about the efficacy of regional architecture in the lead-up to the Pacific Islands Forum Leaders' summit in Majuro in the Marshall Islands in the first week of September. The Fiji Government hosted the Pacific

The Pacific in the foreign policy debate

It was great to see Australia's relations with Pacific Islands feature in last night's foreign policy debate and particularly pleasing to see this issue raised outside of the inevitable focus on the PNG asylum seeker deal. Overall, I thought Ms Bishop demonstrated greater commitment to enhancing

Befuddled by the PNG solution?

Danielle Romanes is a research assistant in the Myer Foundation Melanesia Program. So are we. Over the last week The Interpreter has hosted a raft of posts on the so-called PNG Solution, with opinions from observers in all corners. Here's a selection from The Interpreter and other places. The

PNG reacts strongly to asylum seeker deal

Martyn Namorong is a multi-award winning writer, blogger and television presenter. His initial reaction to the PNG-Australia asylum seeker agreement appeared on The Interpreter yesterday. From online postings to offline activism, a new generation of protest-hardened Papua New Guineans is making

RAMSI, ten years on

Co-authored by Dr Karl Claxton, an analyst with the Australian Strategic Policy Institute. A decade ago today, lead elements of the 1400 troops, 300 police and officials from the nine Pacific Islands Forum countries initially comprising the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI)

Asylum deal a nightmare for PNG and Australia

Deni ToKunai is a political commentator who writes PNG's leading political blog, The Garamut. In the public commotion and media frenzy of Kevin Rudd's announcement that a new arrangement will see Australian asylum seekers resettled in PNG, one key point has gone largely unnoticed: it was his

Kevin Rudd, you're not a good friend of PNG

Martyn Namorong is a multi-award winning writer, blogger and television presenter. In March 2008, Kevin Rudd made his first official visit to Papua New Guinea to build ties, the first such visit by an Australian prime minister in 11 years. Out of that visit was forged a special affinity and

Rudd's PNG solution will work, but it isn't right

Dr Khalid Koser is a Lowy Institute Non-Resident Fellow and Deputy Director of the Geneva Centre for Security Policy. Prime Minister Rudd's new asylum policy is likely to work. First, he has filled a dangerous political void. Even Mr Abbott appears grudgingly to condone the policy. The Labor

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