When Pacific island leaders gathered in Nauru this month, they issued a security declaration affirming climate change as the “single greatest threat” to the region.
That climate change is a threat to Pacific islands is in some ways obvious; indeed the climate change wording in the “Boe
Unfortunately for Papua New Guinea, new cases of polio have been detected since July. Jamie Tahana traces the origins of the pandemic in PNG, and explains how the disease could have been avoided. In Australia, the National party has been pushing for a new agricultural visa,
It’s not all that often the National party – the junior member of the Coalition government – has an obvious influence over Australia’s relations with its neighbours. But a push for a new agricultural visa by the Nationals and supported by the lobby-group National Farmers Federation is
The biggest diplomatic row between Fiji and Vanuatu in modern times was not over climate change, good governance, or Chinese investment in the South Pacific, but biscuits.
Two MSG members are facing independence votes within the next year or so, from opposite sides of the ballot box.
The condemnation of China last week by Nauru’s President Baron Waqa at the Pacific Island Forum leaders’ meeting may have been bolstered by Taiwan’s substantial investment in that tiny Pacific nation of 13,000 people. Nauru is one of six Pacific countries to have diplomatic relations with
The ABC’s Stephen Dziedzic analyses the current tensions of the region that might influence talks at the Pacific Island Forum underway on Nauru. Nauru’s government has limited the movement of journalists covering the summit and placed restrictions on who they can talk to. A
Over the last couple of years Taiwan has been steadily haemorrhaging diplomatic allies. Countries from Africa, Central America and the Caribbean have switched allegiance to Beijing, leaving just 17 countries maintaining formal relations with Taipei. The largest bloc of such countries is in the
After changes of leadership and of government in Canberra, those of us who work on Pacific island issues are usually inclined to be optimistic. We hope that the incoming Australian Prime Minister and Foreign Minister might care more about the Pacific, might be inclined to spend more time in the
In only two months from now, New Caledonia will face an independence referendum. This will bring to an end the Matignon and Noumea Accords, which delivered 30 years of peace after a bloody civil war. France is overseeing preparations.
Australia’s position continues to be simple support for
Preparations are under way for New Caledonia’s historic independence referendum just two months away. Ongoing constructive dialogue and peaceful campaigning have been marred by division and boycotts, and a worrying three-week long blockade over nickel mining by some young Kanaks.
Ahead of next month’s meeting of Pacific Islands Forum leaders in Nauru, the region’s foreign ministers met recently in Apia, Samoa. The Forum Foreign Ministers’ Meeting is one of two standing ministerial meetings in the region (the other is the Forum Economic Ministers’ Meeting). The 2018
Remember when Australia used to refer to its near neighbours in the region as the “arc of instability”? The leadership shenanigans on Tuesday will have given the BBC’s former Australia correspondent Nick Bryant an opportunity to update his description of Canberra as the “coup capital of the
Speculation about the future of the Panguna copper mine in Papua New Guinea’s autonomous region of Bougainville, which ignited a decade long civil war in the 1990s, peaked late last year when an application for exploration by former Rio Tinto subsidiary, Bougainville Copper Ltd (BCL), was put to a
The image of Pacific Islands as a benign utopia – an exotic paradise of green palms, sandy beaches and smiling locals – is a lingering vestige of the first colonial era contact with Europeans. The same clichéd themes can be seen in modern day advertising campaigns to encourage
The recent release of the Lowy Institute’s Pacific Aid Map has relieved some “strategic anxiety” around China’s growing influence in the Pacific islands. Beijing committed only 8% of total aid to the region between 2011 and 2018.
If we want to live in a more peaceful world,
Sometimes we in developed nations fail to grasp that not everything we do, no matter how well intentioned, is entirely welcomed in developing countries.
Often they’re just too polite to tell us.
Once on a flight to a Pacific island nation, I was seated next to an NGO worker who
In 2015 the Lowy Institute released the Chinese Aid in the Pacific Map, authored by Philippa Brant and updated in 2016 by Danielle Cave. The map, the first of its kind in the Pacific, continues to draw attention for highlighting the breadth and significance of China’s engagement in the
On Thursday, the Lowy Institute will launch its Pacific Aid Map, 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. Stay tuned to the Lowy Institute website.&
In January, as Nauru celebrated 50 years of independence, President Baron Waqa announced that his country would cease to use the High Court of Australia as its highest appellate court. What wasn’t apparent until March was that Nauru had withdrawn from the bilateral treaty
On 1 August, the Knowledgeable Innovators and Worthy Investors Act, or the improbably named Kiwi Act, having passed both the US House of Representatives the Senate, and signed by the president, became law.
The Kiwi Act extends to New Zealanders the ability to enter the US
“Being in the Pacific, of the Pacific” was an aspiration announced by New Zealand’s Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Foreign Affairs Fletcher Tabuteau at a recent conference in Wellington. New Zealand’s Pacific identity has been a continuing theme of the Pacific reset policy&
One of Jacinda Ardern’s early prime ministerial tasks was to head off some potentially bad optics in New Zealand’s most important bilateral relationship. After all, she was leading just the sort of government that Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop had said would be difficult to work with
An article in Science details the crusade of Spanish doctor Oriol Mitjà, whose work on the Papua New Guinea island of Lihir has kick-started a 60-year-old global campaign to eradicate the tropical disease Yaws. ABC journalist Eric Tlozek’s posting in PNG is coming to
The news of pulse polio resurfacing in Papua New Guinea has created new challenges for a public healthcare system already confronting many related health problems. Polio virus is a potentially deadly disease that can spread through communities, causing paralysis and disability, mostly among
Chinese President Xi Jinping has offered to host a meeting with Pacific leaders in Papua New Guinea ahead of the APEC leaders summit in November. The invitation comes amid extensive discussion in Australia regarding China’s growing influence in the Pacific. Nauru announced last week that it
Canberra will be pleased and relieved that New Zealand has opted to buy Boeing’s P-8A aircraft, in order to meet its future requirements for maritime aerial intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, and response. The P-8A, already operated by the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF), will replace
Speaking of “decolonisation” conjures memories of the 1950s and the wave of new nations that emerged, particularly in Africa, as European colonialism gave way to calls for emancipation in the post-1945 new world order.
In contrast to the heady unrest which preceded the first referendum in 1987
Anyone reading the media coverage of New Zealand’s defence policy statement might conclude its purpose was to lay out a stronger position on China. That would be a mistake. Its central purpose is to put defence policy into language that can be owned by the new coalition
He fainted on me. Big bloke, my local guide on Nauru, who in the sunbaked heat took me Topside on the island to steal a look at the refugee camp among the scraggy rocks known as the pinnacles. And down he went.
Nauru was happy for reporters to visit the country then. In 2013, I was one of the last
Riots and unrest in the Papua New Guinea Highlands this week have led to a 9-month state of emergency being declared, and more than 400 PNG Defence Force troops being sent to the area. In the past week, protestors – angered by a failed court challenge to last year’s election results
A post-disaster assessment report published by CARE has found extensive and continuing need for humanitarian assistance in three earthquake-affected communities of Papua New Guinea. The report identifies shelter as the top priority, followed by health care and WaSH (Water, Sanitation, and
Debate arose in Papua New Guinea last week over comments made by Communications Minister Sam Basil about the possible imposition of a month-long ban on Facebook. This partial internet shutdown, according to Basil, would allow the government to conduct research on the use of anonymous
Barely a month since the carefully choreographed visit by French President Emmanuel Macron to New Caledonia, positions have hardened as parties prepare for the 4 November 2018 independence referendum. Small hard-line pro-French parties with their eyes on the May 2019 local elections are
Last week, the Fiji High Court handed down a not-guilty verdict in the case of four men, including three Fiji Times executives, charged with sedition over a letter that appeared in the Fiji Times–published indigenous language publication Nai Lalakai in 2016. The Fiji Times is one of the
The decision by a Fiji court last week to acquit four people charged with sedition is a welcome step in the current regional debate over media rights and responsibilities.
The Fijian-language paper Nai Lalakai, part of the Fiji Times group, published a letter by Josaia Waqabaca in
Earlier this month, French President Emmanuel Macron spent 36 hours in Australia before a three-day visit to the French territory of New Caledonia. While in Sydney, Macron signed several agreements with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull aimed at establishing closer ties in
It is not clear when the big-man politics in Papua New Guinea’s foreign policy began. It was likely during the prime ministership of Sir Michael Somare, in the early 2000s, when he pushed for PNG to be an aid donor to the region.
At the time, and to this day, PNG continues to be Australia’s
Australia and Papua New Guinea are downplaying concern about a Russian Navy ship docking in Port Moresby for three days this week. It will be the first time in history that a Russian military ship has made a port call in PNG. In The Australian, the Lowy Institute’s Euan
In March, Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Peter O’Neill declared his intention to return to a first-past-the-post (FPP) electoral system. He said his government would introduce legislation to replace the limited preferential voting (LPV) system that had been in place for three general elections,
On World Press Freedom Day (3 May) many media reports highlighted the state of the media in the Pacific. At The Daily Post, Dan McGarry called for an end to the persecution of the Fiji Times. The newspaper, its publisher, two editors, and a letter writer are on trial over an allegedly seditious
French President Emmanuel Macron’s visit to Australia was a frank success, although some observers were puzzled after he raised the idea of a “Paris–New Delhi–Canberra” diamond within an Indo-Pacific axis.
Yet this proposal is clarified by French national objectives
In Wellington earlier this year, Cook Islands Prime Minister Henry Puna took the opportunity to signal the benefits of the Pacific’s traditional development partners collaborating with China. Puna described the Pacific as a region of consensus rather than of competition, and said it
Jo Chandler examines the complex natural resources saga in Papua New Guinea in The Monthly, as fallout from the February earthquake continues. A controversial report from Australian NGO Jubilee Australia has also questioned the economic benefit of PNG’s largest natural resource project.
What might be called the UK’s “Pacific pivot”, an announcement to boost diplomatic representation among the island nations, is an intriguing development for the region. Analysts have been quick to describe the potential benefits. Cleo Paskal went so far on The