By Euan Moyle, an intern with the Lowy Institute’s Pacific Islands Program.
- New Caledonia’s Congress has approved 4 November as the official date of the territory’s independence referendum. Denise Fisher, in The Strategist, explains the tensions between pro- and anti-independence blocs and concerns surrounding the eligibility requirements of voters.
- The death toll from last month’s earthquake in Papua New Guinea has risen to 145, as fears grow that malnutrition and disease resulting from polluted water sources will become rampant.
- Catherine Graue investigates how updating and enforcing building codes and learning from other earthquake-prone countries could help quake-proof urban areas in PNG.
- Vanuatu’s Deputy Prime Minister Joe Natuman has been given a two-year suspended sentence after pleading guilty to conspiring to pervert the course of justice. ABC’s Pacific Beat spoke with Dan McGarry from the Vanuatu Daily Post on the political implications of the sentence. Natuman is refusing to step down from his position.
- On the Devpolicy blog, Matthew Dornan reflects on the benefits – and problems – of the large number of ni-Vanuatu participating in Australian and New Zealand seasonal worker programs, following Vanuatu’s first labour mobility summit earlier this month.
- Solomon Islands and Kiribati are expected to “graduate” from being classified as Least Developed Countries, joining only five other countries that have graduated in the past 47 years.