Published daily by the Lowy Institute

Pacific links: Forum fallout, PNG’s reshuffle plus new Nauru President

Australia stumbles on the step up, plus links and stories from the Pacific islands region.

Tuvalu for the Pacific Islands Forum (Photo: Pacific Island Forum Secretariat)
Tuvalu for the Pacific Islands Forum (Photo: Pacific Island Forum Secretariat)

  • The government of Papua New Guinea has been reshuffled. Ian Ling-Stuckey was sworn in as Treasurer, replacing Sam Basil, who took the lead position at National Planning. It looks like the change is aimed at forcing the party of former PM Peter O’Neill out of government.
  • The reshuffle came after PNG-Australia ministerial talks were held in Port Moresby, where budget and debt were the main focus of the discussion. Before the meeting, PNG Prime Minister James Marape admitted he would accept debt assistance from any partner that offers the best terms.
  • Before its national election, the government of Nauru had been accused of handing out citizenships in order to boost its voter numbers. Here is a neat summary of the elections in context. Yesterday the tiny island nation elected its new President, Lionel Aingimea, who won the vote for presidency 12 votes to six against former finance minister David Adeang.
Funafuti prepares for the Pacific leaders to arrive (Photo: ForumSEC/Twitter)
  • Melissa Clarke examines the unfortunate outcome of the Pacific Islands Forum for Tuvaluan and Australian Prime Ministers. Vanuatu’s Minister for Foreign Affairs Ralph Regenvanu also wrote an op-ed asking Australia to commit to more action before the next Forum. But despite Australia's opposition to a reference to coal in the outcome, the secretary general of the Pacific Islands Forum Dame Meg Taylor says she is “very positive” about the outcome of the recent leaders’ summit in Tuvalu.
  • At the Forum, the British delegation assured the members that “the UK is more committed to this region and addressing climate change than ever”. Indeed, a week later, the United Kingdom announced that it will increase its contribution to the Global Green Fund, up to £1.44bn over the next four years.
  • Nic Maclellan looks at the state of the Green Climate Fund and underlines three points that need to be addressed for the future GCF funding: ease of access to the find, developing country capacity to manage programs, and a larger focus on the Pacific.
  • Australia’s Deputy PM Michael McCormack’s comments that Pacific island nations affected by the climate crisis will continue to survive “because many of their workers come here to pick our fruit” caused a storm. In response, China suggested Australia reflect on how it engages its Pacific neighbours after Fiji’s Prime Minister accused Scott Morrison of being “insulting and condescending” at the Tuvalu meeting.
  • West Papua remains a complicated issue in the Pacific. Pacific leaders “strongly encouraged” Indonesia to finalise the timing of a visit by the UN to investigate the reported human rights abuses. In response, the Indonesian government said West Papua is a domestic issue and no organisation has the right to have a say at this topic. Camellia Webb Gannon details this complicated situation, while Megan Tobin explains why the Indonesian principle “Unity in Diversity” doesn’t apply to the case of West Papua.
  • Scott Morrison is heading off to Timor Leste. Michael Rose sees three main reasons why, in his efforts to redefine the relationship between the two countries, the Australian PM should make an apology.

Pacific Research Program

You may also be interested in