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‘Hypocritical’ NZ told to stop fatty food exports to Pacific

Mutton flaps

Mutton flaps banned in New Zealand and the US but not in the Pacific. Image: Kiva.org

Pacific Scoop:
Report – By Michael Sergel and Finian Scott in Wellington

New Zealand must stop the export of fatty foods to Pacific countries if it wants to deal with the region’s record high rates of obesity and diabetes, a Samoan MP told a forum of Pacific leaders today.

Gataoloaifa’na Amataga Alesana Gidlow told delegates at the Pacific Parliamentary and Political Leaders Forum in Wellington that New Zealand is largely to blame, for failing to stop the exporting of fatty meats and other products.

“In the true spirit of supporting each other, we ask our developed brother, partner and neighbour, New Zealand, to stop exporting to your poor and less developed neighbour in the Pacific all your fatty products that are not for sale in your country because they are not consumable,” she demanded. Read more »

The diplomacy of decolonisation – plenty of Pacific flashpoints to challenge officials

Paul Neaoutyine

New Caledonia’s Northern Province independence leader Paul Neaoutyine … negotiated contracts with South Korea and China. Image: David Robie/PMC

Decolonisation might not look like a hot-button issue but after Australia’s Security Council win the country will now have to start taking it seriously in the Pacific. A special two-part report.

Pacific Scoop:
Analysis – By Nic Maclellan

The successful bid for a rotating seat on the UN Security Council places Australia in an interesting place. Over the next few years, the country will be in the spotlight as the United Nations addresses hot-button international issues: maritime disputes between China and its Asia-Pacific neighbours; the prospects for Palestinian statehood; negotiations for a global climate treaty and a new compact to replace the Millennium Development Goals after 2015.

But closer engagement with the United Nations will also create a few thorny dilemmas on issues that receive less international attention.

One often ignored issue is the future of the UN Special Committee on Decolonisation and the lack of international action to complete the UN agenda on self-determination and political independence. Read more »

Clinton says Pacific ‘big enough’ for both US, China

PIF Retreat

Pacific Islands Forum leaders meet at their retreat on Aitutaki atoll in the Cook Islands yesterday. Image: Cook Islands News

Pacific Scoop:
Report – By Shaun Tandon, Neil Sands and Rachel Reeves on Rarotonga

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has vowed the United States will remain active in the South Pacific for the “long haul” but says the region is big enough for a rising China.

Clinton announced some $32 million in new aid projects as she became the first US secretary of state to take part in the traditional dialogue after the Pacific Islands Forum leaders summit, in a sign of renewed interest in the vast region.

Clinton’s visit came as many island states have been forging closer ties with China, which according to Australia’s Lowy Institute has pledged more than $600 million in low-interest and mostly strings-free loans to the South Pacific since 2005. Read more »

Cook Islanders welcome Clinton for post-Forum dialogue with Pacific

Hillary Clinton

Cook Islanders welcome US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to Rarotonga last night for the post-Forum dialogue today. Image: CSM

Pacific Scoop:
Report – By Calida Smylie on Rarotonga

After much hype and speculation about whether US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton would attend the Forum, she finally arrived in Rarotonga last night and was engaged in talks with the Pacific today.

Clinton flew in last night just before 11pm on her personal jet, one of four government C-32s, or a Boeing 757 fitted with auxiliary fuel tanks enabling it to fly about three hours longer than a regular 757.

She had breakfast today with other leaders at Trader Jack’s and afterwards attended the 24th post-forum dialogue partner’s meeting at the National Auditorium. Read more »

43rd Pacific Islands Forum Communiqué

PIF

Pacific Scoop:
Report

Here is the 43rd Pacific Islands Forum Communiqué released at the end of the Leaders’ Retreat held in Aitutaki in the northern Cook Islands today:

FORUM COMMUNIQUÉ

The Forty-Third Pacific Islands Forum was held in Rarotonga, Cook Islands, from 28 to 30 August 2012 and was attended by Heads of State and Governments of Australia, the Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of Kiribati, the Republic of Nauru, New Zealand, Niue, Papua New Guinea, Republic of the Marshall Islands, Samoa, Tonga and Tuvalu. Read more »

Oxfam calls for ‘big picture’ climate change funding in Pacific

Climate change

Tawaa Tebunang, 46, at Tanikabaai Village, Tabontebike, Abaiang, in Kiribati. This land was inundated with water following a king tide in 2004. Many crops
were lost as a result including pawpaw, pandanus, banana, taro and figs amongst others; the soil is now too saline to grow food. Image: Rodney Dekker/Oxfam Australia

A NEW report on the way climate change funding is managed in the Pacific is calling for a coordinated and “inclusive” approach in fighting the multiple threats of climate change. A special Pacific Scoop backgrounder.

Pacific Scoop:
Report – By Cassandra Mason

Oxfam has proposed a strategic “big picture” approach to regional coordinated funding for Pacific climate change in a new report launched at the Pacific Islands Forum today with the issue being a “core item” on the agenda.

The report, Owning Adaptation in the Pacific: Strengthening governance of climate adaptation finance, gives a detailed look at how climate finance is being managed in Papua New Guinea, Tonga and Vanuatu and makes recommendations for improvements – and also across the Pacific.

Funded by the British High Commission and launched by Oxfam and Richard Benyon, Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Natural Environment and Fisheries in DEFRA, the report acknowledges good work that is already being undertaken by governments, donors and civil society. Read more »

New fibre optic plan on table for Pacific countries at Forum

The proposed cable route. Image: hawaikicable

Pacific Scoop:
Report – By Rachel Reeves on Rarotonga

The Cook Islands has until the end of the year to accept or reject an offer from New Zealand-based company Hawaiki Cable Ltd to connect to a fibre optic cable being installed from Hawai’i to Auckland and Sydney via numerous Pacific Islands.

In the works for about three years, the project has been unpublicised, but its designers are going public following the bankrupting of the Pacific Fibre project three weeks ago.

Pacific Fibre had hoped to build a cable between Auckland, Sydney and Los Angeles at a cost of about $400 million but on August 1 announced it had failed to raise enough capital. Read more »

Clinton’s cargo plane for Forum could be parked in Pago Pago

A US Air Force Globemaster, similar to what Hillary Clinton might be bringing to the Pacific Islands Forum in the Cook Islands next week… if there is room. Image: Seattle PI

Pacific Scoop:
Report – By Matiu Workman of the Cook Islands News

United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton could be asked to park her cargo aircraft some 1300 km away due to limited parking capacity at Rarotonga’s international airport ahead of next week’s Pacific Islands Forum.

Airport Authority head Joe Ngamata confirmed four aircraft would be arriving for the Forum – a Boeing 757 from New Zealand, a Boeing 737 from Australia, a smaller jet for Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Peter O’Neill and another small plane for New Caledonian President Harold Martin.

The planes will be moved on to the airport’s taxiway during the Forum, with the two white spaces of concrete within the taxiway – known as parking pads – holding the two smaller aircraft. Read more »

Brazilian leadership credited as Rio declaration endorsed

Iosefa Maiava, Head UN ESCAP Pacific Centre, says the Rio+20 side events are useful and welcomes the reaffirmation of Small Island Developing States in the declaration. Photo: SPREP/Pacific Climate Change

Pacific Scoop:
Report – By Makereta Komai in Rio de Janeiro

More than 100 world leaders gathered in the Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro have put their stamp of approval on the new United Nations declaration on sustainable development, titled the “Future We Want”.

The approval came six hours after the plenary was convened to endorse the new global roadmap to eradicating poverty through sustainable means of development.

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff attributed the success of the Rio+20 talks to the skillful art of negotiations by her team and through the collective compromises shown by parties to reach a consensus outcome. Read more »

Rio+20 ‘failure’ – global multinationals hijack conference


Inside Story reports on the “lack of vision” at Rio+20. Guests: Rick Piltz, Nnimmo Bassey, Daniel Morris. Video: Al Jazeera

Pacific Scoop:
Report – By the PMC news desk

Environmentalists have dubbed the Rio+20 conference as “embarrassing and meaningless” – with the leaders of the United States, Britain and Germany snubbing the summit, reports Al Jazeera’s Inside Story.

In contrast, multinational corporations have been well represented, leading some commentators to wonder whether in the push to attract so-called corporate stakeholders to the environmental cause, the UN summit became less about the future of the planet than about the future of corporate profits.

In the Pacific, several non-government organisations have also condemned the conference as a failure. Read more »

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