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Pacific at the crossroads over poverty – global climate change response the key

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A woman selling traditional handcrafts at a market on Rarotonga in the Cook Islands. Image: Lucas Dahlström/PMC

Pacific Scoop:
Report – By Lucas Dahlström

Two thirds of the world’s deprived people in terms of poverty, hunger and lack of sanitation live in in Asia-Pacific, according to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

And with living costs rising faster than the general price level, there is a need to change the poverty measurements in the region, says the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

Both UNDP and the ADB hosted a recent symposium “Poverty in Asia – a deeper look” which brought together thinkers and practitioners from leading institutions fighting poverty to discuss how to best measure and analyse data to make policy more effective. Read more »

Pacific Island nations develop new strategies to cope with diabetes

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Billboards like this in the Cook Islands are erected across the country to educate the people about the consequences of diabetes. Image: CI Ministry of Health

The number of people in the Asia-Pacific region suffering from diabetes is increasing every day, with now more than 138 million people estimated as having the disease. Asia-Pacific Journalism looks at how small countries such as the Cook Islands are developing new strategies.

Pacific Scoop:
Report – By Marcus Bank

Scooters and cars pass by it every day. Some don’t even notice it.

Others turn their head briefly to look at the billboard planted between palm trees on the main road leading in and out of the town of Avarua, capital of the Cook Islands.

The yellow and black hoarding shows the bottom of a foot. Four of the toes have a much darker colour then the rest. Read more »

Minister calls for electoral changes after Cook Islands turmoil

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Downtown Avarua on Rarotonga … uncertainty as election is being re-run in the courtrooms. Image: Lasse Underbjerg/PMC

The Cook Islands still has no confirmed government more than two months after a general election. Allegations of fraud and bribery have sparked a poisonous political environment, as an Asia-Pacific Journalism journalist finds on a visit.

Pacific Scoop:
Report – By Lasse Underbjerg

Cook Islands Finance Minister Mark Brown is calling for “tidying up” electoral reforms after an election in July has plunged the country into allegations and recriminations about the future.

In an interview with Pacific Scoop he says it is “unfortunate” that the electoral process due a high number of petitions challenging the results has forced a long period of uncertainty for the people.

“We need to look at some sort of amendments that will tidy up the electoral process and pre-empt a majority of petitions which focus on voter eligibility,” he says. Read more »

SIDS wrap in Samoa: It really is a matter of life and death

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Facing the future … the SIDS conference in Apia, Samoa, this week. Image: SIDSlive.com

Pacific Scoop:
Comment – By Mata’afa Keni Lesa

The urgency with which a number of challenges the small island developing states are confronted with means only one thing. That is the third Small Island Developing States (SIDS) conference, which has just ended in Samoa, cannot be treated as business as usual.

While it’s easy to get lost and become totally overwhelmed by the emotions and magnitude of the issues and the personalities who have been to Samoa to talk about them, the reality of life for small island states must never be forgotten.

It’s quite scary in fact. Our islands are slowly but surely sinking. Coastal erosion and sea level rise are becoming more menacing with each single day so that countless families have had to relocate or risk being swept out to sea. Read more »

Glenn Jowitt – legacy of the Pacific’s man with a ‘friendly camera’

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Beatle on a boat … one of the Glenn Jowitt photographs donated to the Pacific Media Centre by board chair Isabella Rasch last year. Image: © Glenn Jowitt

“We really thank the Jowitt family for sharing with us their son – his life, and passion for us and the Pacific.” Reverend Strickson-Pua pays tribute to Glenn Jowitt in an Asia-Pacific Journalism report.

Pacific Scoop:
Special Report – By Eva Corlett

New Zealand photographer Glenn Jowitt dedicated his working life to capturing the brilliance of Pasifika culture and challenging traditional depictions of the Pacific community.

His explosively colourful Pacific images came during a time when black and white photography echoed the growing polarity between the Pacific and Pākehā communities in early 1980s Auckland.

For more than 30 years, Jowitt developed an extensive body of work through photographing the ceremonious and vibrant aspects of Auckland’s Pasifika community, both here and abroad. Read more »

Toku Reo Tupuna Trust creates resources for better education

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Maurice Tuareka with some of the Cook Island Māori resources being produced for early childhood centres. Image: Mikaela Collins/PMC

Pacific Scoop:
Report – By Mikaela Collins

A Manurewa group is creating resources in Cook Island Māori for Cook Island preschools.

Toku Reo Tupuna Trust is a group aiming to improve the quality of education for Cook Islands people in New Zealand.

Project co-ordinator for the trust Maurice Tuareka started the group, part of the early childhood centre Te Tuareka O Manurewa Punanga Reo, after he saw a need for resources in Cook Island Māori. Read more »

New free press book a must read for Pacific ‘media spoilers’


David Robie talks to Te Waha Nui’s Monique McKenzie about the new book.

Pacific Scoop:
News review – By Patrick Craddock in Suva

Don’t Spoil My Beautiful Face: Media, Mayhem and Human Rights in the Pacific is being published today while Fiji is voicing the mantra of the “free press” at the same time as it continues to ban experienced Pacific reporters such as Barbara Dreaver and Michael Field from New Zealand and Sean Dorney of the ABC.

Ashwin Raj, chairman of the new Media Industry Development Authority (MIDA) is haranguing journalists at public media meetings using expressions such as “…the complicity of select Fijian journalists and media either wittingly or those that remain oblivious to the laws of Fiji…”

The same MIDA that is so upset with Sean Dorney’s mild comment that “there was a feeling in the room anyway that the situation in Fiji wasn’t as free and open for the media as it should be” is also asking for “an ethos of robust debate”. Read more »

USP appoints new journalism coordinator amid controversy

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Pacific Scoop:
Report – By Shireen Lata in Suva

A former broadcast journalism lecturer and media centre broadcaster of the University of the South Pacific, New Zealander Patrick Craddock, is returning to Suva to take up the journalism coordinator’s post.

Craddock replaces Australian Dr Ian Weber who resigned suddenly last week.

Craddock has worked for nearly 20 years in different countries in Africa and the Pacific teaching radio journalism, writing scripts and producing radio drama for adult education. Read more »

Adversarial politics create barrier to Pacific women in public life, says Fiji advocate

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Pacific women leaders Sari Rosa (West Papua), Betty Blake (Tonga), Nanise Nagusuca (Fiji), Julie Soso (Papua New Guinea), Losana Tuiraviravi (Fiji) and Tetangi Matapo (Cook Islands) at the conference in Fiji this week. Image: APWLD

Pacific Scoop:
Report – By the PMC news desk

A group of Pacific women parliamentarians, former parliamentarians, future parliamentarians, policy makers and civil society advocates are meeting in Fiji to advance women’s political participation and leadership in the region.

The Pacific Islands have consistently produced the lowest number of women in governance in the world. In the island nations that comprise the Pacific Islands Forum (without Australia and NZ), only 4.7 percent are women. If the 13 women elected in the 2006 Fiji election are not included, the figure drops even lower to 2.6 percent for the remaining countries.

The 20 women from seven different island nations and territories – Cook Islands, Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Vanuatu and West Papua – are participating in the Suva workshop organised by the Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development (APWLD) and Fiji Women’s Rights Movement (FWRM) have come together to address the low levels of participation but also to share approaches to transformative leadership that prioritise consensus building, accountability and solidarity. Read more »

Election, constitution and declaration round out busy Forum week

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The opening ceremony of the Pacific Islands Forum in Majuro, the Marshall Islands, last week. Image: Pacific Islands Forum

Pacific Scoop:
Report – By Michael Sergel

Australia has elected a new leader, Fiji has passed a new constitution and Pacific countries have signed a new declaration on climate change at the end of a ground-breaking week in Pacific politics.

Tony Abbott led the Liberal-National Coalition to electoral victory on Saturday, to become Prime Minister-elect of Australia and one of the most powerful players in the Asia-Pacific region.

He was due to clarify an arrangement for asylum seeker resettlement in Papua New Guinea in the near future, and incoming Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop told ABC that developing a “strong mutually respectful relationship with Indonesia” would also be a top priority.

Read more »

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