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Thorny challenges for Pacific’s regional ‘pooling of sovereignty’ option

Dame Meg Taylor

Dame Meg Taylor, a high flying former Papua New Guinea official with the World Bank, is the first woman to become secretary-general of the Pacific Islands Forum. Image: PNGloop.com

Pacific Scoop:
Analysis – By a special correspondent

Representatives of Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) member countries gathered in Palau last week with an oceanic task on their hands: to revitalise their region’s premier political organisation.

This year’s gathering featured a review of the Forum’s decade-old Pacific Plan, which finds it to be poorly focused, and bogged down in a “largely officials-led process” that has come to be dominated by “bureaucratic and institutional interests”.

The solution, according to the review team led by a former prime minister of Papua New Guinea Prime, Sir Mekere Morauta, is for the region to engage in some “pooling of sovereignty”, but not full integration. 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

cpacific Wansolwara pageplate 425wide

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 »

Pacific leaders want action on gender equality – but divided on urgency

Pacific politics delegates in the parliamentary chamber in Wellington. Image: Michael Sergel/PMC

Pacific politics delegates in the parliamentary chamber in Wellington. Image: Michael Sergel/PMC

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

Pacific political leaders agree that action needs to be taken on gender equality in the region, although they disagree with the urgency of measures.

Delegates from 17 countries addressed the Pacific Parliamentary and Political Leaders Forum in Wellington on Friday.

For a Palauan politician, Senator Rukebai Kikuo Skey-Inabo, gradual change was not good enough. Read more »

Team put together to review Pacific Plan this year

Pacific Plan

The Pacific Plan … under review, criticised. Image: PMC

Pacific Scoop:
Report – By the PMC news desk

An independent review team of leading experts has been named to consider the Pacific Plan during this year.

Pacific Islands Forum leaders nominated a former Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea, Sir Mekere Morauta, to lead the review at the Forum meeting in the Cook Islands last September.

Following a competitive selection process, the rest of his team has been named. 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 »

Superpowers focus on tiny Rarotonga for the Pacific Forum

US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton … leading largest delegation expected to hit Rarotonga. Image: CSMonitor

Pacific Scoop:
Report – By Rachel Reeves in Rarotonga

Some of the world’s most prominent superpowers could converge on the little Pacific island of Rarotonga next week.

The Pacific Islands Forum could be the impetus for the United States, China and Russia to be in the same place at the same time.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is making global headlines this week, as the world wonders whether she is in fact hauling a cargo plane and a delegation of about 50 people to this South Pacific paradise. Read more »

Opponents slam UN’s ‘unfair’ research on Palau’s pot problem

Palau students

Palau students … their high school was used as the basis of a “bizarre” drug study. Photo: PMC archive

The United Nation’s World Drug Report for 2012 has come under fire after claiming the Micronesian island nation Palau has the highest rates of marijuana use in the world.

Pacific Scoop:
Report – By Josh Martin

Palau government officials and Pacific academics have slammed this year’s UN World Drug Report, giving the island nation a bad rap as incorrect and skewed because of poor data gathering.

The data indicated almost a quarter, 24.2 percent of Palau’s population had used the illegal drug in the past year, and had world media dubbing the country as the world’s “cannabis capital”.

Palau’s Director of Education Emery Wenty said the UN had asked the Education Ministry to do surveys which focused on youth, so the results did not represent all of Palau. Read more »

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