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US withdrawal from Pacific tuna treaty will take effect next January

Starkist tuna from American Samoa ... A drop in tuna prices in 2015 has been blamed by fishing trade journals as a reason that US fishermen are struggling in the Pacific Ocean. Image: Danny Johnston/LAT

Starkist tuna from American Samoa … A drop in tuna prices in 2015 has been blamed by fishing trade journals as a reason that US fishermen are struggling in the Pacific Ocean. Image: Danny Johnston/LAT

Pacific Scoop:
Report – By Pacific Media Watch in Suva

The decision by the United States to withdraw from the 30-year Tuna Treaty with Pacific Island countries will not take effect until January 2017, says Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) deputy director general Wez Norris.

In his initial response to Pacnews queries, Norris admitted that the impact of the US withdrawal “will be markedly different among individual Pacific Island Parties (PIPs)”.

“Some of them have viable alternative markets that could absorb their fishing days with relatively little impact. Others, however that are reliant on the Treaty to sell their days would struggle to achieve revenues similar to those currently enjoyed, said Norris. Read more »

#COP21: The Paris climate agreement: The real work starts now

The more ambitious target of 1.5C will be beyond our reach within a decade or two at current rates of fossil fuel use around the world. Image: Pulse

The more ambitious target of 1.5C will be beyond our reach within a decade or two at current rates of fossil fuel use around the world. Image: Pulse

Pacific Scoop:
Analysis – By
Pep Canadell and Rob Jackson

The Paris climate agreement is an extraordinary achievement. It codifies the long-term goal of keeping global temperature increases below 2°C. It also sets a more ambitious aspirational target of capping global warming at 1.5°C degrees.

But this more ambitious target will be beyond our reach within a decade or two at current rates of fossil fuel use around the world.

Beyond how achievable the goals are, and at what cost they can be achieved, they are aggressive and consistent with minimising the dangerous interference of human activities on the climate system. Read more »

COP21: Draft Paris Outcome on table for climate deal includes Pacific options

Draft Paris Agreement on the table ... relief for the moment for Pacific. Image: Politico

Draft Paris Agreement on the table … relief for the moment for Pacific. Image: Politico

Pacific Scoop:
Report – By
Makereta Komai, editor of PACNEWS, in Paris

After a week of negotiations, negotiators from 195 countries have produced a Draft Paris Outcome that is likely to become the new global climate agreement on 11 December.

To the relief of Pacific, the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) and G77 and China, the proposal by the United States and other developed countries to remove loss and damage from the Paris Agreement is now gone, replaced with a proposal (Option 1) to include it  as a stand-alone Article 5.

The second option wants to push Loss & Damage back to Article 4, alongside the Adaptation provision. Read more »

Remove all asylum seekers from Pacific detention centres plea to Turnbull


An alleged rape victim makes call to Nauruan police. Video: ABC News

Pacific Scoop:
Report – By the PMC news desk

An Australian women’s human rights campaign has appealed to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to urgently remove all asylum seekers from the Pacific detention centres on Nauru and Manus Island.

The group Australian Women in Support of Women on Nauru has announced that a crowd-funding drive has raised more than $20,000 to send investigative journalist Wendy Bacon and former West Australian premier Carmen Lawrence to Nauru to “bear witness” in the wake of allegations of 23 men, women and children being raped with impunity.

A 26-year-old Somalian woman – whose terrified phone plea to police for help after allegedly being raped was broadcast by ABC television – is still on Nauru. Police have dropped her case citing lack of evidence. Read more »

Digital broadcasting switchover starts for Pacific nations

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PNG’s Minister for Finance James Marape switches on Fiji-based Click TV’s equipment at the launch of the first HD broadcaster in the Pacific Islands. with him is Reenal Deo (left), Click’s engineering manager and managing director Richard Broadbridge (right). Image: Click TV

Nine Pacific countries now national “roadmaps” for the transition to digital broadcasting. Without a digital switchover, Pacific broadcasters face increased costs, reports Asia-Pacific Journalism.

Pacific Scoop:
Report – By Matthew Hutching

Following the Pacific Media Partnership conference in Apia last month, there are plans for Papua New Guinea, Samoa and Tonga to start the transition to digital broadcasting within the next two years.

The conference was organised by the Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union and International Telecommunication Union with the aim of addressing the challenges of content production, new technologies, and digitisation of broadcasting in the Pacific region.

So far, the ITU has helped nine Pacific countries develop national “roadmaps” for the transition to digital. They include Fiji, Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, Nauru, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and Tonga. Read more »

Worst drought in two decades forces PNG to close many schools

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Women of Papua New Guinea collecting water. Image: Nic Dunlop/IOM

Thousands of children in Papua New Guinea are currently receiving little or no education because of a severe drought making drinking water scarce, reports Asia-Pacific Journalism.

Pacific Scoop:
Report – By Ida Brock

Children playing in the schoolyard is an increasingly rare sight in Papua New Guinea these days.

The country is currently battling a severe El Niño-driven drought which is leaving the country low on drinking water, says Dr Mike Bourke from the College of Asia and the Pacific at the Australian National University.

He has recently been in Papua New Guinea to assess the situation. Read more »

UN warns this year’s El Niño system could rival 1997 impact


Two months of dry weather has caused a five metre drop in the water level at Yonki Dam in the Eastern Highlands, which supplies power to a third of papua New Guinea. Video: EMTV.

Pacific Scoop:
Report – By Pacific Media Watch in Port Moresby

The United Nations called on Pacific governments this week to prepare for what could be the worst El Niño system to impact on the region.

The UN resident coordinator in Fiji, Osnat Lubrani, said it is expected to rival the 1997 El Niño, the most severe on record.

Lubrani said drought problems currently being experienced around parts of the region are just the beginning. Read more »

40 years of independence, but PNG still dealing with Australian colonial legacy

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Papua New Guinea raises its national flag to mark 40 years of independence from Australia. Image: Oceania Football Confederation

Pacific Scoop:
Analysis – By Nicholas Ferns

September 16 marks the 40th anniversary of the establishment of the sovereign nation of Papua New Guinea. Celebrations are being held throughout the country.

It is worth remembering that Australia was the country that granted independence to Papua New Guinea. For almost 70 years, Australia maintained colonial rule over the eastern half of New Guinea. Unfortunately, this fact is largely absent in contemporary discussions of relations between the countries.

When Australia’s “colonial” history is mentioned, it almost always refers to the period 1788-1901. Little attention is given to Australia’s 20th-century empire of Papua New Guinea and Nauru. Read more »

Small Pacific states defiant over stronger climate change stance


Niklas Pedersen reporting from Fiji … Pacific leader calls for stronger action on climate change in Suva spilled over into Port Moresby at the Pacific Islands Forum this week. Video: PMC

Pacific Scoop:
Koro Vaka’uta and the PNG media

The Pacific Forum leaders summit has concluded without unity on climate change. While leaders have talked of solidarity, cracks have appeared over the subject of climate change.

Representatives from the 16 forum member countries gathered in Port Moresby over the week to address issues concerning the region, but there are a several conflicting positions, particularly when it comes to Australia and New Zealand.

Small island states have called for a global moratorium on new coal mines, which may struggle to get the backing of the wider forum, and enough of a reduction in emissions so that global temperature increases do not exceed 1.5°C over pre-industrial levels. Read more »

‘We won’t be intimidated’ over West Papua at Forum, says Sogavare

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Solomon Islands stands firm over the West Papua cause. Image: PNG Loop

Pacific Scoop:
Makereta Komai in Port Moresby

Solomon Islands will not be intimidated by Indonesia or other countries in the Pacific Islands Forum in its push for West Papua.

Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare is willing to take it to the next level, to demand global action through its membership of the United Nations in New York.

Speaking to journalists, Sogavare said he was in Port Moresby this week with three proposals – to push for observer status, agree to a high level fact finding mission and have West Papua listed in the United Nations Committee Decolonisation Committee, known as the Committee of 24. Read more »

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