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Future of Forum questioned – regional powers ‘not interested’, says academic

PIF 44 leaders photo

Leaders from the Smaller Island States (SIS) met at the Pacific Islands Forum in Majuro this week.

Pacific Scoop:
Report – By Michael Sergel 

As this year’s Pacific Islands Forum enters its third day, the Pacific remains divided on the role and relevance of the region’s largest leadership summit, and whether Fiji should be a part of it.

Carbon emissions and fishing industry regulation have been among topics of conversation for delegates from sixteen member states during Wednesday’s talks – but an about-turn by New Zealand government on Fiji received the most attention.

The New Zealand government recognised Fiji’s constitution – due for assent tomorrow – as a step towards liberal democracy and human rights in the country. It also looked towards greater engagement with the state.

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Kerry warns of climate change impact in the Pacific at Forum

John Kerry cn

John Kerry said that Pacific island nations need to prepare for the impact of climate change when speaking to the Pacific Islands Forum this week. Image: globaltimes.cn

Pacific Scoop:
Report – By Pacific Media Watch

The US Secretary of State, John Kerry, made no new environmental promises at his speech at the Pacific Islands Forum in Majuro this week, but said that there is “still time to prevent some of the worst impacts of climate change”.

Kerry, who addressed the Forum via a video link, acknowledged that the Pacific was on “the front lines of climate change” and that there was a need for climate change mitigation efforts.

“The people of the Pacific Islands know as well as anyone that we also need to prepare communities for the impacts that are already being felt.”

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NZ positive over new Fiji constitution as Forum discusses comeback

McCully

New Zealand Foreign Minister Murray McCully is generally positive to the new Fijian constitution. Image: fijisun.fj

Pacific Scoop:
Report – By Pacific Media Watch

New Zealand Prime Minister John Key says the release of Fiji’s new constitution is a “positive step, even if it is not perfect”.

Foreign Minister Murray McCully said the new constitution was part of a much practical progress in Fiji towards elections.

He said he hoped Suva looked at some of the constitution’s aspects more carefully, but said New Zealand wanted to look positively at current developments in Fiji.

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Climate action central focus as Pacific Islands Forum gets going

we are not drowning

Climate change is possibly the biggest challenge the Pacific faces in the 21st century. Initiatives like the “we are not drowning, we are fighting” campaign hopes to mitigate consequences of climate change. Image: Litia Maiava / Te Mana

Pacific Scoop:
Report – By Michael Sergel

Climate change is top of the agenda, as the Pacific Islands Forum gets underway today.

Host country Marshall Islands is calling for strong committed action on preventing and responding to climate change, as it welcomes delegates from sixteen member states to the renewable village that will play host to the next four days of talks.

Marshall Islands Forum Minister Phillip Muller said the Majuro Declaration was about “tangible action” rather than a “you-go-first” approach to climate policy.

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Trade and climate top talking points when Pacific Islands Forum opens

Tuiloma Neroni Slade

A pre-Forum meeting about climate change took place yesterday in Majuro with Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, Tuiloma Neroni Slade from Samoa, and other dignitaries present. Image: Pacific Islands Forum

Pacific Scoop:
Report – By Michael Sergel

Australia, New Zealand and the United States will be challenged to act on climate change when regional leaders meet for the Pacific Islands Forum in the Republic of Marshall Islands this week.

Trade, and climate policy are expected to be top talking points when the largest gathering of Pacific leaders gets underway in the capital of Majuro today.

Canoes, dancers and a village of solar-powered thatched huts will greet four hundred leaders and delegates from fifteen Pacific countries and thirteen partner states, in one of the largest events the nation of 53,000 people has ever hosted.

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Widowed husband pays tribute to anti-nuclear Marshall Is fighter


Darlene Keju spent much of her life empowering people in her native Marshall Islands and campaigning against nuclear weapons. Now her late husband, Giff Johnson, has released a biography on Keju.  

Pacific Scoop:
Report – By Daniel Drageset of Pacific Media Watch

In an audio interview with Pacific Media Watch, Giff Johnson – who was married to anti-nuclear campaigner Darlene Keju – describes her short, but eventful life.

Johnson has recently released a biographical book about Keju titled Don’t Ever Whisper – Darlene Keju: Pacific Health Pioneer, Champion for Nuclear Survivors.

Knowing little English, Keju moved to Hawaii in her 20s wanting to assimilate into the American culture.
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New biography details Marshall Islands anti-nuclear fighter’s life

Darlene Keju

Darlene Keju’s courageous story of growing up on islands downwind of the 67 US nuclear tests conducted at Bikini and Enewetak, as told by her husband Giff Johnson.

Pacific Scoop:
Report – By a special correspondent in Majuro

The powerful story of a woman from the Marshall Islands who championed the cause of nuclear weapons test survivors when others were silent, and who implemented innovative community health programmes and services that gave hope to a generation of troubled youth is detailed in a just-released biography, Don’t Ever Whisper — Darlene Keju: Pacific Health Pioneer, Champion for Nuclear Survivors.

Written by Keju’s husband of 14 years Giff Johnson, the editor of the Marshall Islands Journal, the weekly newspaper published in Majuro, the 443-page book has been published by CreateSpace Independent Publishing and is available through Amazon.com.
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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 »

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