Pacific Scoop

Pacific Islands Forum News

COP21: Forum’s Meg Taylor makes Pacific video plea to world leaders

Pacific Ocean Commissioner Meg Taylor’s “our future” video message. Video: PIF

Pacific Scoop:
Report – By
Vuniwaqa Bola-Bari

Pacific Ocean Commissioner Dame Meg Taylor has called on world leaders meeting in Paris to protect the Pacific region and the ocean.

In a video, Taylor said world leaders needed to protect the region and the ocean it depended on.

A statement from the Pacific islands Forum Secretariat revealed the video was watched more than 17,000 times in less than 24 hours, illustrating the power of social media to amplify Pacific voices during the Paris-based climate change negotiations. 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 »

Confusion over release of Fiji peacekeepers follows army chief’s claim

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Brigadier-General Mosese Tikoitoga today, announcing the “imminent release” of Fijian soldiers in Syria. Photo: Mads Anneberg/Republika/PMC

Pacific Scoop:
Report – By Mads Anneberg in Suva

The United Nations and Fiji government have now contradicted claims by the military that the 45 captured Fijian UN peacekeepers being detained in Syria are soon to be released.

At a press conference today, Fiji’s military commander Brigadier-General Mosese Tikoitoga said the Al-Nusra militants had agreed to release the soldiers who were captured in the Golan Heights last month.

Unprecedented, he said, the Islamist group was going to hand them over without conditions. He went on to say that it bared witness of the good relationship Fijian soldiers had built up with the Syrian population. Read more »

Betrayal? Get real, PNG’s Meg Taylor is the best choice for the Forum

Dame Meg Taylor

Dame Meg Taylor … “respected international public servant and diplomat who has, not only Papua New Guinea, but the Pacific Islands at heart.” Image: Forum Secretariat

Papua New Guinea has been accused in the Fiji Sun of “betraying” Fiji by reneging on support for Kaliopate Tavola, the Fijian candidate, for what many consider the top regional job – Secretary-General of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat. Instead, former World Bank official Dame Meg Taylor of Papua New Guinea became the first woman chosen to take on the post. Here is a Solomon Islands academic’s view.

Pacific Scoop:
Comment – By Tarcisius Kabutaulaka

An article, which appeared on the front page of the Fiji Sun, accusing Papua New Guinea of “betrayal” , is an interesting and insightful reaction to the election of Dame Meg Taylor as the Secretary-General of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (PIFS).

Here are a couple of observations: First, while the piece is presented as “news” and carried on the Fiji Sun’s front page, it is actually not “news”.

It is an opinion piece – journalist Nemani Delaibatiki’s opinion. Read more »

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:

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 »

NFP pledges to review Fiji’s media decree and enact information freedom law

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Professor Biman Prasad … “Our people are still afraid. Our youths are afraid.” Image: Republika

Pacific Scoop:
Report – By the Pacific Media Centre news desk

The leader of Fiji’s new National Federation Party, economist Professor Biman Prasad, has pledged to review the controversial media decree and pass a freedom of information law if it gains power in the September general election.

He has also called on Fijians to shed their fear and become involved in the election process.

“Our people are still afraid. Our youths are afraid. Our civil servants are afraid, our farmers are afraid, our women are afraid,” professor Prasad said in a speech at a party working meeting at Tamavua the weekend. Read more »

Women campaigners call for end to military bases in Asia-Pacific region

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Delegates from the Asia-Pacific region at the WILPF 2014 “Militarisation in the Pacific” conference in Auckland at the weekend. Image: Ruth Coombes/WILPF

Pacific Scoop:
Report – By Pacific Media Watch

Women peace campaigners from Aotearoa, Australia, Hawai’i, Japan, Philippines and Polynesia/Te Ao Maohi have called for the removal of military occupation and bases in the Asia-Pacific region.

Meeting at AUT University in New Zealand, the three-day conference organised by the Aotearoa section of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom also called for the removal of military training and promotions that “normalise violence” in schools.

The women campaigners urged that military spending be reallocated to eliminate all forms of violence – domestic, social and military. 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 »

Climate change concerns raised for Māori health and economy

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University of Auckland academic Dr Steven Ratuva says climate change is a more immediate threat in other parts of the Pacific. Image: Michael Sergel/PMC Online

Pacific Scoop:
Report – By Michael Sergel

Climate change was top of the agenda at the Pacific Islands Forum last month – and it is an issue that strikes at the heart of the traditions of tikanga Māori across Aotearoa.

More than 10 years of research by Taihoro Nukurangi, the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research, has found the effects of climate change will particularly affect the fishery, agriculture and forestry models that are core to the Māori economy and iwi tradition.

The institute conducted extensive hui consultation with iwi and government agencies on what could be an extremely important issue for the future of Māori society.

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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