Sunday, July 31, 2011

[pima.nius] Journalist's competition for Pacific, Africa and Caribbean Countries - DEADLINE 15 AUGUST 2011

12:03 PM |

via Pac Journos


Journalist's competition for Pacific, Africa and Caribbean Countries -
DEADLINE 15 AUGUST 2011

Several prizes to be worn!!!!

GENERAL INFORMATION
The Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation ACP-EU
(CTA), in collaboration with several national regional and
international partners is organizing an international conference on
extension and advisory services: "Innovations in Extension and
Advisory Services: Linking Knowledge to Policy and Action for Food and
Livelihoods:" The conference will take place, 15-18 November 2011 in
Nairobi, Kenya.

This competition aims to encourage journalists and media specialists
to investigate the challenges and opportunities in providing extension
and advisory services to farmers, showcase success stories and best
practices that can be replicated and raise awareness on the important
role of agriculture and rural development.

The competition is open to all media and communication professionals
(either print or electronic), from established media houses, private
and public sector organizations (e.g government ministries) and
non-governmental organizations including farmers' organizations who
are nationals of the African, Caribbean and the Pacific Group of
States. Entries should be original pieces. The piece is restricted to
the country in which the journalist/media specialist operates.
Applicants can submit their entry in French or English in either print
or electronic format.

Entries should be submitted in English, French or Spanish to
extension2011@cta.int with a copy to info@fara-africa.org and
info@g-fras.org. Your journalistic piece must reach the organizers by
15 August, 2011 to be considered for inclusion in the Conference.

Please click here for the full call for papers click
http://extensionconference2011.cta.int/journalists-call
http://extensionconference2011.cta.int/journalists-call

Click here to read online.

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Skype: ulamila.wragg
Box 3063, Rarotonga, Cook Is, Pacific Ocean
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The future belongs to those who prepare for it today." ~ Malcolm X

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[pima.nius] FIJI: Mara bans NZ media from recording community meeting

11:56 AM |


Via PMW. Interesting take on this. The issue of preserving the safety
and right to speak for those attending the meeting seemed to have
escaped the minds of journalists attending -- and sitting in on the
meeting still could have allowed reports back on what was said without
detailing the identities of those saying it.....hmmmm. lis

MARA BANS NZ MEDIA FROM RECORDING COMMUNITY MEETING
http://www.pmc.aut.ac.nz/pacific-media-watch/fiji-mara-bans-nz-media-recording-community-meeting-7548

WELLINGTON (TV3 News/Pacific Media Watch): Fiji's runaway military
chief Ratu Tevita Mara invited the media to a community function in
Wellington last night - then banned them from asking or recording
anything.

Mara organised the function to allow Fijians living in New Zealand to
ask him questions about his former boss, Commodore Frank Bainimarama's
regime in Fiji.

But on arrival, members of the media, including 3 News, were informed
that a recording ban was in place and they could only sit in on the
meeting.

Media were also told they could not ask questions if they stayed for
the meeting.

Earlier yesterday, at another meeting, Mara condemned media censorship.

"With the media censorship in Fiji, nothing is getting out and the
international community does not know anything about what
[Bainimarama] is doing," he said.

Mara's spokesperson, Pro-Democracy Movement president Sai Lelea, also
said that he "would like to acknowledge the role the press plays in a
free, democratic society".

But last evening, the press was banned from playing any role in
reporting the voices of those Fijians in New Zealand concerned about
the military regime back home.

The reason for the ban was to protect the identities of those who
turned up so they wouldn't be blacklisted by the Fiji government.

Lelea said Fijian people living in New Zealand were scared of being
identified because if what they said got back to Bainimarama, they
might not be allowed back into Fiji.

The meeting is just one of many this week for Mara, who met earlier
today with officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

He would not say what occurred in the meeting or if there was any outcome.

He will head back to Tonga before making his way around the Pacific to
garner support against Bainimarama's regime.

* Laura Frykberg's Nightline report on Ratu Tevita Mara and the media
- Go to links on Pacific Media Watch www.pacmediawatch.aut.ac.nz

* Comment on this item pmediawa@aut.ac.nz

+++niuswire

PACIFIC MEDIA WATCH ONLINE
www.pacmediawatch.aut.ac.nz

PACIFIC MEDIA WATCH is a media and educational resource compiled by
the AUT Pacific Media Centre for the Pacific region.

(c)1996-2010 Creative Commons
http://creativecommons.org

Items are provided solely for review purposes as a non-profit
educational service. Copyright remains the property of the original
producers as indicated in the header. Recipients should seek
permission
from the copyright owner for any publishing. Copyright owners not
wishing their materials to be posted by PMW please contact us. The
views expressed in material listed by PMW are not necessarily the
views
of PMW or the Pacific Media Centre.

For further information or joining the Pacific Media Watch listserve, visit:
http://mailman.aut.ac.nz/mailman/listinfo/pacific_media_watch_list

Email:
pmc@aut.ac.nz
Fax: (+649) 921 9987
SnailMail: Pacific Media Centre, School of Communication Studies, AUT
University, Private Bag 92006, Auckland 1142, Aotearoa/New Zealand

Website: www.pacmediawatch.aut.ac.nz
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Media Freelancer
Regional Coordinator, IFJ Pacific Media for Democracy and Human Rights
Project
Ph Mobile: 677-7574230
Skype: lisalahari

* "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that
matter."-- Martin Luther King Jr.  *

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Thursday, July 28, 2011

[pima.nius] Environment News

12:34 PM |

via Pacific Journos

·         Achieving Sustainable Development in the Pacific (Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment of the Government of Samoa, SPREP, UN)

·         SPREP to provide support to the Pacific for Rio+20 (SPREP)

·         "Economy must go green to ensure sustainability: says Environment Minister" (Pacific Islands Round Table for Nature Conservation)

·         14th Pacific Islands Round Table for Nature Conservation, SPREP Statement delivered by Stuart Chape, Programme Manager – Island Ecosystems (SPREP)

 

 

 

 

457px-Coat_of_Arms_SamoaSPREP-wide-colour.jpg233523693_UN_LOGO20copy_answer_101_xlarge

 

 

MEDIA RELEASE

 

Achieving Sustainable Development in the Pacific

 

Monday 25 July, Apia, SamoaThe Prime Minister of Samoa, Honourable Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi, in opening the Joint Ministerial Meeting on Thursday 21 July at the Robert Louis Stevenson Museum, issued a challenge to the Pacific Island Governments to "be aware of our responsibilities to provide for our people's needs within the confines of our meager resources; and to strike a delicate balance between environment conservation and sustainable economic growth and development, in order to meet our obligations for the Pacific's current and future generations."

 

The meeting provided an opportunity for the ministers to be informed on the objectives of and preparations for Rio+20, jointly consider issues that are relevant to the Pacific and generated the Pacific's inputs in preparation for the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, Rio+20 (UNCSD) in June 2012. Participants discussed creating a green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication, the need for a blue economy addressing oceans and related issues, the institutional framework for sustainable development (IFSD), and emerging issues and partnerships.

 

The delegates recognized that there was much work to be done in the lead-up to UNCSD and little time to do it. They identified the value and benefits in engaging in the process and the opportunities that it represents, particularly in regard to the green economy.

 

The need to recognize the importance of "blue economy" in the green economy theme, was stressed to highlight the uniqueness of the region based on the Pacific's oceanic character. Cook Islands provided an insight into the Government efforts towards greening the economy through the establishment of a large marine park for conservation using half of their 2.2 million square kilometers of EEZ. According to the Prime Minister of Cook Islands, Honourable Henry Puna; "This is a significant proportion of our sea and ocean. But we feel that this is an action that is necessary our seas are our resources to utilize to our advantage. But we need to do so balancing what we take and what we leave behind so that we will always have this resource for generations to come."

 

Solidarity and unity between the Pacific Island Countries in voicing Pacific issues and needs to the regional and global arenas was reiterated throughout the day. New Caledonia's introduction of "The One Tree, One Life, One Day" project was strongly supported by the Ministers to be a regional initiative, as an example of unity within the Pacific on environment. The project aims to trigger change and identify areas for the achievement of sustainable development.

 

In the Pacific, climate financing and access to financial support are crucial in order to ensure investment by the Governments and stakeholders into the green economy approach. Strict donor conditions and reporting processes and limited national capacities were considered to be factors hindering the islands from applying for funds, thus the need for more support and less stringent procedures from the donors.

 

As noted by most of the delegates, the green economy approach is not a "one size fits all" approach and each island nation have to decide on the most suitable approach for sustainable development. The underlying message was that development must not be undertaken at any cost to the islands. "We should focus on maximizing social and economic development without sacrificing our environment," said the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Finance for Nauru, Honourable Dr Kieren Keke.

 

According to Taholo Kami of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), "Green economy is not an option, it is imperative for our survival." The delegates agreed that the Pacific should take note of the progresses from the past; successes, gaps and challenges that should be addressed and implement practical ways for achieving sustainable development and eradicating poverty in the region. As the Minister of Finance for Samoa, Honourable Faumuina Tiatia Liuga stated, "It is time to walk the talk."

 

Mr Kosi Latu, Acting Director of the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) noted the special request by the Pacific Small Islands Developing States (PSIDS) for technical support during the continued negotiations leading up to Rio+20 and will play its role in coordinating this through the Council of Regional Organisations of the Pacific Sustainable Development and Marine Sector Working Groups. SPREP will also assist Samoa's Minister for Natural Resources and Environment as Chair of the Pacific Preparatory Meeting when he takes the Pacific's views to the Asia Pacific Regional Preparatory Meeting and the Small Islands Developing States Inter-regional Meeting later this year.

 

Over 70 participants including Government representatives, UN bodies, regional organisations, non government and inter government organisations attended the Rio+20 Pacific meeting which preceded with a two day Open Forum and concluded with the Joint Ministerial meeting on Friday.

 

The meeting concluded with the drafting of an Outcome Document that will assist in facilitating national, sub-regional and regional preparations for and engagement in the Rio+20 process. According to the Head of the UNESCAP Pacific Office, Iosefa Maiava, the final document "will be a call to the international community to take the Pacific's issues seriously in achieving sustainable development through green/blue economy."

 

 

 

The Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) T: 685 21929  F: 685 20231  W: www.sprep.org

 

 

SPREP to provide support to the Pacific for Rio+20

 

27 July 2011 - The Pacific meeting to prepare for the Earth Summit 2012, also known as Rio+20, provided the opportunity to reflect on the what was achieved since the first World Summit on Sustainable Development in Rio de Janeiro, 1992.

 

Spanning over a period of three days, the Rio+20 preparatory meeting brought together Governments, NGO's, development partners, the church and pacific youth to help forge a way forward as the world leads towards the next Earth Summit in June next year.

 

Acting Director of the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP), Mr. Kosi Latu says now the preparatory meeting is over, the next steps must address the challenges to sustainable development in our region.

 

"Some key bottlenecks in the process of sustainable development need to be urgently addressed in particular the meeting of existing commitments by our development partners and the improvement of access to the financing mechanisms set up as part of the Rio process."

 

 "New climate financing arrangements need to be linked to measures that address accessibility. Many of the problems that pacific islands face related to issues such as climate change, the unsustainable use of resources and the loss of habitat arise from the actions particularly of developed countries and we need to continue to engage them with a view that they set or meet commitments that will address these problems."

 

The two themes of the Earth Summit 2012 are "Green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication", as well as "institutional framework for sustainable development".  These themes do not replace the existing initiatives towards sustainable development but rather serve to focus actions on greening the economy and strengthening institutional frameworks.

 

"It's the right kind of growth we're trying to promote so it's socio economically balanced development, taking into account people's livelihood, cultures, life styles and reducing environment degradation," said Dr Wari Iamo the Secretary of the Department of Environment and Conservation, also the current Chair of SPREP.

 

"It's really adjusting growth to the well being of the people, but at the same time taking into account the resources we affect."

 

SPREP will now work with sister agencies in the region, all committed towards assisting member states in their preparations towards Rio+20 through either national or joint positions in groupings such as Pacific Small Island Developing States (PSIDS) or the Alliance of the Small Island States (AOSIS).

 

"We have also noted the special request by the PSIDS for technical support during the continued negotiations leading up to Rio+20 and will play its role in coordinating this through the Council of Regional Organisations of the Pacific Sustainable Development and Marine Sector Working Groups," said Mr. Latu.

 

The Rio+20 Pacific Preparatory Meeting was held from 20 – 22 July in Apia, Samoa with the support of partners including SPREP, the United Nations and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment of the Government of Samoa.

 

 

 

RTLogo

 

"Economy must go green to ensure sustainability: says Environment Minister"

 

Press release from the Roundtable for Nature Conservation in the Pacific Islands

 

 

Lami, Fiji July 26 (PIRNC) - In opening the 14th Annual Meeting of the Pacific Islands Roundtable for Nature Conservation (PIRNC) today in Lami, Fiji, Colonel Samuela Saumatua the Minister for Urban Development, Housing, Local Government and Environment of Fiji emphasized the need for Pacific economies to go green if the region is to ensure its economic viability.

Responding to the existing global pressure to change the current sustainability pattern, in which the economy, environment and social pillars function almost independently to each other, Colonel Saumatua said that the Green Economy concept, if adopted, "holds out much promise" for the region "to achieve sustainable development and poverty eradication".

The Green Economy concept, proposed as one of two significant themes of discussions in next year's UN Conference on Sustainable Development, promises to fully incorporate the environmental and the social agenda into the current economic discussions.

The Green Economy encourages the economy and environment to work as mutually supportive partners and not as competitors.

"Given the high dependency of Pacific Islands on their natural environment, with commodities such as fisheries, timber and tourism dominating many national economies, it would therefore make sense to invest in a green economy, said Colonel Saumatua.

Taholo Kami, Chair of the PIRNC and Regional Director of IUCN Oceania, noted that the Pacific "may not have a choice" when it comes to greening the economy. "For us, without our environment and unique societies, we have little else to offer to the global market"

"Twenty years after the first Rio meeting in 1992, the world is facing the consequences of ignoring the principles of sustainable development. Today to deal with the consequences, we need a green economy approach".

In response, the Program Manager of the Islands Ecosystems Program at the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme, Stuart Chape said "we do indeed need a different economic paradigm" but adds that it is not necessarily a new paradigm.

"The 'green economy' or the 'blue/green economy' is a repackaging of the principles that we have known for decades that must be put into practice if we are to make sustainable development a reality".

The Green Economy discussions, including environmental conservation activities undertaken under the PIRNC strategy, continue this week in Lami, Fiji.

For more information or to set up interviews, contact:

Salote Sauturaga, Phone: +679 9769299, email: salote.sauturaga@iucn.org or visit the PIRNC website: http://www.iucn.org/about/union/secretariat/offices/oceania/roundtable/

 

 

The Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) T: 685 21929  F: 685 20231  W: www.sprep.org

26 July 2011

 

14th Pacific Islands Round Table for Nature Conservation

SPREP Statement delivered by

Stuart Chape, Programme Manager – Island Ecosystems

 

Salutation

·         Hon. Colonel Samuela Saumatua, Minister of Local Government, Housing, Urban Development and Environment

·         Fiji's Director of Environment – Jope Davetanivalu

·         Director of IUCN Oceania and Chair of the Round Table – Taholo Kami

·         Distinguished Government representatives

·         Heads of Partner Organizations

·         Ladies and gentlemen

Hon. Minister, thank you for the insightful, challenging and thought provoking points that you have presented in your opening remarks. You have raised some very important issues that are fundamental to the sustainability of our environment and societies. We are at a critical juncture where collectively as a region we must step back and assess how well we have managed and used our natural resources while trying to meet our every day needs and development aspirations. Recognising our strengths and achievements as well as our weaknesses and failures should help us to define a more robust and sustainable future as we plan our engagement at Rio+20 next year.

 

Reflecting on this, I would like to share these words with you:

 

"Economic development which is undertaken in accordance with ecological principles, paying due respect to the need to plan resource exploitation carefully and to limit the dispersal of wastes in the environment, is better development. In some cases, in simple economic terms, it may initially cost more. In the long term the economic, social and economic benefits will far outweigh these initial costs. Only an ecological approach to development now will enable us to hand on to future generations a carefully managed, relatively unpolluted land with adequate and comparatively natural resources."

 

These are not my words, they are a quote, not from a recent paper on the green economy but from Fiji's Development Plan 7 written 35 years ago in 1976 - 16 years before the first Rio Summit, the UN Conference on Environment and Development, in 1992. I'm sure you will agree that the statement has a global relevance made even more important by the passage of time.

Immediately following the 1992 Summit the then Prime Minister of Fiji addressed the 47th Session of the UN General Assembly, affirming Fiji's commitment to the Rio Declaration, Agenda 21, the Framework Convention on Climate Change, the CBD and the Declaration on Forest Principles.  He noted that the Summit:

 

"...was a major step forward, but the next step may be more difficult. The spirit in which the various agreements were conceived and adopted needs to be matched by their speedy implementation".

 

I am sharing these quotes with you to highlight two things: firstly, global awareness of the critical positive links between ecology and economic development is now decades old - which should be no surprise when you consider that both the words and the concepts are derived from the one ancient Greek word oikos meaning household, house or family. How appropriate!  Within the core meaning of these two words lies the very reason why, as functional concepts, they must be integrated and not polarised.

 

The second point, reflecting on the then PM's prophetic observation, is the need to take this awareness, expressed in the wide adoption of the 1992 international environment agreements,  through to full speedy implementation.  That unfortunately is where we have collectively fallen short.

 

As you have noted, Hon. Minister, while we have made significant advances here in the region in the way we value our terrestrial and marine environments and the ecological services they provide, this has not been enough. We do indeed need a different economic paradigm - but I would suggest that it is not necessarily a new paradigm. The 'green economy' or the 'blue/green economy' is a repackaging of the principles that we have known for decades that must be put into practice if we are to make sustainable development a reality.

 

However, if such repackaging can capture the imagination of decision-makers, bureaucrats and communities and move us closer to a sustainable future then it is indeed a worthwhile enterprise that must be carried forward to global implementation at the Rio+20 Summit and beyond.

 

I think we can be optimistic in the Pacific that the paradigm shift can be made - more than anything it is a question of will power: at all levels, from the highest political levels right through to communities.

 

We already have outstanding examples in the region: at the political level, the Micronesian Challenge initiated by former president Remengasau of Palau, and the establishment of the Phoenix Islands PA - currently the world's largest MPA - and the regional Oceanscape concept adopted by the PIF Leaders last year, both championed by President Anote Tong of Kiribati.

 

At the community level hundreds of conserved areas have been established, including the 120 km² Tetepare Island Conservation Area in the Solomon Islands established by the Tetepare Descendants Association, conserving the Pacific's largest uninhabited island, which is covered in high value lowland forest.

 

There are also excellent examples of private enterprise-community conservation partnerships, such as the Rivers Fiji-community partnership for protection and sustainable use of the upper Navua River Ramsar site, and the Namenalala Island conservation area in the Koro Sea protected under covenant between the Namena resort and the traditional land owners.

 

However, the level of change required to bring about the paradigm shift to a green economy  needs to be driven at the highest levels of government - providing support for the changes needed at all levels of society and the economy. Above all we need champions. I have already referred to the initiatives championed by Micronesian leaders, and I should also mention that the Cook Islands PM Hon. Henry Puna is currently exploring with his government and people the establishment of what would be the largest MPA in the world within the Cook Islands territorial waters and EEZ. With such environmental champions at the highest levels of government we can go beyond the rhetoric and make environmental sustainability a reality.

 

Finally Hon. Minister, our annual Roundtable Meeting this week will focus on the 'green economy' and its relationship to nature. Clearly it will be a discussion of the converted - no-one here needs to be convinced of the need to link ecology and economy. However, the basis of the RT is partnership, and if the 'green economy' is to succeed not only do we need champions but we need to work together. This week I am sure that we will collectively focus on the issues and approaches that can make it work.

 

SPREP in its new Strategic Plan for 2011 – 2015 is committed to work closely with its country and territory Members and partners to continue to provide quality advice on protecting and managing island ecosystems as a basis for a sustainable future, including its achievement through the 'green economy'.

 

 With those words, I wish us all a successful meeting.

 

Vinaka vaka levu

 

 

 

Nanette Woonton

Media and Public Relations Officer

The Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme SPREP

T: (685) 66 305

W: www.sprep.org

Bionesian Blog: www.bionesian.blogspot.com

2009 SPREP Annual Report English Link:

http://www.sprep.org/att/publication/000865_SPREP_ANNUAL_REPORT_2009.pdf

 

 

 

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[pima.nius] Tongan King's NZ residence sale on hold

12:33 PM |

Tongan King's NZ residence sale on hold

Updated July 28, 2011 16:42:56

The King of Tonga, George Tupou V, has suffered a legal setback in his bid to sell the Royal Family's official residence in Auckland, 'Atalanga.

He's withdrawn his objection to a caveat blocking the proposed sale from a group of New Zealand-based Tongan lawyers.

They say the property was bought with Tongan government money and not by the King's grandmother, Queen Salote with her own funds, and that means it's not the King's to sell.

One of the lawyers, Joel Fotu, describes us the legal ramifications of the latest developments.

Presenter: Bruce Hill
Speaker: Joel Fotu, Tongan lawyer based in New Zealand


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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

[pima.nius] Australia looks to work with Cuba on Pacific aid

1:43 PM |

Australia looks to work with Cuba on Pacific aid

Updated July 27, 2011 08:41:34

Australia is looking to work more closely with Cuba in delivering development aid to the Pacific.

Australia's Parliamentary Secretary for Pacific Island Affairs, Richard Marles, visited Cuba last week to hold talks about linking up the countries health assistance programs in the Pacific.

Last week, he also attended the UN security council's debate on climate change held in New York.


Presenter: Geraldine Coutts
Speaker: Richard Marles, Australia's Parliamentary Secretary for Pacific Island Affairs

MARLES: Look we think we've taken the next step forward in doing that. It was a really success to Cuba and Cuba is obviously a fascinating country, but a fascinating player in the development assistance world and it's very renowned in terms of with health. There are ten-of-thousands literally of Cuban doctors around the developing world doing very good work and that includes working in the Pacific and I think they've developed a particular expertise in delivering health care and assistance in developing world settings and we're keen to see how we can, if you like, leverage their expertise against our presence in the Pacific to do something really important. So what we've agreed is we will both participate in a scoping study of Cuban experts and Australian experts hopefully later this year to look at ways in which we can do exactly that and see whether we can ultimately have an agreement about doing that. And I should also say we've taken the first tentative step in relation is actually in Haiti and this occurred prior to my visit, but we do provide some assistance to the provision of Cuban medical assistance in Haiti, after, of course, the tragic earthquake there.

COUTTS: Now you talked about scoping of experts. Is this strictly in health at this stage?

MARLES: Yes, it is. Health is in a sense what the Cubans are most renown for and it does represent the development assistance that they're providing in the Pacific at the moment. So that is what we are looking at seeing how we can work with them to do more in relation to that.

COUTTS: Now health is of course really important and we know that Cuba has many, many universities dedicated to turning out doctors, alone a speciality there. For a small country and a small economy, what's the thinking, why are they doing that?

MARLES: I think that's a really good question and it's one I asked a number of people, including the foreign minister and we also visited a place called the Latin American School of Medicine, which despite its name is actually providing medical training to people from all over the world, including some 160 odd students from the Pacific. So they are drawing people from the developing world to Cuba and giving them medical training and for a full six year course and at the end of it, people go back as trained doctors. I think in answer to your question they see that health care is an important, well it's probably the key social indicator. It's something that they have focused on very heavily within their own country. I think in the process of doing that they have developed a particular expertise around how to develop a health care system in a developing setting and in a setting where there isn't a lot of money going around and this is now something that they feel they can share with the rest of the world and somebody said to me it's kind of in the Cuba DNA now to provide healthcare assistance to as many countries as possible and that's what they're doing.

COUTTS: What's in it for them, who funds all of this?

MARLES: Well, the Cuban government fund it and I mean a good question again, what's in for them. Well, I think they're engaging in developing assistance for the same reasons that we are, that they're in the sense of this is the right thing to do in terms of helping the developing world. I also think it's important for them in terms of building their international profile.

COUTTS: Now last time we spoke Mr. Marles, you talked about going to Cuba, because you wanted to explore non-traditional aid partners. Is Cuba the first of those? Will there be more?

MARLES: Look, there could be more and I think Cuba is probably the best example right now and well put it this way, for me, doing this work in the Pacific. It was a surprise to come across Cuba as a player within the Pacific providing development assistance. It's a little counter intuitive, but the fact of the matter is they're there and they're doing good work and so yeah, I think they are the best example and I suppose what it really says that from our point of view, we don't see the Pacific as an exclusive domain of Australia's or New Zealand's where we're the only ones allowed to provide development assistance, that's not how we see the world. If there are countries wanting to do work in the Pacific and wanting to help in development assistance work in the Pacific, then we think that is fundamentally a good thing and the only thing we want to do in relation to that is to say hey, let's work together in doing that. And so true to our word, when we've seen Cuba out there doing such good work, we've approached them and sort to leverage our presence with their expertise and their work to see if we can do something really good.

COUTTS: And now to the first part of that particular trip, where you went to the UN and hosted by the Security Council was the climate change debate. Now whether it was your comments or whether it was generally a point taken at that debate, but China and India were not happy that the responsibility of the debate was going to the Security Council. They feel that it was outside the brief of the Security Council and that caused a lot of attention. Why was that so heatedly objected to by China and India?

MARLES: Look, there is a debate, you're right in whether or not the Security Council ought to be seized of this issue and the point that we made is simply that it's not that we think that the Security Council is the primary place that ought to be dealing with the issue of climate change within the UN system. Quite the contrary really, we see that the main efforts of the UN is engaging in relation to climate change should continue to be the UN framework convention on climate change which, of course, met at Cancun last year and will meet at Durban again this year, that is the forum where the real debate around efforts around mitigation are taking place. But we do think that there are security implications for the debate around climate change and climate change is clearly going to have an impact on water availability, of food security and in the case of the islands of the Pacific. It represents a big and existential threat to their existence of any conflict that's going around in the world today. And for all these reasons, there is at least a security dimension to the question of climate change and the Security Council ought to be considering that.

Now I think that was a view that was shared by many within the debate of the UN Security Council. You're right though in saying that both India and China and a number of other countries were concerned and it really goads the question of their sense of what this Security Council ought to do. But I don't want to overstate it, but there was a modest step forward in the context of this debate, a presidential statement was made the president of the Security Council. This really represents the first utterance by the Security Council on the question of climate change and that occurred as a result of this debate. So we were pretty pleased actually with the step that was taken forward by this debate.

COUTTS: Do you think that China and India were opportunists in making this claim and tabling the objection to distract from the constant criticism levelled at them for not doing more about carbon trading, carbon emissions?

MARLES: Oh no, I wouldn't say that. I understand the concern they have and I think to be honest, it was legitimately put from their perspective about what the role of the UN Security Council is, and so I wouldn't want to denigrate their argument. I think it was legitimately put, but it's not an argument with which we agree and the point that we made is the UN Security Council is already looking at questions such as poverty or HIV AIDS as root causes to all its global conflicts and just those issues are being dealt primarily in other parts of the UN system, but given that there is a potential security implication through them, it's important that the Security Council thinks about them or similarly we think that it's important that the Security Council is seized of and is thinking about the issue of climate change and that's why we raised the debate and it didn't surprise us that there were people who were or countries that looked at that and questioned it, but that's exactly why you have a debate and we think the debate issue forward in that sense.

COUTTS: Now the next leg of your travels is to Vanuatu. What's on the agenda for you there?

MARLES: Well, we're keen to meet the Vanuatu government and we're also visiting Kiribati and at the end of the week, we've got what will be a fantastic opportunity to visit Wallis and Futuna. But in terms of I think Vanuatu and Kiribati is an important place to visit after the UN Security Council debate actually to look at the issues of climate change and most other issue, but we're keen to keep in regular contact with all the countries of the Pacific and so this will be an important trip to maintain that contact.

COUTTS: And a lot of the travel that you've been doing and there's been a lot of it, is that leading up to the forum and to make sure that Australia has an investment in the agenda of the forum coming up at the end of August?

MARLES: Sure, I mean the forum is a question which is moving large in the next couple of months, but I think it's a bit bigger than that. I think someone who's holding my position within the Australian government ought to be in the Pacific pretty regularly and from my point of view, I want to make sure that I get around to all the countries, but not just once, get around to them frequently, to deal with the many issues that are on the agenda and I have no doubt that we will talk about that this week in the context of the forum coming up in the next month or so. But whether or not the forum is there I will still be out there in the Pacific talking about the issues of the day.

COUTTS: Well Vanuatu, you're going there. Will you have the judiciary on your agenda there. It's taken a bit of stick. It's drawn a lot of attention over Minister Harry Iauko assault on a publisher there and the very light sentence that was handed out. Will you be looking at the judiciary there and having a say in the same manner you might have compared with what has been said about Fiji?

MARLES: Look, we'll be talking with the Vanuatu government about a range of issues that have happened over the last well, since I last visited Vanuatu, which was earlier in the year about the judiciary, but we'll be talking to them about a range of issues and along with obviously the big issues which are facing the Pacific, such as Fiji. I've no doubt that it will come up in our discussions as well.

COUTTS: Former ombudsman, Marie-Noelle Ferrieux-Patterson says that the judiciary doesn't seem to care about international opinion and so it continues along its merry way about the way it handles the judiciary and again, the light sentence that was handed out. Is it a bit hypocritical that we're not coming down on Vanuatu in the same way we might in Fiji if the same thing happened there?

MARLES: Oh well, firstly I think what's going on in Vanuatu is really not the same in terms of what's going on in Fiji, so I wouldn't think that we should be approaching it in the same way to be honest. And as I say, I will be raising a range of issues with the Vanuatu government.


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[pima.nius] FIJI MEDIA WARNED AGAINST REPORTING TOURIST DEATHS

1:41 PM |

FIJI MEDIA WARNED AGAINST REPORTING TOURIST DEATHS
Blog reports heavy censoring to protect tourism

http://pidp.eastwestcenter.org/pireport/2011/July/07-27-03.htm

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, July 26, 2011) – Fiji's interim regime is denying claims that it's suppressing information about the deaths of of two foreign men so as not to put Australian and New Zealand tourists off visiting the country.

The blog site Coup Four and a Half cites media sources in Suva claiming they have been warned not to report details of the two unrelated deaths - the murder of a New Zealand businessman and the apparent drowning of an American executive.

The site claims the two incidents have gone virtually unreported in Fiji, where emergency regulations imposed by the military regime allow the Ministry of Information to censor news coverage.

The anti-government blog site reported that journalists were told "to downplay both incidents for fear of the repercussions on the country's tourism industry."

New Zealand media has reported that businessman Tony Groom, who ran a charter boat operation in Denarau, had been beaten up and died a week later on July 15.

American Don Nicholas, chief executive of an anti-ageing medical institute, disappeared while surfing in huge swell on a reef off Natadola, south of Nadi.

A Fiji government spokeswoman, Sharon Smith-Jones, said claims the deaths had been censored were untrue, adding that she believed the two incidents had been well covered by local media.

Radio New Zealand International: www.rnzi.com
Copyright © 2010 RNZI. All Rights Reserved


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[pima.nius] Celebrating the Solomon Islands

1:32 PM |




Welcome to our Solomon's Special midwinter newsletter.

We're sure you will want to join us in congratulating Ellie Fa'amauri- Firisua. Two of her pieces have been accepted for the NZ Art Show TSB Bank Arena Wellington July 29-31. Ellie puts a lot of thought into her unique canvases. Her careful and precise technique reflects the precision of the Solomon carvers of artefacts in earlier centuries. Ellie says of her work "The more time I spend learning of the Western art context (the more) my identity has been shifted which directs me to visually translate and examine what underpins my falafala (culture)."

Ellie will be in Wellington on Saturday 30th July, so if you would like the opportunity to meet her and get a deeper understanding of her work, please contact me on 027 285 4350 to make a time.

If you are in Auckland you will also be able to meet Ellie at work in the Cloud during the Pacific Islands Forum in September. The acclaimed Pan Pipers from the Solomons will also feature in the public programme. More details to come in the next newsletter.

Image: Ellie Fa'amauri - Firisua, Art32011, Acrylic on canvas

Learn more

We now have new Solomon Islands Wood block prints in stock. They are on quality paper in a range of sizes by artists invited to Pataka Museum in Porirua last year. The subjects include nguzunguzu, dolphins and other fish.

Ralph Ako is professional carver from Bareho Island, Marovo Lagoon. He was part of Michel Tuffery and Chris Delany's 1996 NZ Aid workshop and then again in Vanuatu at the Artists in Development Programme (UNESCO). He has continued to make fibre paper and carve/print blocks. He has work in international collections and has exhibited in the Solomon's , Noumea, Vanuatu and NZ. Ralph and his brother Randal live in the same area as Aldio Pita (see okai website) and have continued to wood block print since 1996 - as it gives them an alternative medium to record custom designs and motifs especially as wood for sculptural carving is scarce there now . These prints have great appeal to the tourists in the Solomon Islands and are popular with visitors to okai in Auckland.

Image: Artist Ralph Ako

Coming up

August. A weekend afternoon with Fatu Feu'u and his early and new works at okai@Reef. We'll send you the details as soon as we have confirmed with Fatu.

September 6- 9. Okai artists and their work at the Cloud for the 40th Anniversary of the Pacific Islands Forum in Auckland

Directors Bridget Marsh 027 5743 438 Marilyn Kohlhase 027 285 4350
Okai @ Reef gallery
Reef Building
Level 1
69 Beach Road
Auckland New Zealand
PO Box 67 153 Mt Eden Auckland 1349
Email: people@okaioceanikart.com
Website: www.okaioceanikart.com




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Tuesday, July 26, 2011

[pima.nius] Tongan women combine to boost business

2:07 PM |

Tongan women combine to boost business

Updated July 26, 2011 09:06:51

Tongan women with a passion for business have joined together to create the WISE women network.

The Women in Sustainable Enterprises group was set up to create more businesses opportunities for women through training and mentoring programs.

The network already has 140 members including business leaders, home-based entrepreneurs and aspiring business women.


Presenter: Geraldine Coutts
Speaker: Tuna Likiliki, WISE network board member

LIKILIKI: For us and in Tonga getting into businesses is hard, even for both men and women, but women in particular where a lot of focus is the home. And there's a few successful, quite a few growing in terms of the formal sector, and a lot of small based home businesses. So it's just a matter of getting together to bring together those people with the people in the � to encourage growth and provide them with a place where they can openly ask questions of other women who they view as having accomplished their success, so that encourages those who are just starting out.

COUTTS: Can you give us an example of some of the home-based businesses you're talking about?

LIKILIKI: Ok well there's these people down in Fatai, which is the other side of the island, and they plant beautiful flowers you would see on international arrangements in hotels and stuff like that. And they just sell it like in the marketplace, and then you would have people like florists who would go and just buy those flowers themselves, and create elaborate ones. So it goes from those who are actually grow the flowers to branch out and design their own floral arrangements and getting them in touch with people who can purchase that off them directly.

COUTTS: How does it actually work, how do people or women wanting help know about WISE, the sustainable enterprise group, and what kind of help when they do get in touch with you can you give them?

LIKILIKI: All of our support members we go out in our various villages and we talk to people, so we have one lady who goes out into the other villages as part of her role in her work she has to do that. So she also branches out and talks about WISE. We use email for those who have access to internet, all our phones and our mobiles are given out, and they call us and we just talk to them about processes, who to contact and things like that. But sometimes we find that their basic needs are just not knowing where to go for information and connecting them to that.

COUTTS: And if they need money, are you able to help them with that, can you help them get loans and that side of the business deal?

LIKILIKI: Our focus is on encouraging the entrepreneurial spirit, and mentoring them on ways to do business in a sustainable way, not financing. But we'll mentor them in terms of comparing proposals that they can then take out to SPBD or the banks and start to get the financing.

COUTTS: Now you've got 140 members, in that number are we talking about people whose businesses now have been got up and running because of WISE?

LIKILIKI: No, 140 members is like about over half of it are women who are already running businesses that are recognised here in Tonga, and about half of it is little business that are started up in schools, in canteens and stuff like that. So it's bringing these two sectors together to provide mentoring and skills and things like that. So we've launched last Saturday and the programs going forward will be to provide training for those in the informal sector by those who are actually running businesses in the formal sectors.

COUTTS: Is it run on a voluntary basis?

LIKILIKI: Yes it is, it's run on a voluntary basis, and we have a membership fee that's just very small but it's just to see people that they actually buy into the program. It's only five dollars to be a member if you are in the informal sector, and 20 dollars in the formal sector. So we've had overwhelming support from the business community, as well as New Zealand High Commission and a few others who've given us funding to help this program, because they see the power that women mentoring women, that that actually happens, and the networking and stuff like that just provides confidence for women here in Tonga.

COUTTS: Well it was launched by the Minister for Education and Womens Affairs and Culture just a week ago. It's in its infancy, but where do you see it going in the future?

LIKILIKI: Well our launch was done in a bit of a unconventional way, usually launches here in Tonga are very formal. To create further awareness we did a showcase kind of like that you would see in trade shows and things like that, and it was funded by sponsorships, and we had all the members there, had stalls and stuff just so everybody could see everybody else and create awareness. So now because of that we've got a few more members on and what we see going forward we'll be having our next meeting at the end of the week where we will be deciding the programs for this year before we do our review. But like I said, the programs will be centred around mentoring and bringing together these two groups.


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