Aid, development & collaboration Feed

Are Australian views about aid changing?

Wood   Delivering-ventilators-to-Indonesia
Delivering ventilators to Indonesia in July 2021 (Timothy Tobing, Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade)

TERENCE WOOD
| DevPolicy Blog

CANBERRA - Less than 1% of Australian government spending is devoted to aid.

Aid’s effects are felt in other countries, and its impacts are rarely directly noticeable to Australians.

Continue reading "Are Australian views about aid changing?" »


K90m to boost PNG technical & skills training

Business   ADB Director for PNG & Pacific David Hill & PNG Treasurer Ian Ling-Stuckey ('ADB in the Pacific'  Facebook)
ADB Director for PNG & Pacific David Hill and PNG Treasurer Ian Ling-Stuckey ('ADB in the Pacific' Facebook)

NEWS DESK
| PNG Business News

PORT MORESBY - The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Papua New Guinea government have signed loan and grant agreements of more than $66 million (K90 million) to help improve PNG’s technical and vocational education and training (TVET) program.

The agreements, part of the Improved Technical and Vocational Education and Training for Employment Project approved on 29 November, were signed by PNG Treasurer Ian Ling-Stuckey and ADB Country Director for Papua New Guinea David Hill.

Continue reading "K90m to boost PNG technical & skills training" »


Can onetime ‘greatest of friends’ restore relationship they both desperately need

(PNG Business News)
Papua New Guinea's prime minister James Marape greets his Australian counterpart Anthony Albanese (PNG Business News)

KEITH JACKSON

NOOSA – It’s always good to see Rowan Callick’s byline in The Australian or anywhere else, and the other day it was a delight to read the commentary that followed.

Callick’s an excellent journalist - a former Australian Journalist of the Year with a couple of Walkley Awards and three books to his credit.

Continue reading "Can onetime ‘greatest of friends’ restore relationship they both desperately need" »


In praise of a great doctor - and seed planter

HOGANDE KIAFULI

LAE - The Jimi District in Jiwaka Province is one of the most remote areas in Papua New Guinea.

I have travelled to Middle and Upper Jimi on my way to Kompiam and experienced firsthand the struggles of access that the people of Jimi have when it comes to accessing primary medical services.

Jimi district represents the many rural and remote (some very isolated) places in PNG where accessing primary medical care is limited by poor road access.

Continue reading "In praise of a great doctor - and seed planter" »


Aid: the myth of partnership & collaboration

STEPHEN CHARTERIS

“Audacious women leaders from across the Oceanic Pacific have simply had enough [and] a re-imagined positioning of women in the Oceanic space. When this happens, women can begin to confidently resist being ‘confined physically and psychologically’ by demanding supportive, equitable and decolonised relationships” - ‘Ofakilevuka Guttenbeil-Likiliki, Enough is enough: audaciously decolonising the development and humanitarian nexus, Mitchell Oration 2022

CAIRNS – ‘Ofakilevaku (‘Ofa) Guttenbeil-Likiliki is Director of the Women & Children Crisis Centre in Tonga and a filmmaker and women’s rights activist.

In a recent speech she addressed a serious and not uncommon issue: the high-handed attitudes of those who believe they know better than people with lived experience.

Continue reading "Aid: the myth of partnership & collaboration" »


There are ways to keep our country united

A G SATORI

PORT MORESBY - I am not as pessimistic as Mathias Kin about the future of Papua New Guinea as a capable and united country.

Highlanders are most enterprising and will pull a good sweat to achieve something.

It is this attribute the nation should try to harness in a proper way.

Continue reading "There are ways to keep our country united" »


With foresight, PNG can be a force of nature

KANNI WIGNARAJA & DIRK WAGENER
| United Nations Development Programme

PORT MORESBY - Papua New Guinea’s natural beauty is undeniable. Home to lush tropical rainforests, magnificent mountains and pristine islands and seas, PNG is one of the world’s 17 megadiverse countries, accounting for about five percent of global biodiversity.

A little-known fact is that the country’s rainforest is the third largest in the world.

PNG also lies at the heart of the Coral Triangle – a region that is home to 76% of all known coral species.

Continue reading "With foresight, PNG can be a force of nature" »


17m population shock was hidden from public

The 17 million population estimate rang alarm bells in Canberra and was considered so sensitive the PNG government initially refused permission for it to be published

Koki in Port Moresby  Papua New Guinea
Koki, a suburb of Port Moresby best known for its market and other commercial activities

BEN PACKHAM & TICKY FULLERTON
| The Australian

CANBERRA - A new United Nations study has found Papua New Guinea could have a population of 17 million – almost double the official estimate.

The new population forecast would, if accurate, would slash measures of PNG’s living standards and ramp up concerns over its fragility as a nation state.

Continue reading "17m population shock was hidden from public" »


The puzzle of development: Is it good or bad?

PHILIP FITZPATRICK

TUMBY BAY – This may surprise you, but it’s a statement of truth: Many countries we term ‘developing’ don’t need development to create democracy.

And this is because traditional societies in countries like Papua New Guinea were always democratic, possibly more so than countries like Australia and the USA which boast about their democracies.

What these former colonised countries now need are governments that uphold the democracies they once knew.

Continue reading "The puzzle of development: Is it good or bad?" »


PNGAA establishes school scholarship fund

CHRIS PEARSALL
| President PNGAA

SYDNEY - Earlier this year, the Papua New Guinea Association of Australia began exploring ways to increase its active involvement with PNG for the benefit of PNG and its people.

Several potential activities were examined but in the end, it was decided to establish a fund to provide secondary school scholarships to selected PNG students.

It was decided to focus on the West Sepik Province, one of the least wealthy provinces where secondary students are disadvantaged due to high unemployment and the inability of parents to pay school fees.

Continue reading "PNGAA establishes school scholarship fund" »


Development is difficult & culture is beautiful

TONY SULUPIN

Beauty of Enga Culture: Untold Stories by Tony Sulupin, Edited by Daniel Kumbon & Barry Taverner, Independently Published, 2022, 206 pages. ISBN: 9798364376510. It is available from Amazon in the USA for US$13.78

LAGAIP – After I completed my schooling in 2007, a new chapter in my life began when New Britain Palm Oil Limited in Kimbe hired me as a plantation supervisor.

I completed my industrial training with the company and enjoyed the work immensely but a nagging thought kept disturbing me.

I wanted to do something personally that would yield benefits for my marginalised people in the central Highlands. So I resigned from NBPOL and returned home.

Continue reading "Development is difficult & culture is beautiful" »


Francesca’s mission to empower the needy

 

Semoso top
Participants in the Bougainville-UNDP Entrepreneurship and Innovation Course

NEWS DESK
| United Nations Development Program (UNDP)

PORT MORESBY - Francesca Semoso has made it her business to empower Bougainville’s women and youth to develop their entrepreneurship and good ideas by using simple resources in their communities.

Francesca is a revered and legendary female leader from the coconut fringed beaches and crystal-clear waters of the Autonomous Region of Bougainville.

Continue reading "Francesca’s mission to empower the needy" »


UN project addresses unsustainable farming

New Britain island is under threat from rapid forest loss due to agricultural conversion with over 450,000 hectares under permits for forest clearance

West New Britain dancers welcome delegates to the official launch (Clive Hawigen  UNDP Papua New Guinea)
West New Britain dancers welcome delegates to the official launch of the sustainable development project (Clive Hawigen,  UNDP )

NEWS DESK
| United Nations Development Program

PORT MORESBY - A project has been launched in West New Britain to promote sustainable land-use.

New Britain island’s ecosystems range from dense lowland plains to a central mountainous spine with peaks of over 2,000 meters.

Continue reading "UN project addresses unsustainable farming" »


Drug syndicates boost activity in the Pacific

The Pacific Islands are not only becoming a destination for drugs like methamphetamine and cocaine, they are places where criminals can take advantage of weak or out-of-date laws and police largely focused on local policing and public order

Pacific sunset

ERICH PARPART
| Voice of America | Edited extracts

BANGKOK — The Pacific Islands are increasingly being used as a transit point for transnational crime, including drug trafficking and money laundering, experts say.

Criminal organisations from Asia and the Americas are exploiting limited law enforcement resources in the region.

Continue reading "Drug syndicates boost activity in the Pacific" »


How to stabilise PNG & other fragile states

Fragile states emerged as an area of concern in the 1990s in the fields of security and development. This book (free to download) considers the dimensions of fragility that can be influenced by policy action

nternally displaced persons
Children in a camp for internally displaced persons in northern Afghanistan (Eric Kanalstein, UN)

NEMATULLAH BIZHAN
| Edited extracts

PORT MORESBY - Fragile states, amongst which I number Papua New Guinea, endanger the lives of citizens and expose societies to the risk of collapse.

When this happens, famine, violent disorder and economic distress can displace millions of people, with consequent impacts on surrounding regions.

Continue reading "How to stabilise PNG & other fragile states" »


Why do we ignore a world at breaking point?

The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) is actively supporting Papua New Guinea to lower its greenhouse gas emissions and embrace a transformation to a green and sustainable economy. It is part of ushering in a new era to reshape our future

Students frm la Salle Technical College  HoholaStudents from la Salle Technical High School, Hohola (Clive Hawigen, UNDP)

DIRK WAGENER
| UNDP Resident Representative, Papua New Guinea

PORT MORESBY - Is the imminent climate catastrophe driving humanity to extinction?

How do we effectively reduce global greenhouse emissions and counter the cost-of-living crisis that is triggering hardship and poverty for billions? Humanity seems paralysed – why?

Continue reading "Why do we ignore a world at breaking point?" »


Real change in PNG must start at the base

"I wonder if the consultants ever get beyond the boundary of Port Moresby or any of the provincial capitals? Have these people spent even a month living in a community?"

Villagers

STEPHEN CHARTERIS

CAIRNS - As Chris Overland writes, corruption is an insidious cancer, and nothing will change at the top until outcomes are changed at the base.

I think it’s fair to say that elected representatives are a reflection of the expectations of the people who vote for them.

Continue reading "Real change in PNG must start at the base" »


UN offers safety to survivors of violence

The House of Hope provides emotional, physical and material assistance to restore the dignity of survivors of violence and to promote their recovery and empowerment

House rules and artwork done by survivors of sorcery accusation related violence at the House of Hope. It is part of the rehabilitation process and therapy for survivors (Gerard Ng  UNDP Papua New Guinea)
House rules and artwork done by survivors of sorcery accusation related violence at the House of Hope. It is part of the rehabilitation process and therapy for survivors (Gerard Ng,  UNDP Papua New Guinea)

NEWS DESK
| United Nations Development Program PNG

PORT MORESBY - Since the beginning of this year, the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), through its partner Catholic Diocese of Mendi, has reached over 1,000 people through 17 awareness programs on sorcery accusation related violence (SARV).

Responding to the grave human rights violations resulting from SARV in Southern Highlands Province, the Catholic Diocese of Mendi actively advocates against the practice and provides post-violence victim recovery support through a safe house – the House of Hope.

Continue reading "UN offers safety to survivors of violence" »


Australia wants 'closest possible relationship'

"Our traditional partners have always been Australia when it comes to trade, economics, security and we will continue to do so to make sure we have a safe region” - Justin Tkatchenko

Senator Penny Wong
Senator Penny Wong says Papua New Guinea and Australia "must have the"closest possible relationship. Our futures are tied together"

KIRSTY NEEDHAM
| Reuters

SYDNEY - Australia wants the closest possible relationship with Papua New Guinea, said foreign minister Penny Wong, on her first official visit to the country amid competition with China for influence.

PNG had previously turned down a Chinese offer to redevelop a naval base and Canberra is funding Telstra's acquisition of PNG's biggest mobile provider, Digicel, to counter growing Chinese influence in the Pacific Islands.

Continue reading "Australia wants 'closest possible relationship'" »


Troubled PNG poll should be wake-up call

Responsibility for the election lies with PNG but Australia’s support was clearly inadequate. A renewed Australian commitment to the Pacific demands more in helping to deliver safe and credible elections in the region

PNG lead image

MIHAI SORA
| The Interpreter | Lowy Institute

SYDNEY - It has been a difficult election period for Papua New Guinea.

Outbreaks of violence in the nation’s capital Port Moresby and other parts of the country have disrupted voting and counting, leading to the PNG Governor General granting a two-week extension to 12 August for the return of writs. This has been pared back to 5 August.

Continue reading "Troubled PNG poll should be wake-up call" »


Red Cross tries never to leave a victim behind

As tribal conflicts unfold across the Highlands, safe access to health care is under threat. In conflict-affected parts of the country, clinics are in ruins and staff flee for their lives. These ongoing attacks are leaving many thousands without adequate access to health care

A Katiloma 3
Rowena Kasunu, a missionary from the Kambia tribe in Southern Highlands Province, stands outside Katiloma village’s health-care clinic, which was attacked during a tribal fight and remains closed. The health post used to service four tribes in the area

ANDREW KOBYLINSKI
| International Committee of the Red Cross

CANBERRA - 'Fighting in Papua New Guinea? Really?' This is the usual response I get when I tell people about the work the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) undertakes in PNG alongside the PNG Red Cross.

While only four kilometres in the Torres Strait separate Australia and PNG, an understanding of the struggles faced by our next-door neighbour is distant for most Australians.

Continue reading "Red Cross tries never to leave a victim behind" »


Rising from the ashes: a TV series reviewed

A communications response to the challenges of life in rural Papua New Guinea uses storytelling to change attitudes and behaviour.
“My daughters have no mother. My son has no mother. I have no wife”

Village - top
A scene from It Takes A Village

GRACE HEAOA

PORT MORESBY - ‘It takes a village’ is a five-part Papua New Guinean television drama drawing attention to the plight of pregnant women and the risks of childbirth.

Rex is an emerging rugby league star in his local village and his wife, Miriam, is expecting their third child.

Continue reading "Rising from the ashes: a TV series reviewed" »


The Pacific Visa quotas need to be strategic

Ten countries should be considered for quotas: PNG, Solomon Islands, Timor-Leste & Vanuatu (currently very limited access to Australia); Kiribati, Tuvalu & Nauru (climate-affected atolls); Fiji, Samoa & Tonga (good access to Australia via New Zealand) 

Australian Visa

STEPHEN HOWES
| DevPolicy Blog | Edited extracts

CANBERRA - Australian foreign minister Penny Wong was putting it mildly when she noted “a positive response” to the new Labor government’s confirmation it would introduce a new permanent residency visa category for the Pacific.

Under the Pacific Engagement Visa scheme commencing in July 2023, each year 3,000 visas will be issued annually via a lottery with country-specific quotas.

Continue reading "The Pacific Visa quotas need to be strategic" »


Smiles in Suva: but the map ahead is unclear

The Pacific Islands Forum was happy to welcome rookie prime minister Anthony Albanese, but his attempt to brag about Australia’s ‘influence’ in the Pacific was seen as unwanted political game-playing

Forum - Albanese (William West)
Anthony Albanese goes for the selfie money shot but the rookie Australian prime minister has a bit to learn about the practice of diplomacy

TESS NEWTON CAIN & STEFAN ARMBRUSTER
| DevPolicy Blog

BRISBANE - Last week’s meeting of leaders of the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) was keenly anticipated and came at a critical juncture for the region.

It was the first in-person meeting since Tuvalu in 2019. Since then, a lot has happened.

Continue reading "Smiles in Suva: but the map ahead is unclear" »


A world imperilled at the end of US leadership

Jeffrey Sachs highlights the damaging US mindset that the world should revolve around it, which is undermining the need for regional cooperation to get on top of the huge problems facing the planet

KEITH JACKSON
| Drawn from John Menadue’s Pearls and Irritations and other sources

NOOSA - In this speech made by Jeffrey Sachs ahead of late June’s NATO Summit in Madrid, he offers a view of a world in a great mess and which needs to renew diplomacy, negotiation, cooperation and collaboration to solve the immense problems humanity is facing.

Sachs, a professor of sustainable development and professor of health policy at Columbia University in USA, has served as an adviser to three United Nations secretaries-general and is an economist who advised on economic reforms in Russia and several Eastern European nations in the 1990s.

Continue reading "A world imperilled at the end of US leadership" »


We're back in the Pacific big time, says the US

“We will embark on a new chapter in our partnership, a chapter with increased American presence, where we commit to work with you in the short and long term to take on the most pressing issues that you face"

US vice-president Kamala Harris addresses Pacific Forum leaders (Sam Sachdeva  Newsroom RNZ)
US vice-president Kamala Harris addresses Pacific Forum leaders yesterday (Sam Sachdeva,  Newsroom RNZ)

NEWS DESK
| Radio New Zealand Pacific | Edited

AUCKLAND - United States vice-president Kamala Harris has assured Pacific Islands Forum leaders who are meeting in Suva that the US will “significantly deepen” its engagement in the region.

Harris virtually joined the regional leaders to announce half a dozen new commitments including establishing embassies in Kiribati and Tonga, tripling funding for economic development and ocean resilience and the appointing the first-ever US envoy to the Forum.

Continue reading "We're back in the Pacific big time, says the US" »


China's moves take shape in Torres Strait

All the indications are that there is much more push and shove to come before we know whether China will have a tangible presence on the Torres Strait – and whose military and navy will occupy two proposed bases at Ihu

Ihu Zeng Aeo dig first soil
Ihu Special Economic Zone groundbreaking ceremony by cheerful Chinese ambassador Zeng Fanhua and PNG foreign minister Soroi Eoe. The project is of vast importance to the impoverished Gulf Province but poses strategic problems for Australia as China seeks to consolidate its interests in the Torres Strait region

KEITH JACKSON

NOOSA - Reports in the Australian media that China is readying to build a military base at Ihu Papua New Guinea’s Gulf Province have been dismissed as “baseless and hype” by the Chinese embassy in Port Moresby.

China has reacted with anger to media reports that the developing Ihu Special Economic Zone at Kikori in Gulf Province will be a platform for a Chinese military base.

Continue reading "China's moves take shape in Torres Strait" »


Patronising the ‘Pacific family’ we never had

“The 'family' construct is inappropriate in a context where Australia should be seeking to forge mature, meaningful and equivalent relationships with Pacific Island nations. The whole theme is patronising, inane and quite weird” – Keith Jackson

Morrison pacific

BINOY KAMPMARK
| Pearls & Irritations

MELBOURNE - When will this nonsense on familial connection between Australia and the Pacific end?

In 2018, Australia’s then Pentecostal prime minister, Scott Morrison, drew upon a term that his predecessors had not.

Continue reading "Patronising the ‘Pacific family’ we never had" »


Gift Pacific patrol boats have major defects

Austal’s vessels have a chequered history, including bad cracking and delays due to the use of poor quality aluminium

Austal-delivers-15t-guardian-class-patrol-boat

MAX OPRAY
| Schwartz Media

MELBOURNE - Major design flaws have been identified among a fleet of Australian patrol boats given to Pacific nations.

The flaws include cracks in the exhaust that allow carbon monoxide to enter a compartment, cracking in the coupling linking the engine and gearbox, and poor ventilation in sick bays.

Continue reading "Gift Pacific patrol boats have major defects" »


Pacific Forum to keep US & China on the outer

The ABC has been told that dialogue partners meetings will not be held during the Forum, effectively locking out politicians and officials from countries outside the region

Pacific-Islands-Forum

STEPHEN DZIEDZIC
ABC News | Edited extracts

Link here for Stephen Dziedcic’s complete article

CANBERRA - The Pacific's peak diplomatic body looks set to exclude the United States, China and several other major countries from a crucial leaders meeting in Fiji next month.

The move has been analysed as helping to shelter the Pacific Islands from intensifying geostrategic competition in the region.

Continue reading "Pacific Forum to keep US & China on the outer" »


Fee-free education in PNG flawed, says NRI

Research suggests that policy-makers now need to focus on the less politically popular aspects of education policy, such as improving teacher quality and oversight and monitoring

Class

NEWSDESK
| Radio New Zealand | Pacific News

AUCKLAND - More than 10 years after it started, big changes are being called for in Papua New Guinea's tuition fee-free education system, introduced by the O'Neill government in 2011.

The National Research Institute (NRI) in PNG has conducted an assessment in East Sepik and Morobe provinces and found that, while fee-free education improved access for many students, the quality of education was undermined.

Continue reading "Fee-free education in PNG flawed, says NRI" »


Life with the Hewas - the missionary's story

“This is who we are, this is what we are. We are on the Jesus trail. We are Jesus’ followers, and we need you to stay with us because this is all new to us. So stay here and keep living with us” - People of Yifki

MAF - Yifki airstrip (Annelie Edsmyr)
Yifki airstrip - "We hiked everywhere and finally located the perfect valley in the Yifki area"

JONATHAN KOPF
| New Tribes Mission | MAF | Edited

The Hewa tribe of somewhere between 3,000 and 6,000 people lives in little hamlets scattered over 100 km of rugged terrain in the Papua New Guinea Highlands. In 2000 the New Tribes Mission’s Jonathan Kopf, with his wife and family, began to live and work among these people. This is their story. Photos by Annelie Adsmyr

MT HAGEN -– When we arrived in Fiyawena village, the people were eager to have us there and excited to hear the message of the light.

“We’re in the darkness of the jungle, and we know you have the story of the light,” they said. “We want to hear that story.”

Continue reading "Life with the Hewas - the missionary's story" »


A fine project in which our readers can help

The ABC’S international media development unit supports democratic governance by strengthening public interest journalism capable of holding Asia-Pacific institutions to account

ABC training in media skills

KEITH JACKSON

NOOSA - Like so many people before him, Daniel Mee stumbled by accident upon PNG Attitude –and liked what he saw.

Not just a treasure trove of information but a network of many hundreds of people who maintain a close affiliation with Papua New Guinea.

Continue reading "A fine project in which our readers can help " »


Solomons: a better understanding is needed

Most Pacific Island nations, including Papua New Guinea and Fiji, have not voiced opposition to the China-Solomons agreement and understand its context

Nanau - China
National flags of Solomon Islands and China flutter in Tiananmen Square, Beijing (Reuters)

GORDON NANAU
| East Asia Forum

SUVA - A draft security agreement between Solomon Islands and China was leaked on social media on 24 March 2022, sparking anxious reactions locally and internationally.

On 19 April, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin announced the agreement had been signed, and this was confirmed by Solomon Islands foreign affairs minister Jeremiah Manele.

Continue reading "Solomons: a better understanding is needed" »


Pacific labour mobility: staggering upward

While the final few years of Coalition rule saw rapid growth in Pacific labour mobility, they were also years in which policy coherence began to suffer, if not fall apart

A PALM worker (World Bank)
The Pacific Australia Labour Mobility scheme has staggered forward but now promises the prospect of both temporary and permanent migration to Australia

 

STEPHEN HOWES
| DevPolicy Blog | Edited

CANBERRA - The Coalition government led by John Howard was disastrous for Pacific labour mobility.

By contrast, the Abbott-Turnbull-Morrison government was very good for it, though at the end the limits and contradictions of its approach were apparent.

Continue reading "Pacific labour mobility: staggering upward" »


Much of PNG's K2.4b aid doesn't trickle down

If Australia’s aid program had been better administered and less affected by political influence, PNG would now be reaping the benefits

A
Australian diplomat Will Robinson hands a box of medical equipment to then health boss, the late Dr Paison Dakulala

PHILIP FITZPATRICK

TUMBY BAY - A cardinal mistake Australia made, and continues to make, in relation to Papua New Guinea is its extremely generous and sustained provision of about half a billion dollars a year in aid money.

Australia’s promise of ongoing funding aid to PNG was originally used as an inducement to accelerate its progress to independence.

Continue reading "Much of PNG's K2.4b aid doesn't trickle down" »


PNG & the Pacific score a minister for action

'I think the key thing is to build a relationship based on mutual respect. It can't be a transactional relationship where our interest waxes and wanes. A deeply respectful relationship is key'

Albo conroy
Pat Conroy MP, wife Keara and their children and prime minister Anthony Albanese after the new Australian ministry was sworn in last month 

KEITH JACKSON

NOOSA – Richard Marles is now Australia’s deputy prime minister and defence minister.

When I met him about 10 years ago, he was the Labor government’s parliamentary secretary for Pacific Islands affairs and I was unimpressed.

Continue reading "PNG & the Pacific score a minister for action" »


The Coalition & aid: a story of two halves

Whereas Bishop seemed to be genuinely enthusiastic about aid, Payne hardly ever spoke about it, and it was impossible to work out what she thought about the subject

Bishop-and-Payne (DFAT)
Julie Bishop and Senator Marise Payne (DFAT)

STEPHEN HOWES
| DevPolicy Blog

CANBERRA – When it comes to Australian aid, the Coalition government’s just ended nine-year reign can be divided into two periods.

From September 2013, when it came to power; to August 2018, when Julie Bishop resigned as foreign minister after the Liberal Party turned against prime minister Malcolm Turnbull and replaced him with Scott Morrison.

Continue reading "The Coalition & aid: a story of two halves" »


Australia’s aid program needs to be focused

While rebuilding a strong and effective aid program will take time, there are already in existence opportunities to increase funding for highly effective multilateral programs

The 30-year demolition of Australia's foreign aid (Australian Council for International Development)
The 30-year demolition of Australia's foreign aid budget, 1972-2022 (Australian Council for International Development)

MATT MORRIS
| Twitter | Edited

CANBERRA - Poverty reduction and the United Nations’ sustainable development goals offer a good guiding framework for development aid.

Within this, however, Australia needs to carefully prioritise its aid spending both within countries and in its global programs.

Continue reading "Australia’s aid program needs to be focused" »


Five new ideas for Australia & the Pacific

There are ways in which the tone and tenor of Australia’s relationships with the Pacific can be shifted, expanded and improved

Cain - aid plane solomons
Australian High Commission personnel in the Solomons await the arrival of a shipment of aid material (DFAT)

TESS NEWTON CAIN

BRISBANE - The significance of the Pacific Islands region to the new Albanese government was clear from the start.

Between being sworn in as foreign minister and getting on a plane to Tokyo, Senator Penny Wong recorded a video message for the Pacific signalling a step change and promising to visit ‘soon’.

Continue reading "Five new ideas for Australia & the Pacific" »


Progress often needs more than a road

The people of Milne Bay have a point. They have the makings of prosperity and connectivity. But a road from the capital would not necessarily bring them anything but strife

Green alotau sign

JOHN GREENSHIELDS

ADELAIDE – Not long ago, Papua New Guinea’s prime minister James Marape convened a stakeholder meeting to discuss Connect PNG – a 20-year plan to increase strategic road connections across the country.

Australian high commissioner Jon Philp told the meeting that Australia continued to support strategic and high-quality infrastructure projects as a tool to promote economic prosperity.

Continue reading "Progress often needs more than a road" »


A muted battle for the Pacific is enjoined

After a decade of neglect, and in some cases mockery, alliance repair in the Pacific Islands will not be achieved by policy shift alone

China - Section of China's draft action plan for the Pacific
A section of China's leaked draft action plan for the Pacific Islands

PAUL OATES

CLEVELAND QLD – We in the south-western Pacific find ourselves in a volatile regional situation that we have not seen since 1942 and where we are unsure of precisely, or even generally, of what might happen.

Perhaps our first problem is that we do not fully understand the intentions of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), the effective government of China.

Continue reading "A muted battle for the Pacific is enjoined" »


China’s new Pacific plan is a game-changer

You only have to look at a map to deduce the basic logic of what China is up to. This is prime real estate

Albo
Anthony Albanese will step up discussions with Pacific Island nations as Australia tries strengthen its relationships amid China's plan to sign trade and cooperation deals with 10 countries (Yuichi Yamazaki, Getty Images)

DAVID RISING & NICK PERRY
| The Associated Press

WELLINGTON, NEW ZEALAND - When China signed a security pact with the Solomon Islands in April it raised concerns from the USA, Australia and other allies that Beijing may be seeking a military outpost in the South Pacific, an area of traditional American naval dominance.

But China upped the ante further this week, reaching out to the Solomon Islands and nine other island nations with a sweeping security proposal that, even if only partially realised, could give it a presence in the Pacific much nearer Hawaii, Australia, New Zealand and on the doorstep of the strategic American territory of Guam.

Continue reading "China’s new Pacific plan is a game-changer" »


People power: The fight to save the Huon Gulf

It is time human rights and the environment were respected by Australian companies. PNG should not be a dumping ground

Manu Peni & Boe Spearim
Emmanuel (Manu) Peni with Boe Spearim of Let's Talk, a program of Australia's National Indigenous Radio Service

EMMANUEL PENI & LUKE FLETCHER

WEWAK - In Papua New Guinea, the election campaign is heating up ahead of national general elections in July.

Part of the PNG government’s election messaging is focused on its commitment to the Wafi Golpu joint venture project – an immense proposed copper and gold mine in Morobe Province.

As with the Frieda River mine in the Sepik, there are serious concerns about how to manage the huge volume of toxic mine waste the project will produce.

Continue reading "People power: The fight to save the Huon Gulf" »


China’s long head start in the Pacific

Australia needs a Catch-Up not a Step-Up in its relationship with the Pacific Islands, and this week started on the long diplomatic journey

Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi (Tiziana Fabi  Reuters)
Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi (Tiziana Fabi, Reuters)

KEITH JACKSON

NOOSA – China is now seeking to build upon its existing diplomatic relations with 10 Pacific Islands countries with what it terms ‘a comprehensive strategic partnership featuring mutual respect and common development’.

It has been working towards this wider alliance since November 2014, when President Xi Jinping met in Fiji with the Pacific Islands states with which it had diplomatic relations.

The concept was more clearly defined in November 2018 when, during the APEC summit in Port Moresby, Xi held a group meeting with Pacific Islands leaders which further elevated the strategic relationship.

Continue reading "China’s long head start in the Pacific" »


The mess that is the Pacific workers scheme

AABUL RIZVI
| Pearls & Irritations | Edited

Exploitation and abuse of Pacific Islands workers will be turbocharged as their numbers are being ramped up

CANBERRA - One of the symptoms of exploitation in the Pacific Access Labour Migration Scheme (PALMS) is the number of workers who abscond from their employer and apply for asylum.

Since late 2019, over 3,500 people from the Pacific Islands and Timor-Leste have applied for asylum.

Continue reading "The mess that is the Pacific workers scheme" »


Addressing the silence of Period Poverty

Manove - Marawaka airstrip
Unloading a plane at the remote Marawaka airstrip

PRISILLA MANOVE

The silent crisis facing women and girls in rural Papua New Guinea

GOROKA - Last year in May, from Queens Pads PNG here in Goroka, I picked up a large box covered in black tape. The contents of this box were 300 reusable sanitary pads.

Reusable sanitary pads are a big step up from the disposable one-time use sanitary pads currently dominating what is termed the feminine hygiene market.

Continue reading "Addressing the silence of Period Poverty" »


China v the West in great PNG electricity war

ElecRYAN MURDOCK
| Harvard International Review | Extracts

Compared with China, the West’s contributions to electrification are less tangible and far less financially robust

CAMBRIDGE MA USA - Amidst global discussion of the increasingly competitive dynamic emerging between China and the United States, Papua New Guinea represents a potential battlefield.

As the country works to establish a functional electricity network, Chinese and Western-allied involvement in the process has presented a point of competition.

Continue reading "China v the West in great PNG electricity war" »


Goods out, money in: developing rural PNG

Charteris - boys in canoeSTEPHEN CHARTERIS

Rethinking how primary healthcare services are funded & delivered in rural PNG

CAIRNS – It was nearing dusk when we happened upon the two boys.

Relieved though I was to have found human habitation, I couldn't help observing that a shirtless boy at the front of the canoe likely had tuberculosis.

Continue reading "Goods out, money in: developing rural PNG" »


Bougainville to revive tourism after Covid

Bville siwai topNEWS DESK
| New Dawn FM

BUKA – Bougainville vice-president and commerce minister, Patrick Nisira, has said the number of tourists visiting the province has declined because of the continuing Covid pandemic.

He said most present visitors to Bougainville are business people whose work is connected to the development of the province.

Continue reading "Bougainville to revive tourism after Covid" »