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Seagrass: the unsung champions of Pacific marine ecosystem

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In the peaceful water of the Pacific, beneath the gentle sway of the tides lies a hidden world crucial to the health of our oceans: seagrasses. Dr Shalini Singh, Assistant Professor in Fisheries, College of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry at Fiji National University (FNU) sheds light on the often-overlooked wonders of these underwater meadows and their pivotal role in our...

Fishing for consensus: harmful subsidies talks intensify as MC13 nears end

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As the 13th WTO Ministerial Conference (MC13) nears its conclusion, Pacific Island countries have been calling on the biggest subsidisers to halt subsidies to overcapacity and overfishing, and to pledge to lower bad subsidies in future, this week. The world’s biggest subsidisers provide US$20 billion a year to their own fleets to empty the seas of fish. As these countries deplete...

WTO 13th Ministerial Conference extended by one day to facilitate outcomes

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The 13th WTO Ministerial Conference (MC13) has been extended by one day, until Friday 1 March, in order to facilitate outcomes on the main issues at stake. Following the consultations by WTO Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala with the MC13 Chair, Dr Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, and the Minister Facilitators, delegations were informed that MC13 will be extended, with the closing...

Vanuatu Electoral Commission prepares for referendum with new regulation order

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Vanuatu's Referendum Act, CAP 297 of 2006, has never been implemented since its development. In 2023, Parliament introduced proposed amendments to the Constitution, including Article 17 and the insertion of Articles 17A and 17B, requiring a national referendum as per Article 86 of the Constitution. According to the article 86 of the Constitution, a national referendum is required if a constitutional...

French Senate endorses delay for New Caledonia’s provincial elections

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The French Senate on Tuesday voted by a large majority (307 in favour and 34 against) the postponement of New Caledonia's crucial provincial elections later this year. This takes the shape of an “organic law” effectively changing the timeframe for New Caledonia's elections for its three provinces from mid-May to “15 December at the latest”. Another related issue, that would this...

Marshall Islands wants nuclear weapons ban pact amended

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The Pacific nation of the Marshall Islands may formally seek an amendment of a U.N treaty banning nuclear weapons, before it considers acceding to it, its leader said Wednesday. President Hilda Heine told Kyodo News in an interview that if certain provisions in the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons are not changed, “cannot ratify the treaty.” Her remarks came ahead...

Australia must scale up aid for security

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Australia should lift its aid budget by an extra $3 billion (US$1.9 million) over the next four years, as it can't afford to “lack credibility” on key issues such as climate change with its Indo-Pacific neighbours. Australian Council for International Development chief executive Marc Purcell called on the federal government to increase funding for aid by $648 million (US$421 million)...

Tuvalu reaffirms ties with Taiwan, climate change top priorities for new government

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Tuvalu has reaffirmed its recognition of Taiwan following an election last month that had triggered speculation the Pacific island country could sever ties and recognise Beijing. After choosing a prime minister earlier this week, Tuvalu’s new government on Wednesday released a statement of its domestic and international priorities. While reaffirming ties with Taiwan, the coral atoll nation of some 10,000...

Former Palau President Remengesau announces candidacy, vows to lead “caring government”

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Former Palau president Tommy Remengesau Jr has announced his candidacy for president on 24 February, outlining his vision for a “caring government” that prioritises the needs of the people. Remengesau, who served four terms as president, said he was motivated to run again by a petition signed by citizens urging him to return to office. He emphasized the importance of...

Palauan Senate President denies Chinese influence on missile resolution

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Palau’s Senate President Hokkons Baules and President Surangel Whipps Jr are at odds over a proposed Senate Joint Resolution prohibiting permanent stations for missile batteries in Palau, with accusations of foreign influence and differing interpretations of public sentiment fueling the debate. President Whipps, in the 09 February letter to U.S Senators, expressed concern that continued delay in implementing the signed...

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Will Marshall Islands sign the TPNW nuclear ban treaty?

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By Nic Maclellan in Majuro, Marshall Islands The two teams lined up face to face. Students from the College of Marshall Islands (CMI) and the...

RMI President questions U.S commitment on COFA funding

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By Nic Maclellan in Majuro, Marshall Islands  Republic of Marshall Islands President, Hilda Heine, has questioned whether the Marshalls have reached a crossroads in...

Fiji’s President Katonivere sets progressive agenda in opening address to Parliament

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Fiji’s President Ratu Wiliame Katonivere opened the 2024 Sessions of Parliament Monday with a call for unity and progress, emphasising the importance of representing...