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Australia’s commercial kava importation pilot officially launched

Pacific kava farmers and producers will now have direct access to the Australian market under Phase Two of the Morrison Government's Kava Pilot, recognising the significant cultural and economic importance kava has for Pacific communities. From 01 December, producers will be able to apply to import kava for commercial purposes under the two-year pilot. The quantity of kava that can...

Wanting to be watchdogs: Pacific journalists and their views

By Shailendra B. Singh, Folker Hanusch While global scholarship on the professional views of journalists has expanded tremendously in recent decades, the Pacific remains a blind spot, with sporadic research at best. For instance, the Pacific was not featured in the Worlds of Journalism study on 76 countries, perhaps the most ambitious undertaking in the field as yet. The lack of...

NZ is the latest to join foreign intervention mission to Solomon Islands

Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare has announced that New Zealand officers will now join three other countries: Fiji, Papua New Guinea and Australia in the latest intervention to support Solomon Islands following last week’s unrest in Honiara. In his address last night, Sogavare said: “We have opened our borders to allow our neighbours to enter to assist us. New...

Bougainville President commends PNG intervention in Solomon Islands

The current troubles in the Solomon Islands must not be seen as an opportunity by Bougainvilleans to prey on the nation's instability says Bouganville President Ishmael Toroama. He said Bougainville has long shared traditional and familial ties with the Solomon Islands. However, the Solomon Islands remain an independent sovereign nation. “Many Bougainvilleans will have a vested interest in the situation in...

COVID-19: WHO’s Tedros criticises ‘blunt’ Omicron measures

The head of the UN health agency has criticised “blunt” and “blanket” measures taken by countries in the past few days to stop the spread of the Omicron variant. In a statement on Tuesday, the World Health Organisation Director-General said that it was “deeply concerning” that Botswana and South Africa, where the new variant was first identified, were “being penalised...

Unease builds over New Caledonia referendum

There is growing unease over the French decision to hold New Caledonia's third and final independence referendum on 12 December. Pro-independence parties and groups decided last month that because of the pandemic, they will stay away from the polls. The decolonisation mechanism, at play for 30 years, will therefore reach its formal end without the full participation of the colonised people...

Fiji’s international borders re-open today

Fiji’s international borders will reopen today after almost two years. This has brought in much excitement for the people of Fiji as the first tourist flight lands at the Nadi international airport this morning. This first flight is a strong indication of our resilience to get through the pandemic and a ray of hope for many employees of the tourism sector...

US$5 million ADB grant to support Tonga’s post covid-19 economic recovery

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Government of Tonga have signed a US$5 million grant agreement to help restore and accelerate private sector-led economic growth in Tonga after the COVID-19 pandemic. The agreement, under the ADB's Tonga Economic Recovery Support Programme, was jointly signed by ADB Pacific Department Deputy Director General Emma Veve and Tonga's Minister of Finance, Tevita...

Forum Foreign Ministers Joint Statement on Blue Pacific Leadership in Disaster Preparedness Planning

As the World Health Assembly meets to consider pandemic preparedness and response, in the face of the new Omicron strain of COVID-19 and at the start of the Pacific cyclone season, Forum Foreign Ministers have released a Joint Statement on Blue Pacific Leadership in Disaster Preparedness Planning. Forum Foreign Ministers voice deep concern over the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic...

No one is safe unless everyone is safe: making emergency response safe for women and girls

Op-ed authored by Sanaka Samarasinha, UN Resident Coordinator to Fiji, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu & Vanuatu. During natural disasters and emergencies, women and girls are more at risk of experiencing violence, exploitation and abuse. Simultaneously, emergencies weaken national systems, including health and legal systems, and community and social support networks. This breakdown of systems can reduce access to health services, including...

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