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Take stock, discuss policy options, consider ways forward to address post-COVID-19 economic challenges: Forum SG to FEMM 2021

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Forum Secretary General Henry Puna says the COVID-19 pandemic has severely affected Pacific economies and exacerbated the Pacific region’s vulnerabilities to external shocks as developing and small island developing states. Speaking at his first virtual Forum Economic Minister Ministers Meeting (FEMM2021), Puna said the International Monetary Fund (IM)F has forecasted a negative economic outlook for the region. “Economic output measured GDP...

Conflict, climate change, COVID, forces more people into hunger

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Global hunger levels have skyrocketed because of conflict, climate change and the economic impact of COVID-19; and one in five children around the world is stunted, UN agencies warned on Monday. New data that represents the first comprehensive global assessment of food insecurity carried out since the coronavirus pandemic began, indicates that the number of people affected by chronic hunger...

Talks on repatriation of stranded Nauruans in Fiji

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Nauruans stranded in Fiji because of COVID-19 border restrictions could be making their way home soon. Discussions were being held between the Nauru COVID-19 Taskforce and its national carrier on the possibility of repatriating Nauruans from Fiji and Taiwan. Nauru president Lionel Aingimea said Fiji was of concern given the highly infectious Delta strain circulating within its communities. A Nauru goverment statement...

Global talks on Fisheries subsidies must target big subsidisers not development

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Civil society organisations from around the world are calling on trade ministers to ensure that negotiations on fisheries subsidies at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) don't undermine development aspirations of small-scale fishing communities and developing countries - but target those most historically responsible for the state of global overfishing. “The current text of the negotiations is providing permanent loopholes for...

Fiji forwards coach Jason Ryan fires warning ahead of second test

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Fiji forwards coach Jason Ryan has promised the All Blacks another fiery reception in the breakdowns during the second test in Hamilton on Saturday night. Although the All Blacks were convincing 57-23 winners over Fiji in Dunedin last weekend, they received a rude awakening at the breakdowns as the visitors, led by their impressive No 6 Johnny Dyer, made the...

Moana Pasifika Super Rugby licence confirmed

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Moana Pasifika has been granted an unconditional licence to join an expanded Super Rugby competition next year. New Zealand Rugby awarded the franchise a conditional licence in April to join a revamped competition, alongside five teams from New Zealand, five from Australia and the Fijian Drua. Confirmation was expected last month but complications over finance, the competition format and getting buy-in...

Vaccinations key to recovery: PIF

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The Pacific Islands Forum Secretary-General has appealed for people in the region to be fully vaccinated against the COVID-19 pandemic in order for some form of normalcy to return to the islands. Henry Puna made the appeal during his opening remarks at the Forum Trade Officials Meeting where he emphasised that due to the unprecedented times brought on by the...

Solomon Islands PM caution citizens to be wary of delta variant

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Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare says the Government is cautious of the imminent threat of the ‘delta variant of COVID-19’ in neighbouring Fiji. Speaking during his nationwide address in Honiara, the Prime Minister said the delta variant is highly transmissible and has been described by WHO as the ‘fittest and fastest’ variant of COVID-19. The Prime Minister said the situation...

Application for appeal in case against Cook Islands PM and Forum SG Puna

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A case involving Prime Minister Mark Brown and Pacific Forum Secretary General Henry Puna was dismissed in March this year by a High Court judge, but could be brought back to life as lawyer Norman George and Paul Allsworth of Citizens Against Corruption (CAC) apply to appeal the matter. Chief Justice Sir Hugh Williams QC in March dismissed charges levelled...

How to manage a $1.6 billion debt and other challenges?

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By Samantha Magick Pacific finance and trade leaders will have critical meetings this week to discuss how they can rebuild the region’s economies following the economic devastation wrought by COVID-19. Managing increasing debt burdens will be high on the agenda. “We sure live in some very challenging times. The last 18 months have been, perhaps, one of the toughest periods for...

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