Vol. 38, No. 10
36 From misconception and mismanagement to failure 10 years of EPA negotiations
37 Road to Rio 2016 begins for sevens Can rugby 7s deliver the
islands an elusive Olympic gold?
40 Su’a Tanielu Outgoing Director-General Forum Fisheries Agency
42 Gender equality’s not just the right thing: Clinton ‘It is also the clever thing to do’
Nuclear Roadmap. Cover report—pages 16-19. Cover photo: Courtesy of Giff Johnson
43 Expand Fairtrade in Fiji sugar industry
Rake in additional economic benefits
UN report offers even-handedness and focus on the future
16 Nuclear Roadmap
18 US govt reacts, but Marshalls wants more to be done 19 The 1954 Bravo test: In the eyes of a 2-year-old
Papua New Guinea
20 Time to hope again for PNG
A fresh start and prospect for better times
24 HIV war not over yet
But there are positive signs: Kanawi
25 History in the making: Impeaching a governor? Mixed reactions from islanders
26 Hot on the campaign trail
October 30, D-Day for Natapei, Kilman
44 Moving forward on the Pacific environment What transpired at the Noumea meet
Regular Features 5 Letter from Suva 6 Views from Auckland 7 We Say 12 Whispers 14 Pacific Update 46 Business Intelligence 48 RAMSI Update
27 Forum with a difference
Cooks’ Puna insists on an open summit
28 PIFS review needs to be taken seriously Not swept under the pandanus mat
29 Viewpoint Renaissance in long-overlooked region?
31 PNG wants changes in Nautilus deal Shareholding dispute heads for arbitration
32 Auluta Basin sets standard for land development A new era of doing business
34 Islands face ‘negative remittances’ Brain-drain critical to islands
Islands Business, October 2012 3
L E T T E R S Managing Director/Publisher Godfrey Scoullar Group Editor-in-Chief Laisa Taga Group Advertising & Marketing Manager Sharron Stretton Staff Writer Robert Matau Graphic Design Dick Lee Virendra Prasad Main Correspondents
Australia Rowan Callick
Nic Maclellan Davendra Sharma
Fiji Samisoni Pareti
French Polynesia Thibault Marais
Marshall Islands Giff Johnson
New Zealand Dev Nadkarni
Jale Moala Ruci Salato-Farrell Duncan Wilson
Niue Stafford Guest Papua New Guinea Baeau Tai
RAMSI’s education focus
for measures and long-term commitment from “civil society”.
As a former resident of Solomon islands, I am always interested to read the RAMSI Column and other news about the Solomons. The Special Coordinator Nicholas Coppel’s paper presented at the ANU (Australia National University) in Canberra in Australia and reprinted in your September 2012 issue covered a wide range of subjects, but one item in particular struck my attention. Speaking of the need for universal education, Mr Coppel states that it “gives every citizen a chance to escape the social and economic limitations of village life”. This could easily be understood as meaning that people should aim to leave their villages and take up life in an urban environment. For too long, the emphasis has been on preparing people for life beyond their villages rather than improving conditions in the villages—socially, economically and culturally—so that they will want to stay there and enjoy a more satisfying rural life rather than assuming that everything would be better if they were living in town. I do hope RAMSI will be encouraging education for rural as well as urban living, something which the rural training centres with which I used to be associated with have been attempting to do over many years. The paper made no direct reference to the efforts being made by all the churches in this respect, as well as in peace keeping and the easing of tensions, although he does mention the need
—Brian Macdonald-Milne Honiara SOLOMON ISLANDS
Thank you IB I work for Femlink Pacific and I always love reading your news as it’s very informative and also educational. It helps us to know about things and issues happening around the Pacific, especially the effects of climate change as we are experiencing now. Thank you for your tireless hard work and passion. —Ana Rakacikaci FemlinkPacific Suva FIJI
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Letter From Suva
BY LAISA TAGA, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF
Now it’s coming out… It is now a month since the Leaders Summit in Rarotonga and things that were hushed up during the meeting are now beginning to come out. One of those things Letter from Suva has been told is the alleged dismay by Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Peter O’Neill’s about not being able to spend more time or have a cuppa coffee with his colleagues to talk about issues of relevance to them and the islands because bilateral meetings were taking up most of leaders time. Such comments by the biggest member of the Pacific Islands Forum cannot be taken lightly. In fact, it does not augur well for the organisers of the summit, the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (PIFS). And for the critics, it is another reason to again raise questions about PIFS and the Forum and their relevance to the islands. As one critic who spoke with Letter from Suva said: “I think the Forum is in real danger of losing its relevance to the people of the Pacific… it is losing its place as the forum where islands leaders can get together and discuss and share with each other ideas on how they can tackle economic and social problems.” Just take a look at how regional politics has panned out. There are now sub-regional groupings like the Melanesia Spearhead Group that have cropped up as a result of the islands countries being unhappy with the Forum Secretariat. As the critic puts it: “The emergence of subregional groupings is a testament to that, but one needs to ask why when two Samoans heading PIFS and FFA (Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency), the Pacific has seen the emergence of more splinter groups? “Is this a sign that they lack confidence in their leadership or is it a reflection of the changes taking place in the region?” The critic added that technocrats have taken over the Forum where all the outcomes are predetermined, and Forum Leaders only rubber stamp decisions. This no doubt raises questions about the ability of our leaders and whether they can make up their own minds. The critic, who has regional experience, suggested that “may be leaders should build on their Forum engagement process where they can discuss openly and have a good exchange and dialogue, and reserve the Forum for the preserve of the technocrats and Dialogue Partners because it is now more about the dialogue partners than about the Pacific Islands Countries.”
There are now 14 Post-Forum Dialogue Partners—Canada, China, European Union, France, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Philippines,Thailand, United Kingdom, and the United States; two associate members—New Caledonia and French Polynesia; and 10 Observers: Tokelau, Wallis and Futuna, the Commonwealth, United Nations, Asian Development Bank, World Bank, ACP Group, American Samoa, Guam, Northern Marianas and Timor Leste (Special Observer). This is in addition to the 16 member countries of the Forum. “As for the Forum meetings, they are now so structured and I don’t know who has brought in all these UN bureaucratic practices. “What has happened to the Pacific Way of meeting and talanoa sessions? Now, the only talanoa session leaders have is the retreat and that too is like some really secretive, hush-hush event, as if they are so secret service highly sensitive discussions. Give us Pacific Islands people a break,” the critic added. Criticisms of PIFS is nothing new. Member countries have over the years accused PIFS of not working for their interest, but rather for the interests of the major donors of the secretariat— Australia and New Zealand. Even a recent review of the secretariat again highlighted these criticisms in its report: • PIFS lacks ownership by and engagement with member states: reflected in its reliance on donor funding and the failure to ratify the 2005 Agreement Establishing the Pacific Islands Forum. • Priority setting is weak and the budget is allocated ineffectively across many different programmes. • Funding is uncertain: 18 percent of revenue has any year-to-year certainty (i.e., regular budget) creating operational difficulties. • Institutional overlap occurs between PIFS and other CROP agencies: climate change an area of particular concern in this regard. • PIFS heavily influenced by Australia, New Zealand and the European Union. • PIFS is unresponsive to Pacific Leaders. • Lacks the mandate and regional consensus around key areas, including trade. • Management is weak. • PIFS has an under-developed and aging operating structure, and staff members are underpaid. The review report was tabled at the Leaders
meeting in Rarotonga but so far the responses have been muted. But here’s what the Leaders said in their communique: “Leaders considered the Review Report of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat and agreed that in light of the imminent review of the Pacific Plan in 2013, that the recommendations of the Review Report, in particular, the restatement of the core business of the secretariat and its senior management structure be considered as part of the review of the Pacific Plan. Leaders also urged the secretariat to take into account the review report in its ongoing corporate and budget reform efforts.” As Matthew Dornan, a Post-doctoral Research Fellow at the ANU, said: “The level of engagement between the secretariat and member states is weak and one of the challenges for the Forum and the Forum Secretariat is to be relevant to each individual member state. So how can we ensure PIFS and the Forum remain relevant to the islands? A regional expert said: “I know people might have other views but when you put too many things on the Forum Secretariat, they lose focus, and if you don’t have the resources, it ends up doing half baked things. So the Forum Leaders have to refocus. Less issues should be put to the Leaders by regional and official technocrats and allow leaders more time to discuss freely. Furthermore, the Forum should refocus on trade and economic integration issues, it is all the security stuff that has been pushed to the Forum that has made it lose focus.” PNG’s Emmanuel Narokobi of the Masalai blog said: “The one key area I see for achieving this by our leaders is to start taking ownership more seriously. PNG has to take the lead in this because we represent one of the larger economies among PIF members. So to do this, we simply have to put more of our own money into PIFS. “In terms of generating ownership of PIFS by member states, the core budget is funded entirely by Australia ($10,546,738) and New Zealand ($2,587,484). Isn’t there something wrong with that? When will PNG wake up and pay its way in this region? PNG leaders love to talk about Australia in our eternal love/hate relationship, but PNG has to start putting its money where its mouth is. “In short, we can’t expect much from our region if we don’t contribute meaningfully to PIFS. The Pacific is the last frontier and we have watched the rest of the world build and destroy themselves, then build themselves again. So we are in a better position now to learn from the world’s mistakes, but we won’t own the future if we don’t own the issues at hand today,” Narokobi added. Islands Business, October 2012 5
Views from Auckland BY DEV NADKARNI
A viable alternative to failing aid models The continuing fall out of the now nearly five years old global financial crisis has put Gordon Gecko-style “greed is good” corporate credos firmly in the shade. At least the brazenly overt culture of corporate excess of the decade prior has virtually disappeared from the public view. Protests like the worldwide occupy movement, however ragtag it might have seemed, helped ensure that. It would be naïve to think that corporate fat cats—particularly of the rarefied, overleveraged financial world who dealt in a bewildering range of financial bubbles—have vanished despite some very high profile heads rolling as a result of the crisis. But there is no doubt the brazenness of extreme debt fuelled corporate bravado has virtually disappeared in what is often touted as an atmosphere of “austerity”. With no pundit wanting to risk predicting the end of the crisis, global big businesses are rethinking strategies to stay connected to their markets and consumers in a bid to live down the “big is bad, greedy and ruthless” image that gained currency as the financial crisis unfolded. New, innovative strategies now take on board corporate reputational imperatives with activities that appear to be long-term and much more substantial than philanthropic initiatives of the past. Corporate social responsibility is not entirely a new idea but is rapidly becoming a buzzword which companies big and small are building their future business strategies. It is based on the rather belated recognition that the wellbeing of the company is interdependent on the wellbeing of the customer, the community, environment and the world. And its reputational value is now being acknowledged than ever before in the past. Beyond tokenism Social responsibility initiatives today go far beyond the likes of contributing to charitable institutions to feed children in distant countries, creating hospital wings for the disempowered and destitute, helping run soup kitchens, donating fleets of ambulances and such like. The new models are becoming far more complex as they evolve, involving more and more stakeholders allocating firm roles, responsibilities and putting in place schedules of measurable deliverables. Companies are evolving models to run corporate social responsibility programmes like businesses themselves—investing rationally and wisely, having professional managers and domain 6 Islands Business, October 2012
experts to run the programmes with definite, measurable outcomes that deliver what is now gaining currency as ‘social return on investment’, abbreviated as SROI. This acronym will increasingly enter the public discourse in the coming years, particularly as traditional government-driven aid models change to embrace its concepts. Companies in countries like the United Kingdom, Australia and the United States of America are at the forefront of this new paradigm shift in altruism and philanthropy—if one may still use those terms. For these new concepts are different from traditional ideas of altruism and philanthropy in that they are far more inclusive and equitable and away from any notions of ‘hand me downs’. Increasingly, well thought out social responsibility initiatives are equitable partnerships that are designed to be a win-win for all parties and stakeholders concerned. These concepts have not only thrown up a plethora of new terminology like ‘Social enterprise’, ‘social entrepreneurship’ and ‘social returns’ but are generating newer models of making such activities financially sustainable and growth-oriented—just as a conventional businesses sets out to be. Additionally, they are helping find ways to involve more and more meaningful stakeholders to work together on the common goal of achieving a defined social return. Involving all stakeholders These new concepts have created such a buzz in certain circles that governments, the private sector, commercial banks, scientists, innovators, institutions engaged in social work and other like minded individuals and entities are buying into them. And this “buy-in” is not just figuratively speaking. We are now seeing the proliferation of what is being referred to as “social bonds”. Various stakeholders invest in social bonds, which over a period of time bring return to the investors measured in different ways, depending on the model it is based. In Australia and the United Kingdom, such concepts, among other activities for instance, help run programmes that have shown positive results in preventing young prisoners from reoffending when they finish their sentence. The return on the “business” is calculated not on the basis of traditional profit and loss but other parameters such as the real budgetary savings
that the government and society benefit from as a result of, in this case, decreased reoffending. In such models, of which newer ones are continually evolving and being fine tuned, the government tends to underwrite the investment, which may be channelled into the social enterprise through a bank, which in turn solicits the capital from a string of private sector corporates. As can be seen, this is a win-win situation. The government benefits from efficiencies of scale, the public benefits from a better quality of life with increased safety, the private sector not only gets a big reputational tick by associating with a laudable social project but also a small return on its investment, underwritten by no less an entity than the government itself. The bank benefits both businesswise and earning a reputation. Lastly, the implementing agency, which might either be a non-government organisation (NGO), a not-for-profit outfit or even a private sector company earns its fee for running the social enterprise. The rot in traditional aid Traditionally disbursed aid models are coming unstuck globally, what with hundreds of billions of dollars of aid money going missing because of corruption and nepotism down the distribution chain, incompetence, theft and other criminal activity. Seventeen billion dollars earmarked for life saving aid projects has been stolen in a decade just as 95% of the $9 billion Iraq reconstruction aid vanished into thin air. Closer to home, the New Zealand Government earlier this year complained to Tonga that some NZ$300,000 of aid money was unaccounted for. Such cases are legion and there is little doubt that the world has come to realise it desperately needs a radically different model. The twin factors of traditional aid models going bad and profitable businesses—big and small—discovering that their wellbeing is linked inextricably to their customers’ and their environment will propel forward new models of socially responsible enterprise. Just like the financial czars that ran vaporous derivative markets in the pre-GFC world, mega NGOs based on traditional aid disbursement models and their unjustifiably highly paid CEOs as well as tax payer funded government aid programmes—many traditionally designed as boomerang aid projects—will have to shape up or ship out in the wake of the new social responsibility concepts revolution. Perhaps, the biggest upshot of the GFC will be the hastening of the evolution of the highly inclusive, multi-stakeholder and partnership oriented social responsibility based development initiative. As well as turning the miserably failed traditional aid model on its head, it might just turn out to be the most rational path towards achieving social equity in an economically and ecologically sustainable way. As a concept it is truly a paradigm shift.
WESAY ‘The population depletion and brain drain problem has now reached a tipping point. The islands now face a reverse phenomenon. Many of them now have to rely on foreign workers from Asia and Africa to fill vacant capacity in their businesses—particularly in the highly labour intensive tourism and hospitality sector’
or several decades now, the biggest revenue earner for many countries of the Pacific Islands region has been remittances. This trend has been particularly true of the historically sparsely populated islands nations in Polynesia and Micronesia. Contrary to popular belief, in many countries remittances outstrip tourism receipts, though the tourism industry reigns as the highest employer almost throughout the region. Countries like Samoa, Tonga, Niue and the Cook Islands in Polynesia have, over the years, steadily supplied a large part of the manpower requirements of New Zealand and to some extent Australia. It is a well known fact that more Samoans, Tongans, Niueans and Cook Islanders live in nations other than their home countries —most of them in New Zealand, Australia and the Western United States of America. The flow of people out of Melanesia into these countries has been far smaller. This is because of both historical reasons and the fact that Melanesia has better resources to support subsistence, agricultural and industrial activity than Polynesia or Micronesia, causing fewer people to leave their homes in search of livelihoods. Another reason could be the fact that educational levels have been historically higher throughout Polynesia than Melanesia. Though tightening immigration controls slowed down the torrent of first generation Pacific Islands migrants into New Zealand and Australia over the past couple of decades, policies to keep the doors open for seasonal migration saw a steady increase in temporary workers travelling to New Zealand, and more recently, to Australia. This has helped keep remittances flowing into the islands nations. The steady outflow of people from Polynesia and Micronesia, however, has actually ended up depleting populations in countries of those regions. In fact, many of the countries have shown negative growth over the past few years in censuses. This means that these countries are suffering from declining populations. A consequence of this is that their populations are also aging. Interestingly, declining populations and aging population profiles are normally associated with developed western world countries. They are not encountered in the developing world under which all Pacific Islands countries find themselves classified. The developing world is typically characterised by rapidly rising populations and larger proportions of younger populations (think India, China). So, how is it that developing Pacific Islands countries find themselves with the population problems that the developed world coun-
tries face? How come the developing world of the Pacific Islands has the same problems as that of the developed world? Though the problem is the same, the reasons are quite different. In the developed world, family sizes have grown smaller over the decades. Smaller, nuclear families are a result of greater prosperity, rapid urbanisation and increased mobility. A generation or two of smaller families is what has caused the rate of growth of populations to slow down in these countries. Simultaneously, better health care and food intake—another characteristic of rising prosperity—has caused people to live longer than at any time in the known history of mankind. The result therefore is that population growth has slowed down to a crawl and populations have progressively aged. Countries like New Zealand, Australia and Japan are now hard put to find younger people to work in their countries to replace their aging populations. Many investment advisors strongly recommend investments in companies that provide aged healthcare in developed world countries because that will logically grow to be one of the biggest service industries for at least a couple of generations. In fact, companies involved in aged care services have done well for themselves and for their shareholders on the stock market better than most other sectors throughout the global financial crisis. But this developed world scenario is far away from what is happening in the Pacific Islands region. Yes, populations are depleting and aging—but the reasons are entirely different and the manner of addressing the problem in those countries would also be quite different from how it could probably be tackled in the developed world. Pacific populations have depleted because of a combination of reasons including the chronic lack of investment in infrastructure, businesses and industries; lack of suitable higher educational facilities; poor wages and incomes; below par economic growth rates for years; and sluggish improvements in many of the human development and lifestyle quality indices. In other words, there is nothing to entice or encourage the young populations to stay back. Qualified, employable people are therefore on the first plane available to a richer destination and the lack of facilities are enough discourage a large volume of these youngsters to ever think in terms of returning. With their best and brightest gone, the islands suffer from reduced human capacity in terms of competence and
Population depletion, brain drain
Islands Business, October 2012 7
WESAY experience and a growing population of the aged. This has seen low productivity levels plunge even lower. Countries have run a range of programmes to get their best and brightest back but with little or no success. A few years ago, the Cook Islands government ran a programme to lure back its people to live at home by offering free freight and tickets from wherever they were if they intended to come back to the Cook Islands permanently. The programme was an abject failure. The population depletion and brain drain problem has now reached a tipping point. The islands now face a reverse phenomenon. Many of them now have to rely on foreign workers from Asia and Africa to fill vacant capacity in their businesses—particularly in the highly labour intensive tourism and hospitality sector. It is increasingly common to see workers from the Philippines, Indonesia and even African countries in establishments around the Cook Islands.
This will cost the islands dearly. All these decades they have been used to receiving remittances sent in by their people living and working outside. Now they are beginning to see the flight of a part of those remittances to countries outside. This does not augur well for the islands, which have almost solely depended on this revenue channel to meet their foreign exchange needs. If nothing is done to address the situation, not only will the islands see the increased flight of remittances and other income earned to foreign workers, but an inevitable consequence will also be a redistribution of populations. Already the number of foreign workers in small places like Rarotonga in the Cook Islands is palpable. In future years, one is bound to encounter greater and greater ethnic diversity in the smaller islands, changing their ethnic composition irreversibly.
‘This is the danger of a Pan regional branding. National brands could easily be subsumed under a regional “umbrella” brand to the disadvantage of national brands and the efforts of individual entrepreneurs who have worked to create these brands and bring them up to where they are. No wonder more Pacific Islands governments are realising the practicality of investing in their own national branding than regional ones’
n recent years, there’s been a number of initiatives to brand the Pacific or parts of it. The idea is obviously to achieve some sort of identity, credentials, a mark of authenticity with some sort of certification, stamp of approval, guarantee of a standard or call it what you will. The governments of several Pacific Islands countries, regional organisations and the governments of New Zealand and Australia have funded and pursued such exercises in the recent past. The results, however, are debatable and unproven in the absence of documented research, though there are plenty of opinions floating around about the efficacy of these initiatives. So can exercises that seek to brand the ‘Pacific’ really work? Or are individual Pacific Islands countries better off promoting their own unique identities? The idea of a pan South Pacific brand identity was enthusiastically pursued by a former chief executive of the South Pacific Tourism Organisation (SPTO), which itself went through a bit of an identity crisis when it briefly named itself southpacific.travel, which confused a lot of people. The rationale was to sell the South Pacific experience as a package to potential tourists from outside the region. 8 Islands Business, October 2012
It was based on a fairly successful idea in other parts of the world where small and often distinct tourism products band together to offer a collective, varied experience under a single branded experience. Tourism around the Mekong River region in South East Asia is an example. Several countries through which the Mekong flows have come together to offer a unified experience by cooperating with each other on logistics, ticketing and accommodation. And apparently it has worked well. Such an idea, though it sounded just right for the multiple tourism products by South Pacific Islands countries, never had legs. First, because island hopping is impossible in this market given such poor air and sea connectivity—a problem that has festered for more than fifty years. And secondly, no island nation was interested in subsuming its own brand identity with a pan regional concept. So, the idea that should never have been mooted in the first place was swiftly buried. A similar branding idea, essentially pan Pacific in flavour, called the “True Pacific”, has been making the rounds for a couple of years now. The Government of New Zealand is funding it. According to
WESAY its website, “the True Pacific quality mark represents the best quality products from the Pacific Islands and the products displaying it are of genuine Pacific origin and meet strict quality standards”. It purports to guarantee the origin of the product as being one from the Pacific (and not mass produced in some rapidly industrialising Asian country, unlike boomerangs in the Australian market that are made in China), while also “guaranteeing product quality”. Over the past couple of years, several dozen projects from around the islands have received this mark and the products have found their way into international shows, putting them in front of a wide section of global buyers with funding from governments and other funding agencies. How successful the exercise has been in establishing the credibility of the products that are certified by it is too early to say. It is also too early to predict how the exercise will turn out in terms of benefitting regional manufacturers in the next few years. But individual islands nations appear not to be leaving it to chance. Cook Islands, for instance, is considering establishing its own quality and place of origin guarantee and certification process. It is also keen on not losing out on the value the destination brings to its products compared to a pan Pacific certification system. The logic offered is similar to the one that countered SPTO’s attempts to forge a pan South Pacific tourism brand only a few years ago. There seems to be a growing trend in emphasising national brands over a more fuzzy regional one if one is to go by the number of instances this is beginning to happen in a range of product and service offerings throughout the Pacific. Last month, Tonga
Regional vs national brands
announced its plans to position the kingdom as the “True South Pacific”—effectively owning the defunct pan Pacific branding idea of a few years ago as its own national identity. This is not too different from the renaming exercise of Air Pacific to Fiji Airways. Called Air Pacific because the original idea was for the airline to be a true pan Pacific airline service, it never grew to be one but primarily connecting only Fiji to the world. Its new name Fiji Airways more truly reflects what the airline stands for. This trend also perhaps reflects on the long debated merits of regionalism. Islands governments and business promotion agencies are genuinely beginning to weigh whether promoting their tourism product and service offerings as well as their produce and handicraft under a national branding is preferable over a third party offered certification and branding process that is more regional in its scope. The recent controversy surrounding Kate and William’s “Pacific” clothes seeks to highlight these concerns. The Royal couple wore clothes that were designed and made in the Cook Islands while they were in the Solomon Islands. For the world, they simply were “Pacific” clothes. But it caused a bit of a kerfuffle because the Royals should have been wearing Solomon Islands made clothes while they were there. This is the danger of a Pan regional branding. National brands could easily be subsumed under a regional “umbrella” brand to the disadvantage of national brands and the efforts of individual entrepreneurs who have worked to create these brands and bring them up to where they are. No wonder more Pacific Islands governments are realising the practicality of investing in their own national branding than regional ones.
“The media’s role is said to be to hold a mirror to the government and to society without fear or favour. But Pacific media practitioners and academics are doing a disservice to their professions and to media consumers at large as they continue blackening one other’s faces putting their narrow egotistic interests above the greater good...And in the process, only fuelling politicians’ proclivity to ride roughshod over themselves and the powerless public”
hat is it that incites Pacific media owners, journalists, media academics and students to go ferociously for one another’s jugular every so often? The short history of journalism in the Pacific Islands is littered with numerous episodes
of media proprietors, scribes and tertiary teachers lunging at one another’s throats, polarising the student community at an enormous cost to their study. These confrontations always tend to begin with ideological differences, which is not a bad thing at all, given that the raison d’etre Islands Business, October 2012 9
WESAY The no holds barred highly personal exchanges have exposed of journalism is to question the status quo in an informed and colthe poor regard these journalists and academics have for one anlegial manner, but the debate quickly degenerates into unabashed other—which, reading through some of their vitriolic responses, personality clashes. is probably justified. Before long, the quality of the discourse spirals out of control For instance, prolific Fijian affairs commentator Davis is hard put into petty name calling, questioning of credentials and antecedents, to defend his work as a consultant to an overseas public relations abusive comments—right down to racist remarks directed at all outfit engaged by the Fiji government while being a journalist at concerned. the same time. Small wonder then that his arguments in defence In years past, such quarrels were restricted largely to the print meof juggling two hats and justifying the charade look like the prodium and points and counterpoints were to a large extent reasoned verbial fig leaf. and measured. But the popularity and accessibility of the online Such obvious as daylight conflict of interest would scarcely, if ever, medium and the lack of editorial control, particularly on blog sites, have gone unchallenged in the country where this commentator reduces the level of debate to little more than the raucous, expletive lives and works from. But apparently, as we have known all along, filled exchanges in a bar brawl. everything is fair game in the Pacific. This only goes to show the The latest episode in this continuing sordid saga involves Marc poor regard that these sparring individuals have for the people of Edge, the current head of the University of the South Pacific’s the region. Journalism Programme; David Robie, one of his Edge, on the other hand, has been accused of using predecessor;, Graham Davis, the twin hat wearing western, developed world yardsticks to instruct and journalist cum consultant to the PR company renevaluate his students. dering services to the Fiji government; and a bunch He has been criticised for insisting on punctuality of journalism students hopelessly divided across the and discipline, which according to his opponents continuing unseemly stoush that is spreading to all are rather harsh given the “realities” in the Pacific sorts of Pacific centric websites—all at the cost of islands region. their study. On an unrelated matter, his integrity has been At the Pacific Islands News Association’s biennial questioned for not adequately explaining the armeet earlier this year, questions about journalistic rangement about his involvement in an endorsement ethics were raised and inconclusively argued between for a commercial entity in Suva. Edge and Davis resulting in frothy debates on webIn another raging controversy with Fiji journalsites for several months following. ists, which also gained currency during last month’s Then again at last month’s USP hosted media freesymposium, Edge insists that self-censorship is dom symposium, what started out as a an extremely rampant in Fiji, which Fiji’s journalists rather uninteresting debate about what style of journalism is convincingly refute. best suited for the region’s realities, quickly deterioAgain, this is an important topic for wider discusrated into another unseemly spat with the washing of Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi...offered the services of his spin doctor to Samoa sion—but the fact that it quickly descends to the level copious amounts of dirty linen in the public domain. Observer. Photo: Lisa Williams-Lahari of personal attacks and even abuse in the form of Last month’s debate began around something that comments written anonymously, many times quite has been a subject of discussion among media acaobviously the same person assuming multiple online identities, robs demics in the region for some time now: whether journalism in the the region of healthy, informed debate. Pacific should be based on the ‘social responsibility’ or ‘deliberative’ In Samoa last month, Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielmodel—which Robie favours—or whether the more libertarian egaoi gratuitously offered the services of his head spin doctor and ‘western style’—which Edge seems to prefer—suits it better. Associformer scribe Terry Tavita to his former employer, Samoa Observer ated with the former are what go by the labels ‘peace journalism’, publisher Savea Sano Malifa. Malifa publicly refused spewing out a ‘development journalism’, ‘guided’ and ‘collaborative’ journalism. range of reasons why he thought it was a bad idea, while going over Tavita’s employment foibles in great detail. The discussions around this interesting deThe Fourth That a prime minister can even think of suggesting that his PR bate would have been collegial and conducted Estate man should work for what is truly the nation’s truly independent in an atmosphere that would churn some great stoush newspaper speaks volumes for how poorly regional politicians think ideas one would think, but if one goes by the of the national and regional media. posts on a range of websites and blogs one can And why wouldn’t they when regional media stalwarts, academics, see that the discourse has moved away from this topic and degenerjournalists and media organisations continually indulge in ugly and ated into name calling, accusations and even unbecomingly petty very public stoushes as is now being played out in Fiji? racist remarks. The media’s role is said to be to hold a mirror to the government Parties slugging it out on these websites and blogs have cast and to society without fear or favour. But Pacific media practitioners aspersions on one another’s credibility, exhumed past skeletons goand academics are doing a disservice to their professions and to ing back decades, accused one another of impropriety, reproduced media consumers at large as they continue blackening one other’s leaked work emails and correspondence, and have even called for faces putting their narrow egotistic interests above the greater good, people to pack up and leave, to say nothing of all sorts of veiled reflecting the rot in their lot. And in the process, only fuelling threats and counter threats. politicians’ proclivity to ride roughshod over themselves and the Students have waded in to the controversy and added their own powerless public. bit of venom to the arguments. In the process, the debate has veered light years away from where it began, resembling a street fight rather • We Say is compiled and edited by Laisa Taga. than an informed collegial discussion. 10 Islands Business, October 2012
Whispers PNA/EU war of words: A war of words seemed to be going on between the EU and PNA after the PNA, a key fisheries body in the Pacific, has criticised the European Union for a recently signed fisheries agreement that does not require EU fishing vessels to abide by already established fisheries management requirements in the region. The EU said since it is not a part of the Parties to the Nauru Agreement (PNA), it is not obligated to follow PNA rules. The dispute between the PNA and the EU shows dramatically opposed views about fisheries management in the Pacific, and raises the question of the ability of the PNA to enforce rules as a group when individual members sign bilateral agreements with foreign fishing nations that do not require the foreign fishing nation to abide by PNA rules. “PNA rules are not applicable to the EU, unless they form a part of legal obligations (in a bilateral agreement),” said Annick Villarosa, head of sector for Regional Integration, Natural Resources and Environment at the European Union’s regional office in Suva, Fiji. PNA fought back saying: “If EU vessels operate without following PNA requirements, then by definition they will be fishing illegally.” More details, see story on page 46. Talking about EPA…Regional trade officials are now in Brussels to try and sort out the remaining contentious issues with the EU after leaders decided that a comprehensive EPA be signed by the end of the year. One hot issue to be discussed at this meeting will be fisheries. Since 2008, PACPS have been working closely with the EU to extend global sourcing to fresh and frozen fisheries products of HS 0304 and dried or salted fisheries products of HS 0305. The importance of global sourcing for fresh, chilled and frozen fish was highlighted when PACPS submitted trade in goods market access offers in July 2011 that were conditional upon receiving global sourcing for fresh, chilled and frozen fish of HS 0304 and dried or salted fisheries products of HS 0305. The PACPs’ case for the extension of global sourcing to fresh, chilled and frozen fishery products has been unduly delayed by intense opposition from the various stakeholders in the EU who have been working very hard to try and take away the global sourcing that is in the Interim EPA. Meanwhile, the European Parliament has according to the Secretary-General of the ACP Dr Mohamed Ibn Chambas shown wise political judgment in extending the period for negotiation of EPAs to 1 January 2016. This is definitely good news for the region, one would have thought. But Whispers hears that despite the extension, Pacific ACP countries are insisting that they should finalise a comprehensive EPA by the end of the year in line with the leaders decision. Is that decision anything to do with the fact that there is no more funding left to conduct more meetings after it was alleged to have been misused or used for other purposes it was not meant for? 12 Islands Business, October 2012
Kate and William’s island wardrobe sets off trend, but Solo designers cry foul Though there were in the British press that Just as Europe’s tabloid press was falling the Solomon Islands Government was peeved over one another to publish revealing photoabout the episode, Clarence House, the official graphs of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge residence of the Prince of Wales, played down while on holiday last month, the Pacific was the situation in a media release: “We saw they busy tastefully draping them in designer island weren’t the same design of the traditional clothes wear during their maiden trip to the islands. we were told would be gifted. So we checked Not that this royal sartorial exercise was without with the Solomon Islands government to ensure controversy either. the right ones were worn. We were reassured TAV Pacific, the Cook Islands and New the clothes were correct, and so the Duke and Zealand based clothing firm, whose garments Duchess wore them to the event. It was not Kate and William wore while in the Solomon learned until later in the evening that the clothes Islands, has been catapulted into instant world weren’t from the islands. But it was understood fame—thanks to a faux pas now blamed on a that the Duke and Duchess intended to wear Royal official. traditional Solomon IsWell-known fashion lands clothes and this was designer and TAV founder appreciated. No offence Ellena Tavioni told I s was caused.” lands Business that the Upside: Orders for very dress the Duchess Kate’s dress and ‘Prince wore was the last garment Will’s Shirt’ are pouring she added to a gift package in at TAV’s outlets in for the Royals, which, as it Rarotonga and Auckhappens, was picked up by land. “The opportunity a Solomon Islands official for Kate to wear a TAV visiting the Cook Islands. garment has been a truly Furore: The official, so humbling experience the story goes, was at TAV’s for us. The fact that she flagship Rarotonga store to is the epitome of top buy clothes for Solomon Islands kids who were to The controversial outfit...The Royal couple wearing class fashion in the world today and the number of meet the Royal couple and the TAV’s oufit. Photo: Evan Wasuka orders coming through present them with gifts. this week is a testament of TAV not just being Tavioni says she did not accept payment for a Pacific product only, but in the international the strapless, knee-length flowing dress and, arena,” TAV’s Auckland Marketing Manager and in fact, never really expected Kate to be seen Ellena’s daughter, Sheena Tavioni told Islands actually wearing it. Business. Only after Kate was snapped in TAV’s long Downside: Meanwhile, local designers in fuchsia dress and William in its colourful Pacific the Solomons Islands are up in arms about the shirt—which has quickly come to be known as mishap. They want an investigations conducted ‘Prince Will’s shirt’—did it come to light that on how the Royal couple turned up in Cook they were not supposed to be wearing the Cook Islands-designed outfit. Islands made clothing for their engagements in A local designer, who spoke to the Solomon the Solomons: it had been earlier decided that Star, said local designers had all the chance on the Duke would wear a shirt tailored in the earth to put themselves in the world’s spotlight Solomon Islands and Kate would wear one of during the visit. her own dresses. “We were appalled when we learnt that she The faux pas has been blamed on an official did wear an island design from the Cook Islands who is believed to have made the mistake of instead of wearing something home-made.” placing the clothes in the couple’s room before She said hardworking women designers in an engagement, which is believed to have led the country are not happy with the “unfair turn the Royal couple to believe they were meant of events”. to wear them. Fish talks: It is a habit amongst Pacific Islands Countries, that people to talk after decisions have been made but not while decisions are being made. At the recent leaders meeting in Rarotonga, some Polynesian countries, Whispers hears,
went behind official positions already taken in Auckland, where Pacific Islands Parties (PIPs) and the US agreed on the level of fees and fishing opportunities on the basis that those with most days to contribute to the Treaty would only do so if the equal share formulae was revised down. The agreement reached on days and dollars was
Whispers conditional on revising the current formulae. This was the basis for reaching an agreement with the US and the compromise made by PNA countries. But this commitment, which is on record, was not respected by some of the non PNA countries, who wanted to maintain the current formulae for sharing the money from the Treaty. The commitments was “PIPs and the US eventually reached an understanding through these informal dialogues of a package that would include 8,000 VDS days and 300 non-PNA days in return for a financial package of $63 million. PIBA revival? Could we be seeing the revival of a media organisation only for broadcasters—a PIBA-(Pacific Islands Broadcasting Association) style outfit? Well, sources who attended a Samoa meeting last month organised by PACMAS (Pacific Media Assistance), an outfit funded by the Aussies, had a feeling that some media organisations want to revive a PIBA-style outfit that will look after the interests of the broadcast media after some media reps expressed dissatisfaction with the way PINA is handling its business. PINA (Pacific Islands News Association) is a regional media organisation Association)—whose members are both print and broadcast media. It will be interesting to see how far this idea will fly. Follow rules or face music: Well PM O’Neill has kept to his word. He says he won’t tolerate incompetence and inefficiency in the civil service. And the first to feel the heat is the education secretary Dr Musawe Sinebare who has been suspended by the National Executive Council on the grounds of negligence, incompetence and inefficiency, and absence from duty without explanation. The cabinet’s decision was influenced by the Department of Education’s failure to effectively implement the government’s school fee subsidy scheme, resulting in a chaotic start to the 2012 school year. O’Neill said the government will no longer tolerate slackness and incompetence in the public service, particularly at departmental head level which results in lack of delivery of the government’s priority programmes and other services. Go Dabwido, go: He may be young but he did not mince his words in New York. At the recent United Nations General Assembly, President Sprent Dabwido of Nauru had a go at the UN. He criticised the United Nations over what he calls unfulfilled promises to tackle climate change. “Small islands may be the canary in the coal mines, but we are all staring a global catastrophe right in the face.” His message came as a new report predicts more than a 100 million people will die by 2030 if there is no action on climate change. The report, commissioned by a
partnership of 20 developing countries currently threatened by rapid climate change, says more than 90 percent of those deaths will occur in developing countries, and are a direct result of human and economic impacts. Talking about the Nauru president…a regional scribe approached him recently at the Leaders Summit in the Cooks for an interview regarding the refugee centre in Nauru. To the scribe’s surprise, he deferred the questions to his foreign minister. Nauru is hosting a detention camp, at the request of Canberra, for people seeking refugee status in Australia. Munda liaisons: What’s going on in Munda in the Solomon islands? The last time we heard, there was going to be an airport built there, funded by Australian and New Zealand governments. Once completed, it will become the Hapi Isles’ second international Airport. Sources in Munda say the project is now two months behind schedule but despite that, there has been a lot of happenings going on. Of course not airport work! Reports from Munda say those who came to build the airport are fraternizing with the angels of the land, so much so that it has become a great concern for the locals who have made a protest. The meeting place for these liaisons is a local kava bar. Whispers also hears that the accommodation facilities where the workers are being accommodated have also laid down the rule: no local girls to be brought in.
Advertising & Marketing Manager Sharron Stretton Advertising Executives Tomasi Raikivi Abigail Covert-Sokia Islands Business International Ltd. Level III, 46 Gordon Street PO Box 12718, Suva, Fiji Islands. Tel: +679 330 3108. Fax: +679 330 1423. E-mail: Advertising: firstname.lastname@example.org Circulation & Distribution Sandiya Dass email@example.com Liti Tokona firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com Regional magazine sales agents Pacific Supplies – Cook Islands Yap Cooperative Association – Federated States of Micronesia Hachette Pacifique – French Polynesia Kiribati Newstar – Kiribati One Stop Stores – Kiribati Robert Reimers Enterprises – Marshall Islands Pacific & Occidental – Nauru
South Seas Traders – Niue
Oversight or…CROP heads were not impressed when a communique issued by Pacific Leaders after their summit in the Cooks last month, did not even include a mention of them. It is the first time CROP heads were not being recognised in the Leaders Communique. Was it an oversight?
Nouvelle Messageries Caledoniennes de Presse
Lucky Foodtown – Samoa
Sex in the city? Who says you need experience to be able to act in a movie? In Fiji, an increasing number of mobile videos of locals filming themselves having sex are proving quite the opposite. In a latest footage, a local gal brashly bares all as her slightly sheepish male companion takes the cue in slow motion. The scene, shot in an obviously conservative, traditional family home, showcased both acting prowess and talent on the part of the actors. Cast details, especially of the local gal, are also revealed for all and sundry.
Wesley Bookshop – Samoa
– New Caledonia Wewak Christian Bookshop – Wewak, PNG Boroko Foodworld – Boroko, PNG UPNG Bookshop – Papua New Guinea
Panatina Chemist Ltd – (Honiara) Solomon Islands Friendly Islands Bookshop – Tonga Tuvalu Air Travel, Shipping, Trade and Consultancies – Tuvalu Stop Press – Vanuatu
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Islands Business, October 2012 13
At the inauguration of Achilles...the second sculpture. Achilles is the codename used for the first underground test on Fangataufa Atoll in July 5, 1975. Photos: Nic Maclellan
An explosion in the Polynesian world By Nic Maclellan
ot far from the centre of Papeete, along an avenue lined with ancient trees, there’s a small park called the Place de 2 Juillet 1966. It’s a pleasant, sunlit area alongside the waterfront, with a great view over Tahiti’s harbour. But today, this site has become a memorial for the era of nuclear testing in the Pacific. The site now includes two unu, or traditional totems, carved by Tahitian artist Eriki Marchand. The sculptor created the two works to link politics, memory and culture, reminding visitors of Maohi spirituality and French Polynesia’s nuclear legacy. The Place de 2 Juillet 1966 was originally called Place Chirac, after the former French President who was a close political ally of long-serving French Polynesian leader Gaston Flosse. But after the election of French Polynesia’s first antinuclear President Oscar Manutahi Temaru, the area was renamed to commemorate 2 July 1966, the date of France’s first nuclear test in the South Pacific. In 2006, a memorial to nuclear testing was created at the centre of the park, with French Polynesia’s five archipelagos symbolised by five stones placed on a traditional paepae. As well as commemorating the 193 French tests at Moruroa and Fangataufa atolls, the memorial has a plaque in English, French and Tahitian remembering survivors from other nuclear sites around the Pacific: Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Bikini, Enewetak, Johnston Atoll, Monte Bello, Maralinga, Emu Field, Christmas Island and Malden Island. The memorial was inaugurated by President Temaru on 2 July 2006, the fortieth anniversary of the first nuclear test on Moruroa atoll. Since that date, an official commemoration is held every July at the site, known in the Paumotu language as Te kohu kino (“the strange cloud”). The ceremony, drawing on Maohi cultural heritage, pays homage to all survivors of nuclear testing and nuclear weapons in the Pacific. Last year, a new addition was made to the site. On the 45th anniversary of the first French test in the Pacific,
14 Islands Business, October 2012
a traditional unu was placed at centre of the memorial. Carved from mahogany, this totem echoes the ornaments used on a Polynesian marae (sacred place). A second unu was added in July this year.
base of the cross extends down the sculpture to end in a massive explosion, reflecting the 147 underground tests conducted at Moruroa and Fangataufa atolls. The artist explains that De Gaulle came to Polynesian heritage French Polynesia in 1966, to witness the first nuFor sculptor Marchand and his assistant Fred Teclear test: “So we chose this cross, a powerful symhei, the two works symbolise the upheaval in Polybol of France and the French Republic, to remind nesian society caused by 30 years people of what happened in our of nuclear testing. islands. The cross ends in an exSpeaking to Islands Business plosion, an explosion in the heart from Tahiti, Marchand said the of the Polynesian world.” sculptures draw on Maohi heri“This work is a challenge to the tage and spirituality, as well as Republic which imposed its atomthe names used by the French ic tests upon us,” he adds, “abanauthorities for their nuclear tests. doning our future generations to “We wanted to present a nuclear hazards.” strong symbol that can show Another witness to the first France and the world how PolyFrench test in 1966 was John nesians feel about the nuclear Taroanui Doom, who served as a tests and our discontent over the translator for the French authoriimpact of these tests,” he said. ties. Today, Doom is one of the “Even as artists, we can’t releading members of Moruroa e main neutral,” he added “Our Tatou, the association that links land has not been respected, so thousands of former test site workwe chose the unu as a sacred symers who are campaigning for combol, a very strong symbol.” pensation for the health and enviThe first sculpture is called Eriki Marchand...Tahitian artist. ronmental impacts of the tests. Aldebaran, after the star in the Taurus constellation. Known as Cultural revival Anamuri in the local language, this is one of the The re-naming of Place Chirac is not the only ten pillars that the god Taaroa created to separate example of cultural politics in Papeete. As has octhe sky and the earth. But the codename Aldebaran curred elsewhere in the region, the naming of was also used by the French military for the first streets and squares in the French Pacific is an asserFrench nuclear test in the Pacific, which exploded tion of national culture. Many of the main streets in in the atmosphere above Moruroa Atoll on 2 July Noumea and Papeete are named after French politi1966. cians, generals or military battles, so the re-naming The second sculpture is known as Achilles, the of public spaces contributes to a renewal of Oceanic codename used for the first underground test on identity. Fangataufa Atoll on 5 July 1975. In local belief, The road leading through Papeete to the nuclear this explosion woke the Polynesian god Ruaumoko memorial was originally named Avenue Bruat in from the bowels of the earth. 1880, after the 19th century colonial governor The Achilles unu features a Cross of Lorraine at of the Etablissements Français d’Océanie (EFO). the top—the ancient heraldic cross used by General Bruat was notorious for launching military operaCharles de Gaulle as a symbol of the Free French tions in 1842-47 against Tahitians who resisted the movement during the Second World War. But the establishment of the French protectorate over the
islands. In July 2006, the Temaru government renamed Avenue Bruat as Avenue Pouvanaa a Oopa—after the charismatic and popular leader who fought for France in both World Wars, then returned to Tahiti to found the Rassemblement Démocratique des Populations Tahitiennes (RDPT). Leading this party, Pouvanaa won a seat in the French National Assembly in 1949. However during France’s 1958 referendum, he pushed for independence rather than autonomy within the French Republic. In a scandal that has recently been documented in books by historian Jean-Marc Regnault, Pouvanaa was falsely charged with arson and other crimes, deprived of his civil rights and thrown into prison in France. The charismatic leader— known as the Metua—was exiled from his home for a decade, removed from public life just as France began to relocate its nuclear testing centre from the deserts of Algeria to the vast “empty” spaces of the Tuamotu archipelago. The commemoration of Pouvanaa was an important symbol of the political change underway after Temaru became the first pro-independence leader to win French Polynesia’s presidency in 2004. The Temaru government continues to prompt debate over the country’s Pacific heritage. The local economy may be in trouble, tourist numbers have fallen as Europe and the United States battle austerity, but Temaru continues to advance the decolonisation agenda, first raised when he created the Polynesian Liberation Front in 1977. At this year’s Pacific Islands Forum in Rarotonga, Temaru once again failed to gain support from Forum leaders for his quest to re-inscribe French Polynesia on the list of non-self-governing territories at the United Nations. But there are signs of changing opinion at home. Last year for the first time, the local Assembly narrowly voted to support the government’s policy on re-inscription. In August this year, the Eglise Protestante Maohi (EPM) - the Protestant church that is the largest denomination in French Polynesia—voted for the first time to support President Temaru’s call. The executive of the EPM church noted: “The re-inscription of Maohi Nui on this list constitutes one way to protect the people from decisions and initiatives of the French State that are contrary to their interests. This reinscription would serve, through the recognition of the rights of the Maohi people, as an efficient means of protecting their heritage and allowing them to remind France that she must clean our country of all the nuclear waste that has been left here.” The cultural debates continue. The Place de 2 Juillet 1966 is now promoted as a tourist site for visitors to Tahiti. It’s become a place for contemplation and a meeting place for many Polynesian, French and overseas visitors, as well as a rallying point for anti-nuclear activists, trade unionists and other locals. After two sculptures, will Marchand add other works to the memorial? “It depends if I’m invited again,” he laughs. “The first ‘unu’ marks the start of atmospheric testing, the second symbolises the testing of weapons underground. Maybe a third ‘unu’ could be added to commemorate the end of nuclear testing!”
A lesson in commitment: Not repeating the mistakes of trade negotiations By Adam Wolfenden*
or the regional trade agreement known as PACER-Plus, the parallel push to conclude negotiations on the European Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) by the end of 2012 hold fundamental lessons. PACER-Plus is a proposed free trade agreement between Australia, New Zealand and the Forum Islands Countries (Fiji is currently excluded from the negotiations) that would see islands countries undertaking binding commitments in the liberalisation of their trade in goods, services, and investment. It also includes negotiating the areas of labour mobility and development assistance. The EPAs and PACER-Plus share many similarities. Both are market access agreements that seek binding commitments from the islands countries accompanied by some aspect of development cooperation. Whilst PACER-Plus is still in its formative stages despite the progression of negotiations, the prospect of a concluded, comprehensive EPA seem somewhat bleak. The Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat in an August issues paper on the Pacific Trade and Development Facility noted on the EPAs that “PACPS have argued that the EPA will come at a high cost and that the benefits of the agreements could be severely constrained or even nullified if economic, productive and trade conditions are not favourable”. Going on to add that “...the immediate short and medium term costs are likely to be very significant and may overshadow long term expected benefits”. As the negotiations for the EPA seem to be approaching a ‘make-or-break’ stage, it’s notable that the development cooperation chapter is still regarded as a ‘contentious issue’—that is, an issue that is still yet to be resolved amongst the Pacific and the EU. The 2005 Commonwealth Secretariat report into the costs of the EPAs estimated that for the Pacific the costs associated with fiscal adjustment, export diversification, employment adjustment, and skills enhancement from EPA commitments would total 642 million euros. This becomes increasingly important given the above argument by the Pacific ACP Secretariat warning of the complete nullification of benefits if development cooperation doesn’t support Pacific nations. Despite the EPAs supposedly being about the Pacific’s development, the EU seems unwilling to put its money where its mouth is. In comments on the draft chapter proposed by the Pacific on Development Cooperation the EU responded that: “The link between the implementation of the EPA and financial support is problematic. As already made clear during previous discussions, the EPA cannot include any clauses on additional resources and benchmarking as funding is guided by the Multiannual Financial Framework. Likewise, the European Commission (EC) cannot commit to financial support beyond the life of the Cotonou Agreement as the future arrangements are not yet in place.” This may seem somewhat reasonable for the Europeans but the Pacific is being asked to make significant binding commitments on their econo-
mies and societies. Such commitments would only be met by non-binding commitments on the aspects of the EPAs that would help them implement and achieve some of the benefits promised by the rhetoric of global economic integration. The recent meeting of Pacific leaders in Rarotonga noted on the EPAs that “a re-emphasis on the original intent for a development friendly EPA is required.” This is the heart of the EPAs for the Pacific and that it is still outstanding speaks to the intention and expected benefits for the Pacific. Unless the EU commitment to additional funding, the total cost of implementation and adjustments will be borne by the PACP countries and its people. In its note to the PACPs, the European Commission makes clear that any compensation for the potential loss of revenue arising from EPA negotiations will not be compensated for. There is also a grave question on whether without such funding support PACPs will be able to take advantage of the market access offers that they have or will secure under EPA negotiations making the benefits seem a distant dream for many PACPs. Here lies the lesson for PACER-Plus. The October inter-sessional PACER-Plus meeting in Vanuatu will focus on both Labour Mobility and Development Assistance, the two key components for the Pacific in the negotiations. If the Pacific is to arrive at a situation where these two issues aren’t resolved before/if negotiations progress further, it will jeopardise the few benefits that may have even been possible under PACER-Plus. Australia has indicated that it will want to see the commitments made by the Pacific under the EPAs extended to Australia’s exporters. Currently, the Pacific is committing to open up 80% of their goods markets to Europe, the significance of this becomes apparent when applied to Australia and New Zealand, the two main exporters to the region. Despite Canberra saying that there may be some protection of sensitive areas by “phasings or even, in a limited sense, exclusions” of those market access offers it would be naïve to think that such exceptions would be handed over without alternative offers being made. What that means for the ability of Pacific governments to raise revenue and support local development could be devastating. The recent response from Australian farmers to the importation of Fijian ginger is indicative of the many additional problems that Pacific exporters face. Even if an agreement is reached that has Pacific ‘development’ at its heart (and it is questionable if that is even possible under a free trade agreement),if the recent experience of Pacific farmers having their agricultural produce qualify to enter other markets is anything to go by, it’s not clear that the Pacific will be able to benefit . This is the other lesson for PACER-Plus. The grand narrative of neoliberalism simplifies the reality of peoples lives and struggles, instead focussing on market access and efficiency. Hard questions have to be asked about just whether or not the uniqueness of islands of the Pacific stand to gain from an ideology that often sits in direct contrast to Pacific ways. • Adam Wolfenden is the Trade Justice Campaigner for the Pacific Network on Globalisation.
Islands Business, October 2012 15
16 Islands Business, October 2012
Bravo hydrogen bomb...exploded at Bikini on March 1, 1954, dumping high-level radioactive fallout onto Rongelap and other downwind islands. Photos: Courtesy of Giff Johnson
UN report offers even-handedness and focus on future
By Giff Johnson
he release in mid-September of the United Nations Special Rapporteur’s report on the human rights impact of nuclear testing in the Marshall Islands provides a roadmap for the Unite d States, the United Nations and the Marshall Islands to effectively address the numerous outstanding problems in this north Pacific nation. One of the most important aspects of Calin Georgescu’s 19-page report for the UN Human Rights Council is its even-handedness and focus on the future. Among other key points in the report include: • The United States government should provide compensation needed to pay about $2 billion in Nuclear Claims Tribunal awards; • Declassify secret reports on the nuclear tests to end a “legacy of distrust”; • Follow the recommendations of its own Presidentially-appointed Advisory Committee on Human Radiation Experiments that recommended personalized apologies to the individuals who were the unwitting subjects of radiation experiments; • Calls on United Nations agencies to get involved in solving a number of radiation-related environment and health issues; and • Calls on the Marshall Islands to sponsor an independent radiological survey of the entire country with the assistance of the International Atomic Energy Agency. But many islanders have watched with increasing dejection as American courts have tossed out lawsuits by the nuclear ground zero islands of Bikini and Enewetak, and the US government for 12 years has ignored petitions seeking additional nuclear test compensation for personal injuries and land damages, clean-up programs, and loss of past use. Jack Niedenthal, who works for the Bikini Council, underlined a point now in the minds of many Marshall Islanders following the report’s release: Will the newly released UN report on the Marshall Islands have any impact on the nuclear legacy in the Marshall Islands? He said the report raises the issues Marshall Islanders have been making for years. “This is exactly the case the nuclear victims have been trying to make to both the US Congress and the US courts,” Niedenthal said. “The US still has unfinished business in the Marshall Islands when it comes to the nuclear legacy, and their obligations are moral ones and no court can ever take those obligations away.” From his viewpoint, “The big question now is, what impact—if any—will the UN Special Rapporteur’s report have on the situation in the Marshall Islands?” “It is time now,” said Marshall Islands Foreign Minister Phillip Muller, speaking to the Human Rights Council in Geneva on September 13, “to move beyond accusations and take action to resolve the very real human rights impacts which continue to exist as a result of the nuclear testing. “The Special Rapporteur has identified clear recommendations regarding those impacts and his report must be taken as a wake-up call to everyone.” Georgescu makes clear in the introduction that the purpose of the report “is neither to apportion blame nor attempt to make a legal pronouncement on the nuclear testing program”. The goal of the report is “to stimulate constructive and forwardlooking dialogue between the parties in the spirit of understanding, respect and reconciliation for the benefit of the Marshallese people.” Landmark report This is a landmark report for reasons other than its unbiased perspective. The United Nations, despite having endorsed US nuclear Islands Business, October 2012 17
Cover Report He quoted from the President-appointed US Advisory Comtesting in the Marshall Islands, has never taken a role in evaluatmittee on Human Radiation Experiments in the 1990s that recoming the impacts of the 67 tests at Bikini and Enewetak, or taking mended the US government to deliver “a personal, individualized responsibility for the paradox of its endorsement of the tests in the apology and provide financial compensation to the subjects or their face of UN provisions requiring the US to “protect the inhabitants next of kin of human radiation experiments in against the loss of their lands and resources”, as which efforts were made by the US government well as their health. to keep information secret from these individuals Muller, in his testimony, emphasized the point or their families, or from the public, for the purof the United Nations’ support of the testing pose of avoiding embarrassment or potential legal program. liability or both, and where this secrecy has had “Two UN resolutions on nuclear testing in the effect of denying individuals the opportunity the Marshall Islands remain the only instances to pursue potential grievances”. in which the UN ever explicitly authorized the His number one recommendation for the testing of nuclear weapons,” he said. Marshall Islands is to “carry out an independent, “Adopted in 1954 and 1956 in rejection of our comprehensive radiological survey of the entire petitions to halt the testing, those resolutions territory” and ask UN agencies “to undertake a made specific assurances of fairness, justice and study similar to the one conducted by the Interrespect for human rights which have never been national Atomic Energy Agency on testing sites in met. This continued denial of justice to our people other countries”. is completely unacceptable.” The Special Rapporteur’s report presents US Legacy of distrust and Marshall Islands sides of various nuclear test From interviewing nuclear test survivors durissues in a dispassionate manner and emphasizes ing his March visit to Majuro, he reported that the human rights view of the situation, not the “nuclear testing and the experiments have left a legal or scientific, which are the usual points of Calin Georgescu...UN Special Rapporteur. legacy of distrust in the hearts and minds of the reference. Marshallese”. But while “the deep fissure in the relationship between the two governments presents Full funding and reparation significant challenges”, Georgescu took an optimistic tone in looking ‘In recommending “full funding for the Nuclear Claims Tribunal to the future: “The opportunity for reconciliation and progress for to award adequate compensation for past and future claims”, he also the benefit of all Marshallese, is there to be taken.” urged the US to explore other types of reparation.
US govt reacts, but Marshalls wants more to be done
eacting to the release last month of the UN Special Rapporteur’s report on nuclear testing in the Marshall Islands, the US Embassy in Majuro said: “The United States is committed to a continuing dialogue and cooperation with the Marshallese people and their government on this important issue.” But behind the scenes, the US government challenged the Special Rapporteur’s mandate to review the nuclear testing program under the terms of reference for the assessment: “Implications for Human Rights of the Environmentally Sound Management and Disposal of Hazardous Substances and Wastes.” Special Rapporteur Calin Georgescu replied in oral testimony that nuclear testing was clearly within the scope of his authority. Both the US and Marshall Islands governments were provided with a draft copy of the report months prior to its official release on September 10, and provided written comments. Comments by the Marshall Islands are posted on the Human Rights Council’s website, but the official US government response was not immediately posted on the UN website. In the meantime, Douglas Carey, Deputy Chief of Mission at the US Embassy in Majuro, capital of the Marshall Islands, offered initial comments on the report. “The United States welcomed the visit to the Marshall Islands on March 27-30 and to the United States on April 24-27 by the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Implications for Human Rights of the Environmentally Sound Management and Disposal of Hazardous Substances and Wastes, Calin Georgescu,” he said. 18 Islands Business, October 2012
“We cooperated with the visit of the Special Rapporteur by providing information, answering questions and requests, and arranging meetings for him with experts and scientists throughout the US government.” He added: “The United States acknowledges the negative effects of our nuclear testing program and has accepted and acted on our responsibility to the people of the Marshall Islands. “As part of the 1986 Compact of Free Association, the United States and the Marshall Islands agreed to a ‘full and final settlement’ of all claims related to the nuclear testing.” In a visit to the Marshall Islands in August, US Assistant Secretary of State Kurt Campbell described the US government nuclear test compensation as “generous.” Carey commented: “To-date, the US government has provided over US$600 million for direct financial settlement of nuclear claims, resettlement funds, rehabilitation of affected atolls, and radiation-related health care costs. “The United States continues to support the Marshall Islands by providing radiation-related health care services and continued monitoring and environmental assessments on the affected atolls.” Marshall Islands Foreign Minister Phillip Muller in a testimony to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva on September 13, “acknowledged the efforts already undertaken by the United States to address the impacts of its nuclear weapons testing program”. But, he said, “much more remains to be done to address the past, present, and future impacts on the basic human rights of our Marshallese communities.”
Among key points highlighted: • The report said it is not attempting to make legal pronouncements related to nuclear testing. But in connection with US-Marshall Islands disagreement over interpretation of provisions of the Compact of Free Association related to additional nuclear test compensation, “interpretations of statutes should advance the course of justice,” it said. • There is dispute between US government scientists and Marshallese officials over the effects of radiation. “Regardless of the scientific debate on the link between exposure to low levels of radiation and cancer, (the Special Rapporteur) believes that a precautionary approach that emphasizes the likelihood of risk over conclusive proof may prove more prudent and protective of rights.” • The report expressed concern that scientific uncertainty about health effects of radioactive fallout “may have the effect of shifting the burden of providing those affected by the nuclear fallout with health services from the United States of America to the Marshall Islands.”
Phillip Muller...Marshall Islands is entitled to know the truth and be treated with dignity.
Georgescu expressed some optimism on this matter based on commitments made by US officials “to greater and meaningful discussions with the Marshallese on how the health dimensions may be addressed.” • Compelling testimony was provided by nuclear test survivors about “their psychological trauma from witnessing the explosions and their effect. Psychological stress and anxiety are recognized as a legitimate and serious health concern in populations where nuclear testing has been concluded. Although these health concerns are of a different nature to cancer, the fear of radiation itself is no less real.” This problem “should not be underestimated,” the report added. “The Special Rapporteur’s mission tells the world the Marshall Islands is entitled to know the truth, to be treated with dignity, and to have all those human rights which should never have been lost,” Muller commented, adding the Marshall Islands welcomed the recommendations and “we urge the United States and the international community to do likewise, and we look forward to doing our part to ensure their implementation.”
The 1954 Bravo test: In the eyes of a 2-year-old
eban Riklon traveled half way around the world to be present early 1980s) told me my lifespan would be short,” said Riklon, at the September 13 United Nations Human Rights Council’s now 60. “I’m very fortunate to be alive today.” hearing on the human rights impact of US nuclear testing in In contrast to the large percentage of the 82 people and four the Marshall Islands. unborn babies who were on Rongelap during the fallout in 1954, Riklon, now a senator in the Marshall Islands parliament, was Riklon has not had surgery to remove thyroid tumors. a two-year-old on Rongelap when the Bravo hydrogen bomb He called himself “lucky,” noting that he has only one serious was exploded at Bikini on March 1, 1954, dumping high-level health problem: a headache so severe that it induces him to vomit radioactive fallout on Rongelap and other downwind islands. and cause serious muscle pain. It has reoccurred for many years. “I was only two at the time and I don’t remember Doctors at a Hawaii hospital checked the problem the test,” he said in September. “As I grew up, I and “told me that it will not go away,” he said. “I learned about March 1 from my grandmother, from don’t know the cause of it. It will go away for a reading documents and talking with the Department while, then suddenly returns.” of Energy officials. My grandmother told me we In 1985, Rongelap islanders self-evacuated their were all very sick, with diarrhea and hair falling out.” atoll out of concern for radiation-caused health He does remember returning to Rongelap with injuries, and remain exiled to this day. his family in 1957—when US officials told RonBut a US-funded nuclear clean-up of the main gelap Islanders their atoll was safe for re-habitation, island in Rongelap in recent years has put a return but at the same time said in a report: “Even though to Rongelap on the front burner. the radioactive contamination of Rongelap Island is Riklon believes people are not ready to go back considered perfectly safe for human habitation, the and should not be pressured to return to Rongelap. levels of activity are higher than those found in other “People, especially the younger generation, don’t inhabited locations in the world. The habitation understand the consequences of contamination,” of these people on the island afford most valuable he said. ecological radiation data on human beings.” “We who were under the fallout, we know. We Riklon wouldn’t read that passage until many experience it mentally and physically.” Riklon...“I am very fortunate years later. In the meantime, his family in the 1950s Jeban He said there is a need for much more consultato be alive today.” settled on an island in the northern section of Rontion and dialog with the United States government gelap, the most heavily contaminated by the Bravo on the issue of Rongelap’s safety—a concern that fallout cloud in 1954, living by eating fish and fruits of the land the UN Special Rapporteur highlighted in his report as a “legacy that were laced with Cesium 137 and other radionuclides from of distrust” from the nuclear testing period in the 1950s. Bravo and other nuclear tests. “We want to go back home—that’s the bottom line,” Riklon “Dr Robert Conard (the American medical doctor who supersaid. “There is no place better, it’s my home.” But before people vised medical care and studies of Rongelap from 1954 until the return, Rongelap must be safe, he said. Islands Business, October 2012 19
PAPUA NEW GUINEA
The new leadership...at the first sitting of parliament. Photos: Oseah Philemon
Time to hope again for PNG A fresh start and prospect for better times By Rowan Callick Papua New Guinea is enjoying a fresh start after a mostly grim 12 months. The country has glimpsed the prospect of better times before, only to have it dashed. But the mostly successful election, the emergence of a parliament that looks on paper better than its predecessor—with some of the more troubling MPs replaced—and the support of three past prime ministers including Sir Michael Somare for the new government—all point in a positive direction. Above all, hopes are being pinned on the prime minister, whose election by 94 votes to 12 in the new parliament indicates a powerful degree of peer respect. 20 Islands Business, October 2012
Peter Charles Paire O’Neill’s mandate is such that he looks likely to remain in power for many years, and in some ways, he stood out from the crowd in the recent Pacific Islands Forum Leaders Summit in the Cook Islands. His inclination is to be friendly with his big neighbour and former coloniser, Australia. He observes with considerable interest events Down South, as people in PNG uniquely can —with direct access to Australian TV, radio and newspapers. But he has his own thoughts as to how regional and global events might best be managed to suit PNG and Pacific interests. A former successful accountant—a great qualification for a leader in a developing country—and businessman, he naturally leans to pro-private sector policies.
Under him, Australia and PNG appear set to work more closely together on regional issues —but as a team in which both have a say over strategy rather than as leader and follower. He wants to support Canberra by reopening the Manus asylum seeker processing centre, but insists that this happens “in a humane manner,” preferably through allowing the inmates a free run of Manus, and also through processing their claims expeditiously. Whether and how this might fit the “no advantage” test of the Julia Gillard government —through which no asylum seeker coming by boat can be processed before they would have been at a refugee camp back home—could prove an interesting challenge. At the Forum summit, where he made measured contributions, O’Neill also took steps to bring Fiji back into the fold—but artfully outside the Forum, from which he agreed with Gillard it should remain suspended until it holds elections. He is inviting Fiji to join talks he is hosting in October to help finalise—after eight drifting years of negotiations—a free trade agreement between the islands countries and the European Union. As PNG becomes wealthier—it has been growing by more than 7.5 percent per year since the start of 2010—its role in the region will change. PNG’s role in region to change O’Neill has not followed his predecessor
Somare in talking of developGuinea chiefly through the ing an aid programme for the bearded face of founding region. He is too focused on father Somare. gearing up his own governThey need to get to know ment’s capacity to deliver O’Neill now. He has over the basic services while balancing last 18 months demonstrated the books, to consider—yet a degree of political tenacity —handing out money to the and of big-picture leaderneighbours. ship that indicates he will One area that is open to imbe around for a long while provement in the relationship to come. with Canberra, is in processing Aged 47, he is 30 years visas to visit Australia. younger than Somare, who He believes that young acknowledged O’Neill’s Papua New Guineans espemastery by pragmatically cially, might become usefully swinging his National Alli“exposed to the international ance Party behind him in the way of doing things” through emerging government, thus easier access to Australia. winning for his followers a He said: “As the former Peter O’Neill...has a powerful degree of peer couple of ministries. colonial administrator, there respect. Photo: Lisa Williams-Lahari Especially after his impresshould be some level of unsive electoral victory, O’Neill derstanding. We give visas on is comfortable in his own arrival to Australians. And because of our customskin. He went into politics after already becomary obligations, we don’t overstay. Even in death, ing quite well-off. we make our way home.” He is a mixed race person, who is proud of He said Papua New Guineans are pleased to both his remarkable parents—his father, a patrol see Somare and his supporters and the judiciary officer then a magistrate, originally from William“now participating in a constructive manner, stown in Melbourne; and his mother, a Southern so we can all provide the stability and unity the Highlands woman in whose village he grew up country is asking for.” immersed in her culture too. Many Pacific islanders still know Papua New His political party, the People’s National Con-
gress (PNC), became at the recent election the dominant grouping in a parliament where power is otherwise highly dispersed. The PNC, which was founded by former prime minister Bill Skate, won 27 seats, while only two other parties scraped into double figures. When he formed government in August last year through a vote in parliament, the PNC had just ten members. O’Neill’s is no overnight success. He was elected to parliament—whose terms are five years —in 2002, taking on the leadership of the party almost immediately. Since then, he has been both Leader of Opposition and Treasurer. Why the success at the election, given the pain that PNG had to endure during the year in which senior judges declared that Somare—who was away in Singapore for almost five months for medical treatment—should be reinstated as prime minister? At one stage, the country had rival prime ministers, cabinets, police and army chiefs. O’Neill said in Rarotonga that the key to his electoral success was the stability which he created during the political impasse—a word he prefers to “crisis.” During this difficult year for PNG, O’Neill’s deputy prime minister was Belden Namah, a controversial, bold and sometimes troubling politician, a former soldier who was jailed for sedition and then pardoned by Somare. Despite predictions that Namah—who in Islands Business, October 2012 21
PAPUA NEW GUINEA June burst into the Supreme Court and ordered police to arrest the chief justice—would seize the leadership as well as the limelight, either before or after the election, his party fared poorly and he was effectively forced into opposition. O’Neill said: “I was fighting political opponents not only within the formal opposition but also within our own government. And battling on many fronts is rarely a successful military strategy, but I had no alternative. “Even on the last day of the last sitting of the parliament, there were manoeuvring to frustrate the election and change the government at the final hour.” That stiffened his resolve. The keys to passing this test? “I was not erratic in decisionmaking. I kept my word when I told the nation what I was going to do. I needed to maintain my composure and to take the country to elections. “The country responded in a very mature manner, and the results indicated to us that the voters want staUnified...PM O’Neill moved towards conciliation with the judiciary by asking Chief Justice Salamo Injia to preside over the start of the first bility and better leadership session of the new parliament. and delivery of services, and a firmer commitment from leaders as to their responvestigate people whose positions define them as PNG growth. But O’Neill warns that “we have sibilities, as custodians of the people’s wishes leaders under PNG’s Leadership Code. had many economic opportunities in the past, and hopes.” O’Neill said: “We want to expand this through but we have mismanaged them because of poor He believes that his policy priorities also helped the ICAC to cover all citizens including those in leadership in politics and in the public service. his electoral success because they matched those the private sector who seem to be participants “My predecessors had unique challenges, of most voters: free schooling, free basic health in the corruption process. It’s important that we and I wish to learn from the past but move the care, building better schools and clinics, major spread the net wider.” country forward.” works programmes including the Highlands He said he hopes PNG—which is preparing For instance, he says, in the past ordinary Papua Highway and other key roads, and rebuilding for visits from Prince Charles and from the AnNew Guineans failed to participate in the successairports and ports, managing through fiscal glican Archbishop of Canterbury—never repeats ful development of major projects, especially in discipline the country’s rapid, resource-driven its annus horribilis and that it learns from the the resource industry. economic growth, creating job opportunities experience. “This has brought in a lot of revenue over 25 especially in small and medium businesses, and O’Neill moved towards conciliation with the years but people ask where did all the money go?” tackling law and order issues, including corjudiciary by asking Chief Justice Salamo Injia to ruption. preside over the start of the first session of the Future new parliament. “I’m pleased,” O’Neill said, that In the future, he wants to see more ordinary Impressive progress this newly unified governance “is slowly taking citizens take up opportunities arising from big Already, O’Neill said, he is preparing a strong shape”. But the challenges remain immense. projects, to improve their own standard of livlegislative programme to pursue such goals. ing—helped by better education and health stanMatthew Morris, deputy director of the DevelChallenges dards, government support for training, improved opment Policy Centre at the Australian National He noted that PNG has seen better times infrastructure including telecommunications, University in Canberra, who formerly worked come before, only for the country to fall backwith mobile phone access now surging through as an economist in PNG’s Finance Department, wards again. PNG, and cheap capital. pointed out that despite the constant political For instance, “there are still many who rememHe believes that “corruption is stopping the warfare, the period during which O’Neill was ber those good times just after independence” in growth of PNG’s potential. prime minister before the election saw “impres1975, “and have seen the country deteriorate to There has been too much finger-pointing, sive progress on a number of fronts”—including the levels of the last few years because of a lack sometimes without much evidence,” hence legislation to set up a sovereign wealth fund to of infrastructure and of basic services, and the his determination now to introduce “a sensible manage resource revenues and keep them away list goes on…” method of making everyone accountable to the from “sticky fingers”; a taskforce to tackle corrupThis has been due to a lack of leadership and public and to the institutions we run, by setting tion, which obtained a series of arrests; cracking “proper planning,” he said, “although there have up an Independent Commission Against Cordown on procurement fraud in the health departbeen plans—but they are literally gathering dust ruption (ICAC).” ment; abolishing fees for schools and basic health in Waigani,” the administrative centre in Port Legislation is now being drafted to introduce care; and stepping up investment in infrastructure Moresby. such a commission, modelled on the tough lines including a new port for Lae and optic fibre con“A lot of our people lost hope and trust that of the original ICAC that was established in Hong nection from Madang to Lae. we leaders were capable of delivering. But now Kong in 1974 when the then British colony was Since the start of 2010, PNG has become the there is a generational change in the leadership, notorious for its corruption. Pacific tiger economy, growing by more than 7.5 and people are expecting a big shift in the way we To-date, the Ombudsman Commission has percent each year. do business and manage the country. It’s a time been the chief agency tackling corruption—but This marks another phase of a resources boom to hope again.” its powers are circumscribed and it can only inagain promising to become the engine for broader 22 Islands Business, October 2012
PAPUA NEW GUINEA it is now possible to discuss HIV with political leaders, businesses, and even the general public. However, NACS reports that despite these achievements, the HIV epidemic continues to outpace the response. Prevention remains inadequate compared to the scope of the epidemic. • For every HIV positive person put on ART in 2010, two new people contracted the virus. A total of 4208 new infections were detected in 2010 alone. As can be seen from this figure, the demand for ART will continue to rise due to the cumulative number of people living with HIV. An estimated 31,421 people are now living with HIV in the country; • Sixteen percent (16%) of HIV positive people who need ART are still not accessing it; • The number of people testing annually for HIV Remarkable...So says Wep Kanawi (right) of the progress made by PNG in its response to the HIV epidemic in the last five years. Photos: has stagnated at 2010 levels; Oseah Philemon • ART treatment centers are still largely confined in provincial and few district hospitals; and despite many people being put on ART, treatment adherence remains an ongoing challenge creating risk of resistance to first line drugs; • Only 10,362 of approximately 107,000 STI cases reported to the National Health Information System (NHIS) had HIV test in 2011, contrary to WHO recommendation adopted by PNG to offer HIV tests to all STI patients; • Of the 17,939 new cases of pulmonary TB reported to NHIS in 2011, only 3,109 received an HIV test, contrary to WHO recommendation adopted He pointed out that the By Oseah Philemon by PNG to offer HIV test number of HIV counselling to patients with TB; and testing sites has increased Papua New Guinea has made • The roll-out of twodramatically from just four in a remarkable progress in its restep algorithm for HIV 2004 when counselling and sponse to the HIV epidemic with testing and confirmation testing commenced in the much of that progress occurring in the last five continues to lag behind as country to 266 to-date. years, according to the man who has been at the staff in only 120 of more More testing sites are forefront of the country’s national response. than 500 sites have been needed especially in the unWep Kanawi, who until recently spearheaded trained. This also explains derserved districts which PNG’s response to the epidemic, said the ‘war’ the stagnation in the levels cover most of the rural areas. is not over yet for PNG but the signs now look of HIV counselling and According to the NACS, more positive than before. testing in the last two years. the number of people tested The National AIDS Council Secretariat One positive achieveannually for HIV has in(NACS), which he headed for sometime, has ment for PNG is that womcreased from 1,407 in 2004 reported that PNG’s national HIV prevalence en continue to be at the to 138,581 in 2010. peaked in mid-2000s (at 1.62% prevalence in forefront of its response to This increase has been 2006) but has since declined to 0.82%, based on the HIV/AIDS epidemic. driven by the expansion in the 2010 surveillance data. Tessie Soi, who founded counselling and testing sites A total of 10,494 HIV positive adults and the Friends Foundation at which has brought services children are now receiving life prolonging antithe Port Moresby General closer to the people; retroviral treatment (ART), representing 83.74% Hospital, said her group has The secretariat reports of HIV positive people who require ART. now moved into caring for that HIV-related stigma and Kanawi said recently that globally this level orphans who have lost both discrimination is declining of achievement is regarded as best practice as with recent independent Tessie Soi...in the forefront of PNG’s response parents due to AIDS-related not many countries have achieved this level of illnesses. review report indicating that to HIV/AIDS epidemic. ART coverage.
HIV war not over yet
But there are positive signs: Kanawi
24 Islands Business, October 2012
NORTHERN MARIANA ISLANDS
History in the making: Impeaching a governor? Mixed reactions from islanders By Haidee V. Eugenio
For the first time in the history of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI), a resolution impeaching or removing a sitting governor was introduced in the House of Representatives. It has since become one of the most divisive political issues in this U.S. territory of almost 54,000 people. House Resolution 17-111 listed 16 articles of impeachment against the governor for felony, corruption and neglect of duty. The governor can be impeached and convicted in any one of the 16 allegations. “Our people have lost faith and confidence in the ability and leadership of Governor Benigno R. Fitial to govern the Commonwealth as its highest elected official. “It is no longer a question of should we impeach but how soon,” said House minority leader Joseph Deleon Guerrero (R-Saipan), when he led the House minority bloc in pre-filing the milestone resolution on Aug. 27. But the governor said the allegations are “frivolous” and do not rise to the level of impeachment. Fitial, the CNMI’s seventh governor, said the resolution was only meant to cover up its authors’ failures in office. The governor said removing him from office is not the solution to CNMI’s main issues, most importantly the crumbling pension system, the healthcare crisis, economic recovery and lowering the cost of electricity. An eight-member House Special Committee on Impeachment was formed to review the 22page resolution and make recommendations to the full House. The committee is expected to wrap up its review in early October, unless they ask for an extension. ‘Inmate takeout’ Among the allegations of corruption, neglect of duty and felony against the governor stemmed from a temporary release of a Chinese federal inmate in January 2010 only to give the governor a massage at his private residence from late night to early morning. This was followed by the governor’s failure to remove his former attorney-general (AG) after it became clear the AG used public resources to host a gathering for a U.S. delegate candidate. The resolution also cited the governor’s award of almost US$400,000 sole-source contract to a former commerce secretary within days of resigning. Others included the governor’s failure to fully remit employers’ contribution to the NMI Retirement Fund since 2006 that has since been a major factor in its disastrous state. The governor’s failure to nominate a Supreme Court chief justice and appoint individuals to
Politics discussion and lengthy review of the numerous acts of neglect and corruption committed during his term in office,” the main author of the resolution said. The resolution’s main author also said “using or instructing law enforcement personnel to protect a criminal from being served with a judicial penal summons only confirms what a lot of people have been saying—that this governor believes he is above the law.” Delegate Gregorio Kilili C. Sablan (Ind-MP), CNMI’s first and so far only non-voting delegate to the U.S. Congress, echoed the House minority bloc’s sentiment when he said, “No one is above the law.” He said the seven lawmakers “have listened to the public outcry” and acted in accordance with the NMI Constitution.
Still a tough sell As of Sept. 14, three of the 16 articles of impeachment were adopted by the Committee and could be acted on by the full House. Despite the widespread talks about the impeachment, it remains a tough sell among most lawmakers, especially in the House of Representatives, whose leadership is aligned with or members of the governor’s Republican Party. At least 14 affirmative votes in the 20-member House are Governor Benigno Fitial...allegation frivolous. Photo: Haidee Eugenio needed to impeach the governor. So far, only eight have gone on record saying they will impeach the governor; seven of them co-authors of the serve on the Civil Service Commission and the impeachment resolution. Public Utilities Commission also made it to the At least six affirmative votes in the ninelist of allegations. member Senate are also needed to convict the governor. ‘Last straw’ The governor and his supporters have been But the “last straw” that forced the House putting a tough fight to prevent the resolution minority bloc to finally pre-file a resolution from getting out of the House because the Senwhich they have been crafting for quite some ate is likely to convict the governor. The Senate time now was the governor’s role in the former leadership and the administration are not seeing attorney-general Edward Buckingham’s premaeye-to-eye on a host of issues and have been ture departure from the CNMI using armed engaging in verbal wars against each other. police and ports police escorts to the airport to Eighteen of the 20 members of the House prevent him from being served a penal summons across party lines are seeking re-election on Nov. for criminal charges. 6. Three of the nine members of the Senate are Despite the scuttle, an FBI agent was able to also seeking re-election. serve the penal summons ordering the AG to Glen Hunter, a concerned citizen, asked the appear in court two days later. House to give the Senate “the ability to investigate The AG didn’t return to Saipan,and a judge the claims”. issued a bench warrant and imposed a cash bail “Some among you have said that Fitial is ‘inof US$50,000. The AG has since been declared nocent until proven guilty.’ This is true. I ask you a fugitive from justice. to give the Senate a chance to hear Fitial defend The “airport drama” was aggravated days later himself against these charges. Should this matter by the news leak of a no-bid, US$190.8 million go to public recall, he will not be given such an power purchase agreement for 25 years that the opportunity. It is immensely clear that the public governor signed without the knowledge of most sentiment is behind the impeachment proceedin CNMI, including his lieutenant governor. ings,” Hunter said. The governor’s former AG also signed the If and when the governor is impeached by the controversial deal on his last work day—a day House and convicted by the Senate, the lieutenbefore his premature departure from the CNMI. ant governor becomes the governor until the remainder of his term in January 2015. ‘No one is above the law’ In the history of the United States and its ter“The decision to impeach the highest elected ritories, only eight sitting governors have been official of the Commonwealth did not hapimpeached and convicted. pen overnight. It was reached after months of Islands Business, October 2012 25
Hot issue...Luxury yacht Phocea in Port Vila. Photo: Bob Makin
Hot on the campaign trail
Moli Venaos Moi Saken Thi Tam Goiset and Fiji lawyer, Juris Gulbis Saken, both the latter holding plenipotentiary powers for the Russian breakaway province of Abkhazia. Voters are asking where this is leading to, especially since Vu Anh Saken has been put forward as Vanuatu’s consul to Thailand and Peru. Phocea cases have been in court since Parliament rose and are likely to be there still after a new government is in place. Connections with Thailand, Peru and Abkhazia are another matter again. conferral. Voters see nothing there to Enter the luxury yacht, assist Vanuatu. Phocea. Belonging to a Questions in village voter wealthy Vietnamese busiawareness sessions also connessman from Thailand, one centrate heavily on the World who is said to have spent his Trade Organisation and benpre-school years in Port Vila efits, if any, Vanuatu might be and is now chairman of the able to expect. Billionaire Yacht Club, he Even the Melanesian Speardidn’t even take his 4-master head Group membership is to the quarantine area before being seriously questioned welcoming ministers of state on talkback radio in this the aboard. country which hosts the MSG When an official boardSecretariat. ing party required Phocea to However, the caretaker complete arrival formalities, ministers of trade and finance it proved too much for owner continue to promote permaVu Anh Kuan Saken, who Sato Kilman...contesting the election nent residency for Chinese scheduled for October 30. Photo: PACNEWS immediately fled the country. nationals and fast-track appliSaken left behind a range cations from the Hong Kong of fraud and forgery charges which will keep the branches of Vanuatu’s Investment Promotion media occupied through October when interest Authority and its Financial Services Commission. in the elections might wane. The people of Vanuatu, at the polls at the Mystery surrounds the allegedly fraudulent end of the month, will draw the line where documentation found onboard Phocea from Asian investors are concerned, as one of the first local seaman’s papers for each of the crew, none things investors will require is land. The Vanuatu of whom had been to Vanuatu before, to new Constitution states that all land belongs to the registration papers for the yacht itself. Vanuatu ni-Vanuatu custom owner. passports were allegedly found onboard as well. The last thing the ni-Vanuatu will give away is And what was the Phocea’s role in Tonga? land, and a storm is brewing over land the land Vanuatu Foreign Minister Alfred Carlot, facing minister had taken from custom owners of one charges of boarding the illegally entered vessel, community and gave to a front man for foreign spoke of owner Saken having done much to save business interests named on the indefeasible the day for the government of Tonga when PhoTorrens title. cea visited there. No details were given. Going to court over this, is likely to be the And then there is the name Saken, shared by first big task for the new government at the end the ship’s owner with local businesswoman Te of the month.
October 30 D-Day for Natapei, Kilman By Bob Makin Faced with a boycott by parliamentarians who were not going to allow a vote on an incomplete draft bill, the outgoing Vanuatu government of Sato Kilman withdrew its remaining 17 bills and opted for caretaker mode. Election day is October 30 and the end of August—the final sitting of Parliament—gave enough time for the parties to rush leadership challenges through the Supreme Court, Appeals Court and wherever else necessary. As Islands Business went to press, Vanuatu was on the campaign trail. The old guard of the Vanuaaku Pati (the VP, the party, which led Vanuatu to independence in 1980), saw off a challenge from what claimed to be a youthful movement for change. It was neither very young nor visionary. Nor was it clever enough to promote meaningful change to benefit the electorate. As a result Edward Nipake Natapei and his long standing executives won and will go to the polls with a strong team of 28 for the 52-seat House. The Union of Moderate Parties (UMP), likewise, was alleged to be ready for change. However, nothing came out of the bid to take over and Serge Vohor was again confirmed in the top position by the full bench of the Court of Appeal. Dubious dealings of the Kilman government are now filling the media and bulletins and will continue to do so until the end of the month. Highly suspicious lease titles have been emerging from the Lands Ministry in recent months and cases of illegal citizenship from a commission intended to supervise correct nationality 26 Islands Business, October 2012
Forum loses their countries hundreds of millions of dollars a year. New Zealand Prime Minister John Key, the outgoing chairman, said this summit had seen “by far the lowest level of intensity” of any that he had attended, on the Fiji issue. The countries agreed that Fiji would remain suspended from the Forum until it had conducted elections, due by September 2014, following the introduction of a new constitution. Puna said that reflecting on the recent return to normal diplomatic relations between Australia, New Zealand and Fiji, as Fiji’s constitutional consultations had got under way, the leaders wished to encourage greater engagement with Fiji beyond the Forum. Key said a key issue in terms of a continued warming of relations with Fiji would be the role envisaged for the military after an election. O’Neill has invited Fiji to participate in negotiations in PNG in October towards the conclusion of a free trade agreement between the islands states and the European Union, for which talks have dragged on since 2004. Free access for In the spirit of openness...Cook Islands Prime Minister Henry Puna began his formal speech by performing, with tuna from PNG and sugar from Fiji are among professional polish, a local hit country-style song. Photos: Lisa Williams-Lahari the issues at stake. In the sidelines of the Forum, the most momentous event—apart from the visit of US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton—was the announcement by China, New Zealand and the Cook islands of China’s first ever first joint aid project—for improving water supply in Rarotonga. New Zealand Foreign Minister Murray McCully told me: “We were the first developed country to sign a free trade agreement with China (in 2008), so it makes sense for us also to be the first to agree to a joint aid project.” China was represented at the post-Forum dialogue by Vice Foreign Minister Cui Tiankai, participating for piece of Pacific. By Rowan Callick the third time. “It’s hard to concentrate on The Forum leaders also work here,” half-complained The security agents of US Secretary of backed the principle of the Papua New Guinea’s highly State Hillary Clinton were instructed to leave right to self-determination by focused Prime Minister Peter their guns behind at Rarotonga Airport in the French Polynesia. O’Neill. He wasn’t wrong. Cook Islands. And they urged member But the Forum still conHer advance party scrutinised the arrival of countries to introduce legislatrived to conduct some handy Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard in the tion and regulations that have business, even though these Cooks, approved the dancers, the drummers and been developed by the Secresummits have typically proven the flowery leis, but asked if “the guy with the tariat of the Pacific Community more valuable for networkspear” was really necessary. (SPC) to control the burgeoning between leaders who live The answer: Yes he is. ing new resource industry fronscattered so far apart, then for In recent years, the Pacific Islands Forum tier of deep-sea mining. concrete outcomes. summits have seen informal Pacific ways overDirector-General of SPC, Dr Sometimes instead, the Fowhelmed by over-zealous security measures and Jimmie Rodgers, said that this rum has in the past merely preening acronymically prodigious officials. was needed to ensure the Paaccentuated the obvious—like But in the Cooks, in the centre of the ocean, cific countries reap the greatest the signs prominently disthe islanders struck back. benefits from harnessing these played around the 32km road The opening ceremony to which the leaders resources. that rings Rarotonga island, were carried on massive wooden thrones by eight Key applauded the Cooks for which point away from the reef warriors, surrounded by schoolchildren, dancers the theme it chose for the comand towards the mountains at and drummers, was spectacularly colourful, and ing year in the Pacific: “Large its centre: “Tsunami Evacuaopen to all. Ocean Islands States.” tion Route.” The Cooks government insisted that the pubHe said that instead of focusThe subject that occupied lic—including many schoolchildren—were let ing on the small land size of the most time of the leaders this in freely, and the new Forum chairperson Prime Pacific islands—Rarotonga is year was the region’s biggest reMinister Henry Puna began his formal speech by just 32 km around—“the obvisource—its fisheries, chiefly its performing, with professional polish, a local hit ous potential of the Pacific is tuna, of which the Pacific supcountry style song. often overlooked” for transport plies 60 percent, worth more Even the conference shirts—blue, naturally, to connecting the countries, for than $US 4.3 billion. match the skies and the sea – were freakishly nonits fisheries as a source of liveliThe leaders expressed conembarrassing. They may well even be worn again. cern over “illegal, unreported John Key...applauds the Cooks for 2013 hood and its beauty to attract The 15 leaders met on One Footprint Island tourists. and unregulated fishing” that Forum meeting theme. in Aitutaki Lagoon, a heartbreakingly beautiful
Forum with a difference
Cooks’ Puna insists on an open summit
Islands Business, October 2012 27
Forum review’s key recommendations will not be considered until the conclusion of a review of the Pacific Plan in late 2013. It uses the following language: “Leaders considered the Review Report of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat and agreed that in light of the imminent review of the Pacific Plan in 2013, that the recommendations of the Review Report, in particular the restatement of the core business of the Secretariat and its senior management structure be considered as part of the review of the Pacific Plan. Leaders also urged the Secretariat to take into account the Review Report in its ongoing corporate and budget reform efforts.” This justification for delaying consideration of the review’s most important recommendations is weak at best. The recommendations regarding PIFS’ core business and senior management structure are broader than the Pacific Plan. They include: a new management structure (expanding the number of Deputy Secretary positions); reaffirmThe top brass at the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat...Secretary-General Tuiloma Neroni Slade (right) with his two deputies ing the position of PIFS as the permaFeleti Teo (left) and Andie Fong Toy (middle). Photo: Lisa Williams-Lahari nent chair of CROP; a role for PIFS in areas outside its core mandate to facilitate coordination of funding from donors; and stronger prioritisation mechanisms involving member states. There is no good reason for tying recommendations to improve the effectiveness of PIFS to a review of the Pacific Plan. At the same time, PIFS has failed to make the report public, despite a draft being leaked. Taken together, these responses suggest that the recommendations have not been welcomed. More strident hostility towards the review was visible in recent comments made by the Prime Minister of Samoa, Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi. Tuilaepa labelled suggestions that PIFS does not adequately represent or meet the needs of was extensive and included PIFS’ management By Matthew Dornan* member states as “stupid” and “arrogant”. His team and staff. comments, although not targeted directly at the The review made a number of criticisms of The Leaders’ Meeting of the 43rd Pacific review, touch upon its recommendations. PIFS, four of the most important being that: Islands Forum was held in the Cook Islands in The review does not directly state that PIFS has • PIFS lacks ownership by and engagement late-August. The event was attended by delegates failed to represent or meet the needs of islands with member states: reflected in its reliance on from over 60 countries, including high level digstates, but it comes close in arguing that “the donor funding and the failure of some members nitaries such as Hillary Clinton (first time for a level of engagement between the Secretariat and to send delegates to Forum Officials’ meetings US Secretary of State), and resulted in new donor member states is weak in both directions”, and or to ratify the 2005 Agreement Establishing the funding in a range of areas, especially gender inithat “one of the challenges for the Forum and for Pacific Islands Forum. tiatives. Widespread media coverage highlighted the Forum Secretariat, is to be relevant to each • Priority setting is weak and the budget is the continued importance of the event. individual member state”. allocated ineffectively across many different Largely ignored by the meeting was a damnThe response of Forum Leaders and PIFS to programmes. This criticism extends to the Pacific ing review of the Pacific Islands Forum Secrethe review is unfortunate. The report explicitly Plan, described as having an “absence of clear tariat (PIFS), the premier regional organisation highlights the strength of PIFS and its unique priorities or a robust prioritisation framework”. that supports the Forum, is responsible for the ability to bring together leaders from across the • Funding is uncertain: only 18 percent of revimplementation of the Pacific Plan, and is the diverse Pacific Islands region. Also, the criticisms enue has any year-to-year certainty (i.e., regular permanent chair of the Council of Regional raised by the review are hardly new. There is a budget), creating operational difficulties. Organisations of the Pacific (CROP). widespread view that the regional architecture • Institutional overlap occurs between PIFS The review of the Pacific Islands Forum Secre(including PIFS and the Pacific Plan) is ineffecand other CROP agencies: climate change is tariat was commissioned by the Forum Officials’ tive due to institutional overlap and a diffusion designated an area of particular concern in this Committee, which oversees the activities of PIFS, of effort across many areas. regard. and conducted by well-respected individuals in The review of the Pacific Islands Forum Underlying many of these criticisms are “quite the region. Tessie Lambourne is the Foreign AfSecretariat is an attempt by serious people with significant management capacity and operational fairs and Immigration Secretary for the Governconsiderable experience in PIFS to investigate issues”. Substantial reforms are recommended to ment of Kiribati and a long-standing member of whether such views have substance. Their recomaddress these matters, including better reporting the Forum Officials’ Committee; Kolone Vaai is mendations need to be seriously considered, not lines and country input into the prioritisation of a former Financial Secretary for the Government just swept under the pandanus mat. activities (which would also improve engagement of Samoa; and Peter Winder has considerable with member states). experience in public service management in • Matthew Dornan is a Post-doctoral Research Fellow at the So far, responses to the report have been New Zealand. The range of people interviewed Development Policy Centre, Crawford School of Public Policy, ANU College of Asia & the Pacific, Canberra. muted. The Forum Communique states that the for the review
PIFS review needs to be taken seriously Not swept under the pandanus mat
28 Islands Business, October 2012
Pacific Islands leaders...with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Rarotonga during the Leaders Summit in August.. Photos: ADB
Renaissance in long-overlooked region? By Stephen P. Groff*
eflecting on this year’s successful Pacific Forum Leaders’ Summit in the idyllic island paradise of the Cook Islands, one might ask if we are witnessing a renaissance in this long-overlooked region. The presence of leaders from Australia, New Zealand, the US, Pacific Islands and senior officials from the People’s Republic of China and UN Women suggests that something is afoot. The announcement of a 10-year, $320 million Pacific Gender Initiative by the Australian government and a unique partnership between China and New Zealand to finance water supply and sanitation improvements in the Cook Islands gave further reason to think that the future may be brighter in what U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton referred to as the “half of Asia-Pacific that does not always get the attention it deserves.” Three years after the “Cairns Compact,” is the situation on the ground evolving or are we just spectators at a 21st century version of Kipling’s “Great Game”—one played out over vast oceans rather than barren steppes? As such things go, the answer is slightly more nuanced than the guest list in Rarotonga might suggest. The Pacific region is defined by its ocean, but it is also isolated by it. The cost of this isolation has been reduced rates of growth over the long-term with non-resource rich Pacific islands nations growing at around 1% per annum over the past decade, far less than population growth. Small land areas and isolation are also major contributors to fragility in the region. Transport, energy and communication costs in the Pacific’s small islands and isolated rural regions are among the highest in the world. The costs of providing small, disperse populations with basic health, education, energy, water
supply and sanitation services are also high, and opportunities to increase government revenues seem few.
Pacific, where the effects of climate change are profoundly felt and renewable energy has been adopted at a remarkable pace in recent years. But merely recognising these opportunities is Glimmers of hope not enough. Pacific leaders must focus on three But amidst this “sea” of challenges are glimkey areas to turn potential into advantage. mers of hope. An election and the successful Strengthening human resource development navigation of what once might have been immois essential. The University of the South Pacific bilising political challenges in Papua New Guinea (USP) is taking the lead in this area, pairing are encouraging. Reforms in Fiji advances in technology with a and recent progress in diplomatic sharpened focus on technical and relations with Australia and New vocational education and training. Zealand likewise offer reasons for USP will spend $19 million optimism. over the next few years to ensure We should also keep in mind students can surmount the region’s that 2013 marks the 10th annigeographic challenges and build versary of the Regional Assistance their skills. Mission to the Solomon Islands Pacific countries must also re(RAMSI), an enterprise that has form their business environments had a hugely positive impact on by increasing access to finance and the lives of thousands of Solomon making it easier for the private Islanders. businesses to grow and create jobs. In addition to signs of poFinally, greater regional cooplitical progress, rapid advances eration in the areas of investment in technology are increasingly Stephen Groff...amidst challenges, policy and business law, among making physical distance less there are glimmers of hope in the others, is integral to the future islands. of an obstacle to development. of the Pacific. The potential for Information and communication Pacific nations to join together and technology, such as advances in mobile telephony create an attractive single market should not be and the kind of submarine fibre-optic cables soon discounted. Regional cooperation can also enable to connect Tonga, Fiji and Solomon Islands with collective action against global challenges, such as the rest of the world, not only reduce the limitaclimate change. Working together, Pacific countions imposed by geography, but also change the tries can advance the climate and development economic landscape of the Pacific. Better confinancing agenda. nectivity could address the ‘remoteness’ of these While the picture is decidedly mixed and the nations and allow Pacific countries to explore challenges daunting, newfound attention to this new opportunities, and more effective means of region could help usher in the kind of transpardelivering services like education and health care. ency and change so desperately needed in this vast The high cost of power generation has hobbled and yet remote corner of the globe. development, but astonishing advances in renew• Stephen P. Groff is Vice-President for East Asia, Southeast able energy technology hold promise for the Asia and the Pacific at the Asian Development Bank in Manila. Islands Business, October 2012 29
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PNG wants changes in Nautilus deal Shareholding dispute heads for arbitration in favour.” The PNG government wants that changed to Papua New Guinea’s new government has a “90 percent threshold to be applied to all major raised fresh concerns over shareholding issues decisions…and a 51 percent threshold for less relating to its joint venture arrangements with material decisions.” Canadian-listed pioneer seabed minerals miner It has also raised concerns over funding issues Nautilus Minerals Inc. in JV2, saying that if money is to be forked out to It now wants to amend its end of the deal, pay for services, then a cost certainty in relation inked in March last year by the previous governto the amount required must be determined. ment headed by Sir Michael Somare. Other demands include the right to own 30 Documents sighted by Islands Business percent of all JV project property, including all reveal extensive dissatisfaction by the Peter property covered by contractor arrangement, O’Neill-led government over a number of seeing that it will be dishing out around $153.8 commercial details in the two joint ventures million to pay its part of the deal in JV1. that were formed as part of Nautilus’ minerals Former chief justice of Australia’s High Court extraction works at its Solwara 1 project in PNG’s Murray Gleeson has been appointed by both parBismarck Sea. ties as arbitrator of the dispute, Nautilus had set up two although no timeframe has been joint-venture companies— given for arbitration, which will Nautilus Minerals Niugini Ltd take place in Australia. (JV1) and Nautilus Minerals Nautilus has, however, reSingapore Ltd (JV2)—but the ported that it will try to resolve state does not have full 30 perthe matter through dialogue with cent in both companies. the government and that arbitraThe two parties are at logtion will be a last resort. gerheads amid growing local Meanwhile, PNG mining and international protests over minister Byron Chan says his Nautilus and its pioneering government will proceed with foray into mining seabed for the Nautilus Solwara 1 project precious metals, with Solwara because the mining license has 1 being its first and the world’s already been granted. first seabed minerals mine. Chan said this recently as local According to the documents, and international opposition to the PNG government now the project and seabed mining wants the 70/30 JV (Joint Vengrew. ture) shareholding structure Among those opposing the Michael Somare...isssued a mining project is the New Ireland proconfined to JV1 in the initial Sir licence to Nautilus. Photo: Oseah deal to be reflected also in JV2. Philemon vincial government which is In JV1—the vehicle through headed by the mining minister’s which Nautilus’ work in PNG father and Governor Sir Julius will be carried out—the state is entitled to a 30 Chan. Solwara 1 is located in waters off New Irepercent ownership but this is not so in JV2. land and East New Britain, and both have raised The JV2 partnership is specifically for the strong concerns over Nautilus’ activities there. management and operation of special mining Sir Julius recently told Radio New Zealand again vessels by the German-based ship management that he was strongly opposed to seabed mining company Harren & Partner, a service it will protaking place in his province. vide to Nautilus to carry out its mining works He said his government had opposed the in Solwara 1. project since its inception. In JV2, registered in Singapore, Harren & However, Minister Chan whose Namatanai Partner holds 50.1 percent while the State indielectorate is also in New Ireland, said the previrectly holds 24.95 percent. This is something the ous Somare government had already issued the O’Neill government wants to change, its view mining license to Nautilus on January 11 and this being that it must own 30 percent, consistent with government will have to implement the decision. the JV1 structure, while Harren & Partner should He also said this to clarify reports in the Posthold zero interest in the partnership. Courier in early August that it was the O’Neill Also on the government’s list of demands government that had approved seabed mining. are changes to be made in the way decisions are Meanwhile, a number of parliamentarians and made in JV1 and JV2 if it is indeed given the 30 provinces have openly expressed their disapproval percent it is seeking. of the project and seabed mining. The initial agreement provides for company Most notable opposition is from New Ireland decisions to be made “via resolutions passed at Provincial Government chairman for mining, the Management Committee by 51% of votes Marius Soiat.
By Patrick Matbob
Soiat said that the New Ireland provincial executive council had declared a moratorium on mining in the province to protect the environment and said seabed mining cannot go ahead. He also stated that he understood the national government had not considered the request for moratorium. The parliamentarians include Ken Fairweather of Sumkar in Madang; Anton Yagama whose Usino Bundi electorate is home to the Ramu Nickel and Marengo projects; Governor Garry Juffa of Oro Province; Governor Titus Philemon of Milne Bay’ National Planning Minister Charles Abel; and Samarai Murua MP Gordon Wesley. Despite the opposition, Minister Chan said he was satisfied that due process was followed and all legislative requirements were met in granting of the environment permit. He said that Nautilus was currently in the process of submitting its Environmental Management and Monitoring Plan (EMMP) to the Department of Environment and Conservation detailing how it would manage the impacts it has identified in the Environment Impact Statement when the mine is in operation. A feature of the EMMP is the incorporation of the Precautionary Principle. The compliance monitoring of environmental permit would follow similar requirements as that of the deep sea tailings placement. Opponents of seabed mining and deep-sea tailings placement (DSTP) are sceptical about the government’s capacity to effectively monitor the impact of the activities on the mine. Associate Professor Kaul Gena with the Mining Engineering department at University of Technology told Post-Courier that PNG does not have the capacity to monitor deep-sea mining as shown from experiences with other mines. “From scientific studies, we know that a small submarine hydrothermal activity on the ocean floor can discharge hydrothermal fumes that can diffuse through the seawater column both vertical and lateral from the point of discharge for up to 1000 metres,” he said. “So the current mining method that Nautilus is planning to use for the Solwara 1 project will cause a severe environment impact that will affect the entire Eastern Manus Basin because this is an open environment”. However, Minister Chan said he was fully satisfied with the existing status quo and intended to carry on from where his predecessor has left. He also said he was satisfied the company has had a series of public consultations since 2007 and said the definition of ‘land’ for mining purpose under the Mining Act 1992 includes offshore areas and such as seabed mining. He also said the impact of the project will not affect tuna because the activities would take place at a depth of 1600 metres deep and tuna lives at a depth of 400 metres and above. He made the comments because the Bismarck Sea where mining will take place is one of the richest tuna breeding grounds in the Pacific Minister Chan announced that the Department of Mineral Resources is working on a seabed mining policy which will be ready for presentation to parliament at the end of the year. He said PNG has always complied with international guidelines in dealing with the Solwara 1 project. This followed a deep-sea mining workshop held in Madang in 1999 by the South Pacific Geoscience Commission (SOPAC). Islands Business, October 2012 31
Auluta Basin sets standard for land development
With a projected decline in the logging industry, Auluta’s potential as a development project has become even more important, says the Special Secretary to the Prime Minister, Phil Tagini. “Some years back, Auluta Basin was a priority, but now there is some urgency to start the project. This is in line with the government’s desire to expand the economic base...this has now become necessary due to the declining returns on round logs and the continued reliance on a limited number of export products.” With most of the land settled, landowners now want the government to stay true to its commitBy Evan Wasuka the Special Secretary to the Prime Minister, Phil ment and move ahead with the next phase of Tagini. the project which is infrastructure development. Its progress as a national development “Many people have claims to land. It is there“In 2007, we willingly allowed our land to be project may seem slow to Western eyes but for fore necessary that ample time is given to resolve acquired for national projects although we went the past two years, officials behind the Auluta land recording. To expect land recording and through some hiccups but resource owners are Basin Oil Palm Project have navigated through issues to be resolved easily is to ignore the fact quite willing. Here we are, the ground breaking the contentious issue of landownership on the that land is a complex issue. What is important is done, what’s next? How long will we wait?” island of Malaita. is to acknowledge the achievement so far. Many asked Fugui. The agricultural project earmarked to become people have been patient with the system. We The Minister of Agriculture and Livestock, a major oil palm plantation for foreign investors have almost reached the end of this rather laboriConnelly Sandakabatu, whose ministry is lies on more than 10,000 hectares of customary ous and time consuming task.” responsible for progressing the project, says land in Solomon Islands’ East Malaita region. For government officials, Auluta Basin has set resource owners and the government need to Like in other Melanesian countries, land ownthe pattern on how development projects could work together for the second stage of the project. ership in the Solomon Islands continues to be a be approached in the country, as a partnership “Now that land recordings and registration sensitive issue and one of the main stumbling between the government and landowners. have been accomplished in some areas, I am blocks for development projects. The Auluta Basin concept was first drawn up in pleased to inform you all that my ministry has In early September, landowners from the East 1977 by the local area council and then endorsed made provisions in its 2013 Kwara’ae and East Fataleka rebudget submission for the gions, the two areas that make establishment of road infraup the project site, received structure in targeted strategic perpetual estate titles from areas.” the Solomon Islands Ministry For the Prime Minister’s of Lands. Office, the next stage of deIt marked the culminavelopment would be about tion of a drawn out process taking a wider government of land recording, surveying approach to boosting deand registration where 6,875 velopment in Malaita, by hectares, out of the project’s linking the infrastructure 10,250 hectares of land, were work at Auluta to the Fauregistered to landowners. manu Development Project, Manasseh Maelanga MP, a proposed economic growth who is also the country’s Depcentre. uty Prime Minister, was one “The NCRA government of the recipient landowners. believes it is essential to link For him, the event marked the success of a landowner driven Sorting things out...landowners from East Kwara’ae and East Fataleka meet over the Aluta Basin Oil centres of development together in order to maximise initiative—where resource Palm Project. Photo: Evan Wasuka the use of government faciliowners have opened up their ties such as roads, telephone land to the government for by the Malaita Provincial Government in 1989. networks, hospitals, markets and other facilities. development. Following the ethnic conflict, the project was In that regard, government will work towards in“It’s time for us in Malaita to come up and endorsed in the Townsville Peace Agreement as tegrating these development centres,” said Tagini. develop our lands to benefit the people of Malaita vital for rehabilitation and as a means of promotBeyond infrastructure, the biggest challenge and the people of Solomon Islands. ing economic development in Malaita. ahead says government officials will be to attract a “We’ve reached a milestone in the history of The majority of migrant workers in the palm credible oil palm investor wanting to do business Malaita, it’s a significant achievement because it oil plantations on the island Guadalcanal at the in the Solomon Islands. sets an example for people in the country, when it time of the conflict, were from this area and had In 2012, a technical report for the Malaysian comes to dealing with land issues, as we ourselves been displaced. Oil Palm Board found the area was suitable have straightened our own land for developIn 2007, the Auluta Basin Oil Palm Project for 5000 hectares of oil palm plantation, with a ment,” Maelanga told a landowners congress in was formally launched and in 2009 a ground start-up mill producing 10 tonnes of oil every Malaita’s provincial capital, Auki in September. breaking ceremony was staged along with the hour—with the potential area to provide services The plan is that once all the land is registered, first landowners congress. such as schools, hospitals and other services to the government will follow with the development Situated in Solomon Islands’ highest populated support plantation workers. of infrastructure on the site before landowners province, the Auluta Basin project has major naThe Permanent Secretary for Agriculture, lease out the area to investors interested in taking tional implications—its operation would provide Frank Wickham says an investor would be on the business of establishing and managing an much badly needed employment for the people sought directly or through an international oil palm plantation. of Malaita and the region’s eastern area. tender process. While consecutive governments have high“This is a golden opportunity for the people of “The government will use its various minislighted Auluta Basin as a major development East Malaita. For long we’ve missed out on develtries to promote and attract investment in the project for the Solomon Islands, the project has opment, this is our chance,” said the President of project area in close consultation with the two been overshadowed by landownership issues. the East Fataleka Resource Owners Association, tribal trust boards and the Malaita Provincial “Land is not easy to deal within Malaita and Ronald Fugui. Government.” Solomon Islands. Land is dear to all of us,” said
A new era of doing business
32 Islands Business, October 2012
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Business governments choose to move abroad. Cook Islands Internal Affairs Minister Mark Brown said his government will consider throwing in incentives to keep skilled manpower at home. “For us, because of our access to countries like Australia and New Zealand, we have to accept the fact that people will move where opportunities are and we must make sure we structure our strategies for employment and economic development with that understanding. We have to accept that and appreciate it,” Brown told the media as he toured the islands communities, who have settled in these two PIF countries. De-population dilemma History shows that Polynesian descendants from Cooks, Tonga and Samoa began abandoning their birth countries when opportunities arose in New Zealand’s freezer works and forestry industries. Such has been the rate of migration to New Zealand, that Auckland is now the world’s largest Polynesian capital—home to the largest number of Polynesians, who emigrated from Samoa, Tonga and Cook Islands...filling its skill shortages with migrants from Fiji and the Philippines. Photo: Lisa Williams-Lahari the Cook Islands. So much has outward migration had an effect that it has outweighed birth-related growth in population—down to 17,791 in 2011 compared to 19,342 five years earlier in the Cooks. Population of the northern group (1100) has dropped by half since 1996 (2500) and that of the southern region by a third. In its annual report last year, the United Nations said that while the world population of seven billion was increasing at a rate of 78 million a year, the population of Oceania only stood at 10 million. Apart from PNG and Fiji, the population of other islands countries was either shrinking especially in parts of Micronesia or Polynesia; or rising at a significantly lower rate as is the case in the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu. Countries desperate to lift their population are resorting to new measures like money incentives for parents to expand their families. A new Australia-type baby bonus with incentives to bolster population growth in the Cooks is being implemented by the government in Rarotonga. It has shown good signs with growth By Davendra Sharma up from 300 to 390 in two years. “We don’t know if it’s because of the incentive of the baby bonus No problem is more critical to the islands region as is brain but one thing that a lot of developed countries are finding is a chaldrain. lenge of low birth rates—which are not high enough to replace an Attempts over the years to contain the situation has fallen on aging population,” said Brown. deaf years as increasing number of professionals and skilled labour Unless the depleted population is quickly replenished by either flock to shores of Australia and New Zealand for greener pastures. new births or migration, the resource-poor islands countries stand It started in the 1950s but the irreversible trend is now alarming. a risk of de-population. What is even of greater concern is that countries like Niue, Any small increase in population in the Cooks is being taken as a Tokelau, Kiribati, Samoa and especially the Cook Islands are now positive step towards balancing the population with resources but recording a de-population. it could take up to 20-30 years for that to happen. Cook Islands is filling its skill shortages with migrants from Fiji “For us here in the Cooks, it’s important we understand that and the Philippines—its effect is “a negative remittances economy”. birth rates play a critical role long-term in sustaining and having a While migration to Australia and New Zealand has been wellgood sustainable population here,” he said. documented for decades, migration between the islands countries “The more people here, the better,” he said. “The fertility of is little known. the country leads in a straight correlation to its prosperity. Every No island country has suffered as much as Fiji since the military mouth that lands here on the island, whether it’s born or produced coups of 1987, 2000 and 2006 but with the current population of here or whether it comes here as a migrant, adds to the economic 868,406, it is still the region’s second populous nation with a steady value of the country.” flow of new graduates in specialist fields. In Rarotonga, there’s been a debate on why people leave. “If there But the Pacific Islands Forum’s small islands members have major are fundamental reasons driving them away, we need to address catastrophic consequences if their professionals trained by their them,” said Prime Minister Henry Puna.
Islands face ‘negative remittances’ Brain-drain critical to islands
34 Islands Business, October 2012
The remittances that countries like Samoa, Tonga and the Cooks earn from New Zealand and Australia were too valuable to forgo. Without regular remittances from these two developed countries, some of the poor islands countries would be deficient and severely poor. One of the things we have to understand is that…the workplace for the Cook Islands is not just the Cook Islands, it’s the region,” Brown said. ‘Negative remittances’ As it is impossible for islands governments to match the minimum wages of $NZ13.50 or $A17 offered in New Zealand and Australia, the islands governments are working on incentives to keep the skilled person at home and work. With only a few days work, a worker can earn an entire month’s wages he would have earned in his country. The vacuum left in the islands is being filled by trade workers from the Philippines and Fiji—estimated at 3000 currently in the Cook Islands. Foreign workers would send remittances to their home islands countries, leading to ‘negative remittances’. The result is that the Cook Islands has a ‘negative remittances’ economy. Australia is where it is—thanks to migrants Facing its own declining population growth, Australia has learnt to rely on migrants for prosperity. “If we want to continue our prosperity, if we want more jobs, we need to open the door to more economic immigrants,” says one migration expert. A research by the Government’s Productivity Commission in Australia showed that by placing hurdles on the next generation of offshore entrepreneurs to Australia, the country was missing out on opportunities to extend economic boom. “We’re undermining our competitiveness in an increasingly globalised marketplace for everything from armchairs to appliances in Australia as Westfield shopping centres, Myers, Bing Lee or TNT were immigrants. “These are big companies and job creators, all started by migrants. And in tough times like we face now, the need for the next generation of entrepreneurs coming to Australia is greater than ever. “They inject labour, skills and capital, develop new businesses and technologies and bring productive diversity through knowledge of international business markets. These contributions all have massive impacts, especially in job creation,” it said. In recent years since 2005, Australia’s increased migration of skilled labour to 50%. “Migration contributes to the economy in many ways. As well as the up-skilling of the workforce, economies of scale and the development of new export markets would further add to the economic benefits of migration,” Commissioner Judith Sloan said of the findings. Sloan said since Australia ditched its white-Australia policy, it has carved a reputation of having built a great country by fostering multiculturalism and simultaneously building a stronger economy with foreign entrepreneurs. “If we want to continue our prosperity, if we want more jobs, we need to bring in more immigrants,” said Sloan. Through its Seasonal Worker Pilot Scheme, Australia has invited unskilled and low-skilled Pacific islanders from the region to work in the country’s horticultural sector. Those islanders migrating on skilled and professional grounds have also grown—rising from a mere 3005 in 1966 to upwards of 300,000 in 2011. Fiji, followed by Papua New Guinea, Tonga, Samoa and Cook Islanders dominate the Pacific islands communities in Australia’s three main cities—Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne.
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Islands Business, October 2012 35
From misconception and mismanagement to failure
The study says that the positive outcome of trade liberalisation depends on many factors. These include: the choice of sectors, the sequencing, the speed, the preparatory process, accompanying measures, infrastructure, institutions, the adjustment measures, access to credit, and very importantly, the extent to which there is ownership by countries and stakeholders involved, and the extent to which the liberalisation policy is embedded in the broader development strategy. In other words, a well-prepared elaborate reform programme that takes into account all these factors, can possibly deliver a development outcome. But the questions here are: can such a programme be elaborated in the context of trade negotiations? Between 76 developing and least developed countries and the EU? Can it be written by trade negotiators? Can it be put into a hardly amendable trade agreement with an implementation timeframe of 20 to 25 and an eternal lifespan? Can Forum Trade Advisor Shiu Raj: Complex trade issues can make or break economic growth it be co-drafted priorities for Pacific leaders. Photo: Lisa Williams-Lahari and enforceable by the EU? Trade negotiain particular in the WTO. For the ACP countries tions are a very exclusive form of policy-making. however, almost everything in the EU’s EPA It is based on secret (unless leaked) mandates, would require huge reforms: administrative, legal given after closed door discussions between or and constitutional. For many issues that the EU within governments, with hardly any parliamenwanted to address in the EPAs, ACP countries tary involvement. had not yet designed domestic policies, let alone Negotiations, proposals and texts are secret. regional schemes or international plans. The Briefings and consultations are inadequate. And EU’s EPA concept therefore was much more the results cannot be changed by parliaments (or than a trade agreement; it was a huge economic even by governments as the ACP countries found reform programme. out when asking to revise the contentious issues in the interim EPAs). Inappropriateness Trade negotiations are a completely inadequate of trade negotiations and inappropriate method for the huge reform Could such programme bring development? effort that the EU wanted EPAs to accomplish; Perhaps.?In its preparation for the Commission’s completely contradictory to the ownership reCommunication on Trade, Growth and Develquirement even at the top level. opment published this January, DG DEVCO Indeed there have been numerous incidents of commissioned a study of the state of play of technical negotiators running ahead of political economic research on the relation between trade, decision makers; regional secretariats running development and poverty reduction. ahead of national governments; and regional and The study noted that the results of that renational parliaments, farmers’ organisations, trade search are inconclusive and that the development unions and business associations not knowing outcome of trade liberalisation cannot be taken what was going on. for granted: trade liberalisation can improve but No wonder civil society revolted against such also harm economic development and poverty scheme: economic reform is too important to all reduction. layers of society to be left to behind closed door The study also noted: “The countries that have negotiations.?? benefitted the most are those that have carried out selective and gradual liberalisation and have Mismanagement continued to provide state support to a number There have also been numerous incidents of key economic sectors.” between the EU and ACP countries. The EC
10 years of EPA negotiations By Marc Maes Even if the EU continues to insist that its concept of economic partnership agreements (EPAs) was and is the right one, and ACP countries continue to repeat their commitment to a development friendly outcome, after 10 years of negotiations, it can no longer be denied that the EPA negotiations are a big failure. Which is not necessarily a sad thing: they have never been a good idea anyway. Little to show for Since the initialling of the CARIFORUM EPA at the end of 2007, no other complete comprehensive regional EPA has been agreed; and it seems that there will not be any other, although partial regional and sub-regional agreements remain possible. Besides the newest issues that the EU has come up with, like good governance in tax matters and the “Turkey clause”, negotiators are still discussing basics like tariffs and aid for trade, or contentious issues raised by the interim EPAs concluded by the end of 2007. In the meantime, the EU is welcoming the ratification of unamended interim EPAs as “excellent news” and is preparing legal steps against ACP countries that fail to ratify or implement EPAs. Mind the gap? The main reason why EPAs have failed is the gap between the EU approach to EPAs and the ACP expectations, or more precisely, the inappropriateness of the EU’s approach. In 2002, the EU Commission drafted a negotiating mandate for ambitious “comprehensive deep integration” free trade agreements, which would not only liberalise investments and the trade in goods and services but also introduce disciplines for competition, government procurement, trade facilitation, intellectual property rights and data protection. Most ACP countries, on the other hand, were hoping for agreements that would offer a flexible fix for the WTO compatibility issue and that would otherwise concentrate on strengthening their productive capacities, their infrastructure, institutions and regional integration efforts. The EU’s comprehensive deep integration concept went well beyond what was foreseen by the Cotonou Agreement or what was required by the WTO. In fact the Commission’s EPA mandate was the most comprehensive of the time, more comprehensive than the Doha Agenda. Yet for the EU, it would not involve much policy change: the mandate reflected existing EU practices and regulatory approaches; and was meant to export them. Here, also lies the most important offensive interest of the EU: making 76 ACP countries sign up to the EU’s regulatory approach would be a great advantage for the EU, 36 Islands Business, October 2012
Sport proved to be a rigid negotiator, clinging on to its positions, pushing back ACP proposals. Several ACP Council resolutions express ACP frustration about the gap between the fine development rhetoric of the EU and its behaviour at the negotiating table. The Cotonou Agreement speaks of flexibility and the taking into account of different needs and development levels, regional integration efforts, policy choices and priorities. But the EPA negotiations were never a quest for the most suited trade measures; instead they were an attempt in making ACP countries sign up to the EU scheme. For the EU, EPAs had to fit its overall trade policy; they could not differ too much from its standard approaches. Moreover, the attitude of the negotiators and commissioners was often paternalistic and the more the 2007 deadline approached, the more the ACP complained of being bullied. And so the exaggerated ambition, the overburdening of the negotiating agenda, the rigid and paternalistic attitude and the bullying destroyed whatever “enchantment” EPAs might have had. EPA mess Today, both the EU and ACP countries struggle with the mess that the EPA negotiations have created.?? The interim EPAs have complicated the negotiations even further: they have caused rifts in the regions and the refusal of the EU to swiftly amend them left the negotiations stuck with protracted discussions on contentious issues. All regions are split and the danger exists that the EPA negotiations will exacerbate the divisions because of the EU’s rigid interpretation of WTO compatibility or offensive interests prevent regional agreement; because ACP countries ratify un-amended interim EPAs; or because the EU negotiates Singapore issues with individual countries.? In the meantime, Caribbean countries are struggling with the implementation of the CARIFORUM EPA: most have yet to ratify the agreement, start to eliminate tariffs and prepare measures to avoid the impact on tariff revenue or on the competiveness of their industries. The Caribbean case seems to demonstrate how little understanding and ownership there is of the comprehensive and complex EPA and how inconvenient the EPA commitments are. This does not bode well for any EPAs in Africa and the Pacific where the institutional and economic situations are even more precarious. The EU’s threat to launch legal procedures against non-complying Caribbean governments adds to the EPA mess. And so does the Commission’s proposal to amend Market Access Regulation 1528/2007 to withdraw preferential market access from ACP countries that have not begun to ratify (interim) EPAs by the end of next year. The proposal has once more upset the ACP countries. The new deadline is too tight for the ACP regions that are still trying to replace the contested and divisive interim EPAs by regional goods agreements. It will force countries again to accept agreements, not because they think they will serve their development, but because they want to avoid losing preferences. It will push countries to ratify the interim EPAs that they have been trying to amend in the past five years. A thing of the past EPA negotiations started 10 years ago, but they were conceived in the mid-1990s. Much has changed since then. Emerging developing countries have increased their share of the world market. China has become one of the largest trading nations. ACP countries have diversified trading partners and donors. The climate, food, financial and economic crises have brought about new challenges and highlighted the need to maintain policy space and to strengthen local and regional markets. The EU is struggling with the Euro crisis and undergoing austerity measures. It has been reviewing its trade and cooperation strategies. Meanwhile, preferential market access to the EU has been eroded by reforms (CAP reform, abolition of commodity protocols, more stringent sanitary standards) and EU bilateral trade agreements. For many ACP countries, the current cost of losing EU preferential tariffs is far less than the revenue lost when eliminating their own tariffs on EU imports. The painstaking and divisive EPA negotiations need to be re-assessed in this context. • Marc Maes is Trade Policy Officer at the Belgian NGO coalition 11.11.11 and member of various international and European civil society networks monitoring trade policy. His article appeared in GREAT Insights, Volume 1, Issue 6. August 2012.
Gotcha...Fiji’s Waisea Nayacalevu fends off a Samoan player. Photo: IRB
Road to Rio 2016 begins for Sevens Can rugby sevens deliver the islands an elusive Olympic gold? By Peter Rees Another Olympic Games is done and dusted. The Pacific islands nations went to London in August with reasonable hopes of a medal in weightlifting. But again, our athletes returned empty-handed. Injuries, illness and questionable preparations have been blamed. But rather than dwelling on what could have happened, the mood has quickly changed. There is an air of hope as all eyes now turn to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, which will host the next Olympics in 2016. Islands Business, October 2012 37
Sport A historic first ever Paralympic gold medal to ished six points behind eventual winners, New Fiji’s Iliesa Delana in the high jump has added to Zealand. that sense of optimism. Fiji has lost the experienced Emosi Vucago, Why? Unlike London 2012, Rio 2016 is a and also Nikola Matawalu and Joeli Lutumailagi whole new ballpark in terms of expectation. to overseas contracts and injury. But Fiji’s sevens The inclusion of rugby sevens in the games depth is famously deep, so the focus is on finding programme, for both men and women, has the right mix. everyone excited. Rio marks the return of rugby “The squad has a mixture of players. We have to the Olympic stage (together with golf and kite named some Under 19 players who are eyed surfing), a feat the IRB managed after years of for the future, but we are not just looking at the lobbying. And the ramifications have been huge. first leg,” said Waqa. “We want to get a database “There is no doubt that the IOC decision [to of the players who can qualify for the 2016 Rio select rugby in 2009] was a major boost to the Olympics and the World Cup (in 2013).” global profile of rugby. Our federations are tellLikewise, Samoa has an eye towards the future ing us the effect of Olympic inclusion has been as it copes with a loss of experience since last massive,” says IRB chairman, Bernard Lapasset. season. Samoa finished fourth last season behind Rugby was last on the Olympic programme in England and in front of South Africa. 1924 when the USA won the gold medal. This will be Samoa coach Faamaoni Lalomilo’s More than 90 years on, Fiji and Samoa are first full season in the job after taking over from strong contenders in the men’s competition for not only a medal, but an elusive gold medal. Since the inception of the IRB World Sevens Series in 1999, Fiji has won the series once (2005-2006) and the IRB Sevens World Cup twice (1997 & 2005). Samoa has won the series once, in 2009-2010 and has regularly finished in the top five countries in recent years. Even Pacific rugby legend, Jonah Lomu senses the Pacific nations will finally end its medal drought in Rio. Not since boxer Paea Wolfgramm’s silver medal in Atlanta 1996 has an island nation won an Olympic medal. But Lomu says Fiji and Samoa are realistic hopes because of their credentials and history in the game. “This is the thing about the sevens Samoa women’s team...plays Solomon Islands. Photo: IRB game. It raises hope, especially in the Pacific, of winning a medal at the Olympic Games,” Lomu told a Fijian newspaper. Stephen Betham, who was promoted to the Manu The former All Black legend of Tongan descent Samoa XV’s coaching job earlier in the year. predicts Fiji and Samoa will be the main medal Samoa has lost big forward Alafoti Faosiliva, prospects in Rio 2016, alongside reigning World who was arguably Samoa’s best player from last Sevens champions New Zealand and England. season. Under the Olympic format, England is likely Samoa is also coping with the loss of experito combine with Wales and Scotland as a Great enced Ofisa Treviranus who is now playing in Britain team, which would make them even Europe, and last year’s find for Samoa, Faatoina more formidable. Autagavaia, who has signed to play for Northland in New Zealand’s ITM Cup. Four-year cycle Samoa sent a young squad to the recent OceaBut anything can happen during a four-year nia Sevens and finished runners up to hosts Auscycle. Realising this, the Fiji and Samoa Rugby tralia, who qualified for next year’s Rugby Sevens Unions have been quick to ensure their national World Cup in Moscow with Tonga. teams are well prepared by locking down talent “We left our senior players at home as we had identification programmes. already qualified for the World Cup Sevens next Their respective management teams are alyear. I wanted to see how the young players went ready scouring for new talent to maintain depth against some of the top teams and they showed in their squads. Youth, fitness and potential have they have what it takes,” said Lalomilo. been the key words. “It was a trial of sorts for them. We have the The road to Rio 2016 gets underway this HSBC Sevens World Series coming up plus the month when the 2012-2013 IRB World Sevens World Cup next year and we wanted to build Series opens on Australia’s Gold Coast on 13-14 depth in the squad. A lot of young players put October. The tournament will see some new their hands up today which is just what we faces in the Fiji and Samoa squads. wanted.” After watching domestic competitions, Fiji Lalomilo is now looking at prospects in the coaches Alifereti Dere and Etuate Waqa selected local Digicel Sevens circuit before finalising his an enlarged training squad as they look to improve squad for the Gold Coast which is sure to include on last season’s second place finish. stalwarts Lolo Lui, Alatasi Tupou and Afa Aiono. Fiji matched series champions New Zealand in winning three individual tournament titles Dilemma in Australia, Hong Kong and England, but finPreparations for Rio are non-stop from Oc38 Islands Business, October 2012
tober. There is the World Cup in Moscow in June next year, which is likely to be the final World Cup held as the IRB moves to replace it with the Olympics as the epitome of the game outside of the annual World Series. Then in 2014, the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow presents another opportunity for Fiji and Samoa to push their Olympic claims. In 2015, there will be a dilemma for some players who will be committed to both the Rugby World Cup in the UK and also the 2014-2015 IRB World Sevens Series, which is the main qualifier for Rio. The top four teams from the 2014-2015 World Sevens Series automatically qualify for the Olympics. Host nation Brazil automatically qualifies too. For those countries that don’t qualify automatically, they will battle it out for the remaining seven places in the regional qualifiers. The Oceania qualifiers will be a potential dogfight. With Australia, New Zealand, Samoa and Fiji all strong contenders for the four automatic spots, one or two of those teams may find themselves relegated to the Oceania qualifiers, such is the strength of the game in the Pacific region. This is potentially bad news for fringe Oceania contenders such as Cook Islands, Papua New Guinea and Tonga. Of that group, Tonga is possibly the only team with the potential to threaten Fiji, Samoa, Australia or New Zealand. The Cooks, PNG and Tonga are currently vying for ‘core team’ status which guarantees them a spot in every tournament on the annual IRB World Sevens Series. Core team status is important as apart from the regular competition, it also means more IRB funding. With all the focus on the men, it is easy to overlook the women, who will also be competing in Rio. However, unlike the men, women’s rugby is still largely underdeveloped in the Pacific islands with Fiji and Samoa, again the top teams in the region. However, the gulf is vast between them and the top women’s rugby nations such as New Zealand, England, Australia and Netherlands. Closing that gap in four years will be a huge challenge for the islands unions, already stretched for resources and money. The lure of an Olympiad is likely to persuade many leading players to do what they can to make it to Rio. This poses a threat to Fiji and Samoa who rely mainly on specialist home-grown sevens players. Indications are New Zealand, England, Australia and South Africa will make sure their star 15 players are released from club duty to bolster their teams—a move the IRB has already endorsed. “Olympic sports create heroes and we’ve already taken steps to ensure under Regulation 9 that any player selected has to be released to play,” said IRB spokesman Dom Rumbles. “Of course it’s not easy to switch to sevens but the IRB wants to create the best possible spectacle.” With so much at stake and the rest of the world pulling out all the stops in reaction to the reduced 12-team format for Rio, the onus is now back on the islands nations to ensure they don’t drop the ball with a gold medal realistically within their grasp.
In many violent situations in the Pacific region, women and women’s organizations have demonstrated their capacity to contribute to solutions, whether as mediators or as part of groups working to improve conditions in local communities, or as providers of safe havens for women and children affected by violence and demanding accountability and respect for human rights. Women have generally been the first to actively work across ethnic divides at considerable personal and organizational risk. For example women have: organised peace vigils, rallies and silent marches, as well as dialogue; held negotiations across crocodile infested rivers with armed combatants; developed peace education methods; encouraged voting through advocacy, awareness raising and education; mediated community disputes; supported soldiers returning from peacekeeping operations; provided technical inputs into defence reviews and national security policy development and; have lead significant efforts across the region to prevent and respond to sexual and genderbased violence. These are only a few examples of responses to conflict or perceived threats to human security that women leaders and women’s organizations have developed and sustained over the years (Draft Regional Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security 2013 – 2015)
The Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict advocates for the full implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 (UNSCR 1325): “Prevention of armed conflict is a foundation to securing the rights of women as it prevents the creation of conditions that result in abuse of women and provides spaces and opportunities for governments and communities to prioritize development. Conflict prevention enables resources to be prioritized for the social sector and for economic productivity instead of military expenditures. Enhanced participation of women complements successful conflict prevention and peacebuilding approaches, which is emphasized in UN Security Council Resolution 1325 (2000)…. By advocating for the integration of women’s experiences in conflict prevention, GPPAC seeks to steer the global debate back to its original focus. This focus of GPPAC’s advocacy and outreach work is part of the network’s overall drive to bring different stakeholders in line with each other’s activities to benefit governments, UN and civil society actors alike.”
Su’a Tanielu Outgoing Director-General Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency
Unite for Tuna
By Robert Matau
nite for tuna. That’s the plea of outgoing Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) Director General, Su’a Tanielu, as he was wrapping up his final assignments for the region. After six years as head of the regional fisheries agency, Su’a believes the islands stand to gain more from being united for our sovereign resources than being divided. Su’a finishes his term in November and replacing him will be James Movick, who has worked under him. Here’s what Su’a told Islands Business: Why is it important that we protect this resource from being over-exploited? While our islands lie wide apart, what separates and also joins them is the ocean (30 million square kilometres) in which lies an ancient resource that is being vastly depleted by large fishing vessels, who continue to take our fish at minimum price and sell it at premium prices. Our ocean is highly productive and hosts rich fisheries including the last healthy tuna stocks in the world. This is our backyard and it is responsible for supplying the world fish markets with more than 2 million tons of tuna annually. It is also the target of industrialised fishing nations for their enhanced fishing activities and the modality for fisheries subsidisation. The value of our tuna fisheries is estimated at approximately 8 billion dollars. Our strength is in our numbers and togetherness. The principle of regional solidarity must be at the forefront as we address the issues and challenges of fisheries management, development, monitoring and control. We are beginning to feel the strain on the four main tuna stocks—skipjack, 40 Islands Business, October 2012
yellowfin, albacore and bigeye—in terms of catch and yields. We also need to ensure that we have the right to all these fisheries or what is generally known as rights-based approach to fisheries—so we need to secure those rights. And it’s a sovereignty issue which is why it is so important that one organisation like FFA dedicates its time and efforts to look after that. Again, our tuna stocks are the last healthy fish stocks in the world and we are now witnessing pressure on certain species so we need to develop conservation and management measures or policies that will ensure the sustainability of this resource. So what would you rank as being one of your major achievements at FFA? One of my greatest achievements would be fighting for the autonomy of FFA at a time when FFA was being identified for consolidation with another CROP agency. Under the Regional Institutional Framework (RIF) study, FFA was earmarked to be amalgamated with the Secretariat of the Pacific Com-
In order for us to be successful, we need to cooperate and co-ordinate to make ourselves stronger because our strength is in our numbers. Regional solidarity is therefore fundamental to our success. munity (SPC) and the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (PIF). We managed to convince the leaders that FFA had a fundamental role to play in the region, which led to the outcome of the RIF review being that. Instead of amalgamating with FFA, leaders chose to move FFA into Pillar One organisation, on the same level as the Forum Secretariat itself. I told them that fisheries is a critical part of our livelihood and a critical aspect of our development aspirations. And it is a sovereignty issue, so it is important that you have an organisation that focuses on fisheries. What do you hope to achieve in the various
Maximum returns...the Pacific wants bulk of the fish caught within their EEZs processed within their shores so that they can get maximum rate of returns and benefits. Photo: PNA
regional meetings towards the end of your term? In terms of management, this region is quite robust. All our Pacific Islands members are working together to make sure that the policies that we have put in place would ensure the long-term health of our resources. We have to continue to negotiate with our distant water fishing partners to support and cooperate with us in the development of a more robust fisheries and the successful implementation of these policies. In terms of development, we all have our aspirations and want to see that the bulk of the fish caught within our EEZs are processed within our shores to see the maximum rate of returns and benefits. Presently, we do have strategies in place which FFA is pursuing to make sure we maximise these economic benefits. In addition, we have implemented monitoring, control and surveillance strategies to ensure compliance and we’re dealing with the issue of non-compliance and Illegal Unreported, Unregulated fishing or IUU. All in all, I am happy to leave the organisation feeling comfortable that we have got strategies in place that will look after the health of our resources and ensure its long-term sustainability. Our members participate well, effectively and efficiently in negotiations with distant water fishing partners. I therefore hope the region will continue down this path and our long-term goals of maximising economic benefits to our members will continue. What benefits have negotiations like the US
Treaty brought to the Pacific? The US multilateral treaty is more than just fisheries. A mechanism for access. It is a mechanism for cooperaton amongst Pacific parties and the US itself. It is a very unique arrangement and the only one of its kind in the world and therefore is supposed to serve its specific purposes. It looks after fisheries in terms of conservation and management and we are negotiating so we can get better returns from US access within our EEZs. At the same time, we have to make sure they also cooperate in developing our national infrastructure so that we can develop our own tuna industries domestically. It is also about ensuring that we set standards for cooperation in terms of compliance. The treaty is therefore more than just fisheries because we foster good relationship between the United States and the governments of the Pacific Islands Parties. What do you think about the level of compensation in the US Treaty? The current negotiation of access and financial package has come to a conclusion of US$63 million for 8300 days under the Vessel Day Scheme and, of course, there are other outstanding issues like the application of national laws and the broader cooperation initiatives for the treaty. But these are outstanding issues which need to be concluded successfully before we can get a treaty. I am hesitant to reveal the details of the negotiation as it is still ongoing.
I hear that trade access to US markets has been taken off the US Treaty negotiating table—how did that happen? We included that in the negotiation as the US agreed to and we are happy with their response which was to allow the US trade department to look after this issue. They have their own general and foreign policies with respect to dealing with trade issues. We assured them we would like to keep that on the table and whatever strategies the US can come up with, so that we can have better access for our fish and fish products from this region into the US markets. That would be another good outcome of this negotiation. But it has not been taken off the table completely, it is still there as an outstanding item that we will continue to pursue. It is an important component of the negotiations and we have a competitive advantage in terms of fish and the volume we can provide. Your parting note to Forum fishing nations? Let’s continue what we are doing in securing partnerships for the betterment of our fisheries. There are issues including distant water nations wanting to harvest our fish, transfer them out of the region and keep all the benefits. In order for us to be successful, we need to cooperate and co-ordinate to make ourselves stronger because our strength is in our numbers. Regional solidarity is therefore fundamental to our success. We also owe this not only to ourselves but to our future generations. “Unite for tuna”—absolutely! Islands Business, October 2012 41
Women He said the transformation resulting from the increased economic role of women in industrialised countries like Australia had contributed more to global growth over the last decade than even the rise of China. “We want to have as many partners as we can as this rolls out. The more the merrier.” The UN Women agency headed by Bachelet said that research reveals that “as many as two out of every three women in Pacific countries who have ever been in a relationship, experience violence during their lifetime.” Many studies, UN Women said, suggest that not only men but also women in the Pacific believe that men are justified in perpetrating violence against their wives or girlfriends. In Kiribati, 68 percent of women reported that they had experienced violence by a partner—in Papua New Guinea, 67 percent; Fiji, 66 percent; and Vanuatu, 60 percent. The pattern is clear and Hillary Clinton with islands leaders...empowering women is not a marginal issue. Photo: Diana McFadzien it is region-wide. In Solomon Islands, one in ten women report physical violence during pregnancy. Kaitama Toroto, a TV presenter there, said: “Customs and culture are used to justify the act of violence.” However, in Solomon Islands, the central market in the capital Honiara, turns over more than US$15 million a year, of which about 90 percent is made by women, both as bulk-buyers from farmers and as retailers. In Samoa, 80 percent of the private sector is comprised of micro-businesses, of which women head more than 40 percent. But these successful businesswomen are expected also to carry out most or all household responsibilities. Thus in PNG, women work on average nearly twice as many hours as men. women seats—in this case 22, in By Rowan Callick Where land has been commeraddition to the present 111 MPs The participation of US Secretary of State cially exploited—for example in recently elected, of whom just three Hillary Clinton in the post-Pacific Islands Forum PNG and Solomon Islands for are women. He has appointed one dialogue this year proved especially approprilogging—“women have generally of them, former journalist Loujaya ate since the role of women had been for once had little say in the decision-making Toni, as Minister for Community pushed to the fore. process and have reaped few benDevelopment. Julie Soso became Australia’s Prime Minister Julia Gillard—the efits,” the International Finance the first woman to be elected in only woman among the 15 leaders—announced Corporation said. the most populous region of PNG, a A$320 million ten-year programme to help From 1995 to 2008, internationthe Highlands, and the first woman empower women in the Pacific. ally the proportion of women in governor—of Eastern Highlands. The measures—also involving other donors parliaments rose from 11.3 percent Michelle Bachelet, the head of including New Zealand and the World Bank— to 17.7 percent. But in the indepenUN Women and former president include mentoring and training women members dent Pacific, the ratio remained at of Chile, said in Rarotonga she was of parliament and candidates, making markets “very happy” about Gillard’s an- Julia Gillard...announced a about 2.5 percent. safer places for women to work, providing busiThe Federated States of Micronouncement. She said half her own A$320 million programme to help empower Pacific women. nesia, Nauru, Palau and Tuvalu ness training and better access to finance for cabinet had comprised women. women selling market goods, and expanding comprise four of seven countries At the formal opening of the women’s crisis centres, especially in rural areas. globally with no women in parliament; Solosummit, the biggest, sustained and spontaneous “It’s not a marginal issue,” she said in a mon Islands was also among them, until Vika applause from the large audience of Cook Islandmarquee into which islands leaders crowded. Lusibaea was elected at a recent by-election for ers came when Forum secretary-general Neroni “Gender equality is not just the right thing to do. North Malaita, replacing her husband, known Slade urged “zero tolerance for violence against It’s also the clever thing to do.” It’s also, she said, as “Jimmy Rasta”, who was disqualified over his women and girls.” about economic development. “And we all know jailing for offences during the violent turmoil Women in the Pacific suffer the worst rate change is possible.” there a decade ago. of representation in parliaments, the highest Other leaders queued up to agree with her. But the French colonies in the Pacific, New incidence of domestic violence, and one of the Cook Islands Prime Minister Henry Puna Caledonia and French Polynesia—the latter lowest levels of formal employment, in the world. said; “It’s an issue of great social importance in centred on Tahiti—have a very different profile, Peter Baxter, Director-General of AusAID, our region.” with women comprising almost half the MPs in who also attended the summit, told me: “We’re Samoa Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Matheir assemblies. not going to see an improvement in women’s lielegaoi said his government was introducing This is due to a French law introduced in rights in the region unless they are being chamlegislation so that at least 10 percent of parlia2000 that requires political parties to present pioned by men.” mentarians would be women. equal numbers of men and women—within two Baxter, whose first posting as a diplomat was Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Peter percent—for most elections. to Fiji, where he learned the language, asks: “Is O’Neill said: “It’s a very timely initiative. PNG This is an issue that has now hit the top of there a correlation between relatively modest is a very male-dominated society. There’s a huge Pacific agendas, and won’t go away until it is development outcomes in the island region detask ahead of us.” addressed—with funding now available as a spite high levels of aid, and limited opportunities His government is also legislating to guarantee reinforcement. for women?”
Gender equality’s not just the right thing: Clinton ‘It is also the clever thing to do’
42 Islands Business, October 2012
Drainage ditch...dug with Fairtrade Premium funds in Wainikoro (left). The ditch prevents neighbouring sugar cane fields from flooding and enables the road to be clear year round, which means that school and business are not interrupted. Right: Footbridge repaired using Fairtrade Premium funding. Photos: SPC
Expand Fairtrade in Fiji sugar industry Rake in additional economic benefits Fairtrade certification of sugar cane in Vanua Levu, Fiji, is producing significant economic benefits, according to a new study by the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC). The report estimates, taking into account all costs and benefits, that the economic impact of Fairtrade certification of all farmers serving the Labasa sugar mill in Vanua Levu amounts to F$9,094,473, assuming the benefits and costs are incurred over a 12-year period. This represents a return of F$6.48 dollars for every dollar spent on gaining certification, including those spent by farmers and donors—the European Union (EU), which is the principal contributor, as well as SPC. For context, the total revenue for all growers in Fiji was F$85,100,000 in 2011, according to the Fiji Sugar Corporation’s 2011 Annual Report, and the average net benefit from Fairtrade certification in Vanua Levu alone is F$757,872, assuming as the study does, a mid-range estimate of a total of seven years of certification and an additional five years of benefit from expenditure of funds saved during certification. However, one important implication of the SPC report is that extending certification to other mills is likely to bring several million dollars worth of additional economic benefit to sugar cane growers in Fiji at relatively low cost. Moreover, it is in the interest of growers to remain certified and receive the associated benefits for as many years as possible. Sugar cane in the Labasa mill area was certified
Fairtrade in early 2011 and will remain certified until conditions of certification can no longer be met. The sole buyer of sugar from Fiji, British refiner and wholesaler Tate and Lyle Sugars Limited made a commitment in 2008 to convert all of its retail branded sugar to Fairtrade, and approached the Fiji sugar industry the same year about becoming certified. In 2010, the decision was taken by stakeholders in the industry to certify one mill as a pilot scheme, and the Labasa mill was chosen. The Labasa Cane Producers’ Association (LCPA) was established to oversee certification and was created by the Technical Manager of the EU’s Lautoka-based Coordination Unit, Mohammed Habib, who became LCPA’s first Executive Manager. He has recently been succeeded by Mukesh Kumar. Habib says: “The new SPC report shows that Fairtrade certification could continue to be an important shot in the arm for the Fiji sugar industry and makes me proud of what we have achieved. “This achievement comes at a very critical juncture in the reform of the Fiji sugar industry and we take the opportunity to thank all stakeholders, donors and sugar cane farmers for their support.” Financial assistance with certification costs came from the European Union, which funded the cost of setting up LCPA and the inspection costs of the Fairtrade Labelling Organisation. Additionally, SPC’s EU-funded Facilitating
Agricultural Commodity Trade (FACT) project assisted with the cost of an environmental audit, a pre-requisite for certification. Dr Lex Thomson, head of FACT, says: “FACT is delighted to have worked with the EU Coordination Unit on Fairtrade certification of sugar in Labasa. FACT assistance with the environmental audit has led to improvements such as the phasing out of highly toxic and hazardous herbicides, as well as cane farmer extension activities. “We hope the economic, social and environmental benefits of Fairtrade certification demonstrated in this study can now be extended to Viti Levu sugar cane.” SPC plans to assist in extending Fairtrade certification to growers supplying Fiji’s other three sugar mills, located on the main island of Viti Levu, through the Improvement of Key Agriculture Services for the Sugar Sector Project, due to begin in the next few months. The project also aims to supplementthe farmers’ income by providing extension and advisory services to increase cane productivity and support the growing of other crops. Fairtrade certification enables farmers to gain wide-ranging benefits, principally accruing from Fairtrade Premium funds. These are paid by Tate and Lyle Sugars directly to LCPA, at a rate of US$60 or F$106 per tonne of sugar produced, in addition to the standard amount paid to Fiji Sugar Corporation (FSC). As a condition of certification, the growers must establish a democratic growers’ association (LCPA in this case) in order to decide how to spend the premium funds. This association requires farmers’ time and attendance. The benefits already realised from premium funds include subsidies for farm productivity and essential farm inputs such as fertiliser and weedicide, assistance with the cost of replanting cane and community development projects. In 2012, funds will go towards replanting more productive varieties of cane, an investment that will pay off for recipient farmers in the next five years. The new SPC report includes five short case studies from 43 community development projects carried out in 2011 with Premium Funds, including a F$2,100 drainage ditch that saved Wainikoro farmers an estimated annual 1,500 tonnes of cane that would otherwise be lost to flooding; and a F$4,966 water tank which provides reliable, clean water to the Vatuncina community of 1,000 people, a fifth of whom previously had no clean water supply. Other LCPA-funded projects include the construction of three kindergartens, acquisition of school equipment, cemetery repair and maintenance, a road upgrade and additional water and drainage projects. One condition of Fairtrade certification is that LCPA must implement an environmental plan to eliminate the use of banned chemicals and introduce safer chemical storage through training and assistance. This provides health and safety benefits beyond the economic benefits listed. The report entitled ‘Fairtrade certification of sugar cane in Vanua Levu, Fiji: An economic assessment’, was written by Jonathan Bower, Resource Economist for the Land Resources Division of SPC. • Email Jonathan Bower at firstname.lastname@example.org for a copy of the report or visit the website: www.spc.int/lrd. Islands Business, October 2012 43
Attentive...Pacific delegates at the 23rd annual SPREP Meeting in Noumea, New Caledonia. Photos: SPREP
Moving forward on the Pacific environment What transpired at the Noumea meet By David Sheppard Pacific countries and territories met in early September at the 23rd annual SPREP Meeting. This year’s meeting was held in Noumea, generously hosted by the Government of New Caledonia. Delegates noted this as appropriate, given SPREP’s voyage started 20 years ago when it moved from Noumea—as a programme of SPC (Secretariat of the Pacific Community)—to Samoa to become the Pacific’s newest regional organisation at that time. This year, SPREP welcomed a new member— the Government of the United Kingdom—which indicated its wish to become an active SPREP member in the Pacific region. Delegates noted many positive results from SPREP’s change management process, which focused on increasing support to Pacific islands countries and territories to address environmental and sustainable development issues. In fact, SPREP has doubled its direct financial and technical support for its Pacific islands members over the 2009-2011 period, with SPREP’s direct financial support increasing from US$2.4 million in 2010 to US$4.3 million in 2011, while support for SPREP member regional level activities increased from US$7 million in 2010 to US$8.3 million in 2011. The SPREP meeting noted the many challenges facing the management of the Pacific environment, many of which were discussed at the ministerial component of the meeting. 44 Islands Business, October 2012
Ministers highlighted four key areas: (i) ocean conservation and management; (ii) renewable energy; (iii) financing for biodiversity and climate change; and (iv) follow-up to the Rio+20 meeting. Ministers noted that better management and conservation of the Pacific Ocean has been a dominant theme over the last 12 months, both at Rio+20 and at the Pacific Islands Forum meeting in the Cook Islands in August. They fully endorsed the Pacific Oceanscape and the concept of the Pacific as “Large Ocean Islands States”—the theme of this year’s Forum— and also Cook Islands Prime Minister Puna’s comment that: “we are nations joined by a large ocean, not separated by it”. The SPREP meeting noted many major commitments to better protect and manage the Pacific Ocean including recent announcements by the Cook Islands to establish the world’s largest marine protected area and the major marine initiatives of the host country for the SPREP meeting, New Caledonia. However, the challenge is now to ensure these important marine areas become a reality. In particular, that they are effectively managed and delivering benefits for Pacific peoples and for our precious marine biodiversity. SPREP members called on the international community to support Pacific efforts and, in particular, called on the Global Oceans Partnership of the World Bank to provide practical, tangible and immediate support to the ocean initiatives of Pacific countries and territories.
The SPREP meeting also adopted important marine initiatives, particularly the adoption of Marine Species Action Plan for 2013-2017 which focuses on three groups of marine species of conservation concern: dugongs, marine turtles and cetaceans (whales and dolphins). These provide important guidance for Pacific countries and also for donors and partners wishing to support the Pacific efforts in these areas. SPREP Ministers discussed the Rio+20 meeting held in June. They noted the strong and effective message delivered by the Pacific—that the small islands of the Pacific are the most vulnerable on earth and are increasingly threatened by factors beyond their control, such as climate change. The SPREP meeting noted the clear benefits for the Pacific from Rio+20, but only if it capitalises on the opportunities provided. In particular, the Rio Outcomes document recognises the “Special Case of Small Islands States” and places major emphasis on issues relevant to the large ocean states of the Pacific, such as climate change and the need for an effective ocean governance and management. Hosting the major Barbados+20 conference in the Pacific region in 2014 also provides an opportunity to showcase Pacific issues on the global stage. SPREP Ministers reaffirmed SPREP’s vital role in regional climate change coordination and reminded us that climate change is the major threat facing this region and called for decisive and immediate action. The SPREP meeting noted the landmark SPREP/UNDP PACC—Pacific Adaptation to Climate Change Project—is building momentum and is shifting from planning to delivery of practical actions to help Pacific countries adapt to climate change challenges in the area of sustainable water management, food security and integrated coastal resources and area management and development. The SPREP meeting also noted major progress in renewable energy. Although our region contributes only 0.03% of the world’s total
Pacific Nature Conservation Conference which greenhouse gas emissions, Pacific countries are will be held in Fiji in November 2013. among the most vulnerable to the effects of This landmark conference provides an opporclimate change. The meeting noted that the Pacific is showing tunity to take stock and agree on actions to address the way for many developed countries by develthe alarming loss of biodiversity in our region. The increasing problems of waste and polluoping and implementing ambitious renewable tion in the Pacific region were also highlighted by energy roadmaps. the SPREP meeting. Members notMinisters from Samoa and ed the Great Plastic Garbage Patch French Polynesia noted the excelin the northern Pacific which is a lent progress in developing a range concentration of plastics, chemical of options to accelerate the use of sludge and other debris that have renewable energy and move away been trapped by an ocean current from expensive imported diesel. called the North Pacific Gyre. Initiatives highlighted included the Members agreed this is an alarmuse of coconut biodiesel which is ing symptom and we must do much now powering the SPREP vehicle more to address the root causes of fleet in Samoa. waste and pollution in the Pacific SPREP members applauded a region. world first from Tokelau which The meeting endorsed clear and now generates 100% of its energy strong actions, including the Pacific from solar energy rather than from Regional E-waste strategy and Acexpensive imported diesel. tion Plan. Pacific Environment Ministers Members noted good progress noted the loss of biodiversity re- David Sheppard...SPREP head. with the Clean Pacific 2012 Cammains a major challenge for Pacific paign which is galvanising actions countries and territories. at all levels to improve the manageThe rates of biodiversity loss in ment of waste and pollution in the Pacific region. the Pacific region are among the highest in the The meeting approved a number of goverworld. Threats such as deforestation, overfishnance recommendations ensuring SPREP can ing and invasive species must be addressed as better support and respond to members’ needs a priority. and priorities. SPREP has expanded its programmes on It also approved a work plan and a balanced biodiversity over the last 12 months, particularly budget of US$18.8 million for 2013. It noted with new programmes on invasive species, island this budget has increased from US$7.6 million biodiversity and ecosystem based adaptation. in 2009. The SPREP meeting endorsed the five-yearly
Over this period, salary costs as a percentage of the total SPREP budget have dropped from 45% in 2009 to 27% in 2012, indicating that increased funding is directly supporting SPREP member countries rather than building up staffing at SPREP. SPREP members thanked donors and partners for their increased confidence and trust of donors in SPREP’s improved performance and financial management. The SPREP meeting also approved new SPREP Staff Regulations and requested the secretariat to start a decentralisation process, including asking SPREP technical desk officers in the Republic of the Marshall Islands and the Federated States of Micronesia to explore partnership mechanisms with the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) to enhance coordination and delivery of services to South West Pacific members. There were many other matters discussed which will have major implications for the management of the Pacific environment. All information will shortly be posted on the SPREP website at www.sprep.org Members of SPREP at this year’s’ meeting in Noumea have set a clear and ambitious course for improving environmental management in the Pacific region. We look forward to working with members, partners and donors to achieve the SPREP vision of: “The Pacific environment sustaining our livelihoods and natural heritage in harmony with our culture.” • David Sheppard is the director-general of SPREP and he is based in Apia, Samoa.
Request for Proposal (RFP) The regular occurrence of disasters caused by natural hazards such as cyclones and tsunami in the Pacific region call for more stronger and robust buildings to ensure the safety and well being of people. Niue, an island nation in the South Pacific with a recent history of significant disasters has initiated a review of its Building Code, Building Act and Building Manual as part of its Joint National Action Plan for Climate Change and Disaster Risk Management. The Government of Niue and the SPC Applied Geoscience and Technology Division (SOPAC) invites eligible consultants to indicate their interest in providing services to review the Niue National Building Code and Building Manual. Interested consultants must provide information indicating that they are qualified to perform the services. The Request for Proposal (RFP) and other related documents can be obtained from the Secretariat’s offices or downloaded from the SPC website (http://www.spc.int/) under procurement notices http://www.spc.int/en/procurement-and-consultancyopportunities.html. For any additional information or clarification on the RFP, send e-mail request to email@example.com . The closing date for submission of proposals is 4.00pm on 12th October 2012, and the proposals need to be marked “CONFIDENTIAL” and addressed by mail to: RFP Committee (RFP 12/26) Secretariat of the Pacific Community Private Mail Bag Suva FIJI ISLANDS or hand delivered to SPC offices at 3 Luke Street Nabua, Suva.
Islands Business, October 2012 45
PNA ticked off by EU claims it need not follow rules set by regional body By Giff Johnson
key fisheries body in the Pacific has criticized the European Union for a recently signed fisheries agreement that does not require EU fishing vessels to abide by already established fisheries management requirements in the region. The EU said since it is not a part of the Parties to the Nauru Agreement (PNA), it is not obligated to follow PNA rules. The dispute between the PNA and the EU shows dramatically opposed views about fisheries management in the Pacific, and raises the question of the ability of the PNA to enforce rules as a group when individual members sign bilateral agreements with foreign fishing nations that do not require the foreign fishing nation to abide by PNA rules. While PNA officials were blunt in their criticism of the EU for not recognizing the need to comply with PNA’s vessel day scheme, ban on the use of fish aggregation devices, closures of high seas pockets and other conservation measures, the EU was equally blunt in stating that it is not legally bound by PNA requirements. “PNA rules are not applicable to the EU, unless they form a part of legal obligations (in a bilateral agreement),” said Annick Villarosa, the head of sector for regional integration, Natural Resources and Environment, at the European Union’s regional office in Suva, Fiji. In a bilateral agreement approved between the EU and Kiribati recently, there is no mention of the vessel day scheme or other measures that apply to all purse seiners fishing in PNA waters, said Transform Aqorau, chief executive officer of the PNA. The PNA represents Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Kiribati, Nauru, Tuvalu, Kiribati, Palau, Federated States of Micronesia and Marshall Islands. The EU said it is responsible for following na-
tional laws of Kiribati according to the terms of the fisheries protocol initialed recently. Aqorau and Maurice Brownjohn, a PNA commercial manager, who are based in Majuro, are concerned by EU actions not only in relation to the recent bilateral fisheries deal initialed with Kiribati, but more broadly with the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA)—a free trade deal between the EU and the Pacific that is under negotiation. Since fish is the main export item for most islands, the fisheries chapter of the trade agreement being negotiated is of primary importance to the islands. “We look forward to future partnerships with the EU in the region,” said Aqorau. “But they must operate within the rules set up by the PNA.” But the EU takes a different view. “The fisheries chapter under negotiation in the framework of the comprehensive EPA with Pacific states aims mainly at encouraging a coherent approach on fisheries issues in order to assist sustainable fisheries development in the region, promoting good governance and best practices in fisheries management, improving the investment climate in the region and alleviating poverty,” said Villarosa. “In no case can the fisheries chapter of the EPA be considered as a framework for discussing or negotiating conservation measures or any technical measures applicable to vessels involved in fisheries.” Aqorau pointed out that the vessel day scheme that governs all purse seine boats in the region was established by the PNA and has also been adopted by the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission that governs high seas fishing in the region. The WCPFC comprises both islands and distant water fishing nations, including the EU. “The EU is not even applying measures that they have adopted (through the WCPFC),” Aqorau said. But the EU said its fisheries activities in the region are handled by agreements with individual
nations. “The WCPFC conservation measure on bigeye and yellowfin tuna simply acknowledges that PNA members would implement VDS in their waters,” the EU said. But this WCPFC measure “does not create explicit obligations for the EU.” In addition, because the current WCPFC measure expires in December 2012 and will be replaced subject to negotiations in the framework of WCPFC, and not the EPA, the EU does not view this as creating a legal obligation for the EPA under negotiation with the Pacific. PNA officials say this is a way for the EU to maneuver around requirements established by the two main fisheries organizations in the region—the WCPFC and the PNA. Brownjohn said text proposed by the EU for the fisheries section of the EPA trade agreement calls on its fleet to “take into account” regulations adopted by the WCPFC. “It does not require the EU to follow these regulations, and they want to delete references to national laws (of Pacific islands),” Brownjohn said. Aqorau recognized the EU’s announced willingness to work against illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing, and said the best way to do this in the Pacific is for the EU to implement all PNA measures in the fisheries chapter of the Economic Partnership Agreement. But, he said, the latest draft of the fisheries chapter for the EU trade agreement “has no mention of the fisheries measures already in place and no mention of the PNA,” Aqorau said. “This is unacceptable.” Aqorau said PNA officials are calling the EU Parliament “to carefully scrutinize the fisheries chapter to ensure it is consistent with measures already in place. If not, the EU will be contributing to IUU.” The EU countered this criticism by saying the nations in the EU are “responsible flag states”. If EU vessels operate without following PNA requirements, then by definition they will be fishing illegally, said Aqorau.
www.islandsbusiness.com Taking the Pacific Islands to the world For more than 25 years Islands Business has been the leading news and current affairs magazine of the Pacific islands region. Now with islandsbusiness.com, we take the islands to the world. Accessed in 80 nations besides the Forum islands countries, islandsbusiness.com is fast emerging as the leading online medium with the latest news and in-depth analyses of Pacific islands’ issues presented in the same high standard of journalism that Islands Business has come to be associated with. islandsbusiness.com now offers exciting opportunities to advertisers to take your message not just throughout the region – but to the world. Call, fax or e-mail Abigail Covert-Sokia in Suva for exciting ideas for maximising your media dollar throughout the Pacific and beyond. Find out how little it takes to take your message to audiences interested in the islands – wherever they may be!
46 Islands Business, October 2012
Cocktail hour...at Taveuni Island Resort. Photo: Taveuni Island Resort
Aust’s Flight Centre eyes Fiji By Davendra Sharma
eading Australian travel operator, Flight Centre, has listed Fiji as one of its target business expansions over the next five years as it foresees phenomenal growth in both leisure and corporate travels. Fiji, Phuket and Bali are top holiday destinations for Australian travellers and the multi-national public travel agent believes it needs outlets in those countries to adequately cater for those tourists. In recent years, Flight Centre has earned a top brand name as it launched in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa, Hong Kong, China and India. Flight Centre Limited is Australia’s largest travel agent. It is listed on the Australian Stock Exchange with an annual total turnover of $12.2 billion sales as at June 2011. It has over 2,500 stores in 10 countries, employing over 13,500 staff. Flight Centre currently uses the slogan “unbeatable!” and with that has carved a reputation with frequent travellers who prefer certainty in their
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travel itineraries when booking their travels. So much is part of their broadening plans abroad that it expects to add 1000 new staff by opening new outlets in places like Fiji, Phuket and Bali. Flight Centre also expects overseas markets to contribute about half of its profits by 2017. Cashing in on Fiji’s popularity Fiji, awarded the Best Family Holiday Destination in the 2012 Travel Bug Awards in the world, has seen exceptional interest from Australian corporate firms in recent years. While Qantas exited out of the South Pacific market, its offshoot Jetstar, and Virgin Australia have been expanding their wings with increased flights since entering the markets in 2010. Australia is the source of Fiji’s largest number of tourists, followed by New Zealand and the United States—where Flight Centre has established operations. The three countries together bring 75% of total 674,000 tourists that choose Fiji as their holiday destination yearly. A tourist brings on an average of $2000 to Fiji.
Flight Centre told the media in September that while it will target the emerging tourist markets of Asia and the Middle East in its immediate plans, prime holiday spots like Fiji, Phuket and Bali are traditional travel markets and should be kept in focus. It expects to lift profit by five percent at between $305 million and $315 million. It posted $200 million this year, up from $139.8 million in 2011. As for its plans overseas, the company hopes it can rake in half of its profits from overseas spots like Fiji, Singapore, Hong Kong, Dubai and India. “We’d like to get close to a 50/50, or at least 60/40 split in terms of profit,” chief executive Graham Turner said. “The TTV (total transaction value) is about 50/50 now, and I think that will grow a little more in overseas jurisdictions.” Surpassing other family holiday hot-spots like Hawaii and Vanuatu, Fiji earned the honours with top points for accessibility, safety and security for children and the overall activities on offer, with appeal to all ages. The award for Fiji is based on huge selection of resorts, activities and a safe haven for families. It also is in close proximity to Australia and New Zealand. Modern facilities, kids’ clubs and day-care centres also were noted as prominent factors favouring Fiji. Virgin vs Qantas Flight Centre said a recent spate of price wars between the two largest carriers has renewed travels by both leisure and corporate passengers, who have shown double digit growth. “Virgin has thrown down the gauntlet to Qantas in their corporate, and for us this is not necessarily a bad thing as we support both airlines,” Turner said. “We’re not too worried. With extra capacity, pricing might come off, but that would only encourage more travel, which would be a good thing for leisure travel.” With direct or connecting flights into eight main islands tourist nations in the Pacific, Virgin has quickly captured the vacuum created by the departure of Qantas, which with its Jetstar outfit has made comparatively slow progress in the region.
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Islands Business, October 2012 47
Buildings key to restoring police performance
ccording to the 2011 People’s Survey—a national public perception survey of nearly 5,000 Solomon Islanders—Isabel has the highest levels of perceived safety and perceived police improvement in the nation. But the 2011 People’s Survey also revealed that while communities in Isabel and elsewhere believe that their police force is improving; limited resources are preventing the police from meeting community expectations. And for the police officers themselves, the survey revealed the discouragement they feel in being unable to deliver the level of policing to which they aspire because of limited resources. This is one of the main reasons the Provincial Police Commander for Isabel, Gabriel Manulusi, is so delighted that the old decrepit provincial police headquarters was selected for replacement by a new, modern, functional building as part of RAMSI’s new targeted infrastructure support for the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force. “Because of the new building, the behaviour and lives of people have changed,” Commander Manulusi said in a recent interview, just after the new headquarters was commissioned. “The building has changed the picture of the heart of Isabel. That is how I see it. Police officers too have changed. Because of the good working environment, they are very happy and they look forward to working with the government, churches and the good people of Isabel to maintain law and order.” Building Confidence While stepping back from everyday policing, RAMSI’s Participating Police Force (PPF) continues to support the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force (RSIPF) progress into a modern, effective and independent force which has the full confidence and support of the community. RAMSI’s support in the provinces is continuing through a mentoring program, communications and logistical support and by helping local police develop community crime prevention programmes. A key area of support is rebuilding and refurbishing dilapidated police buildings and equipment throughout the country. RAMSI’s support to improve the living and working conditions of the police force to-date has seen the completion of 72 new police houses with a further 62 currently under construction. And by the end of 2012, nine police stations in eight provinces will have either been renovated or replaced. These improvements not only provide better, 48 Islands Business, October 2012
In the Solomon Islands’ province of Isabel, police morale is up and community confidence growing, as Erin Gleeson reports from Honiara.
Morale booster...in the Solomon Islands’ province of Isabel, police morale is up and community confidence growing following the commissioning of a new provincial police headquarters (below). Photos: Julie Mitchell/AFP
modern facilities and a sound base to conduct operations, but have a marked impact on the morale of officers as well as encourage them to take up postings in provincial areas. The new and improved buildings also improve the visibility and professionalism of the police force and their commitment to serving the community. New HQ for Isabel On August 30, 2012, Isabel’s new police headquarters was unveiled before a large and excited crowd in Buala, the provincial capital. The new Australian funded two-storey Provincial Police Headquarters, consisting of a police station, detention facilities and training areas, replaces the previous dilapidated headquarters which was beyond economic repair. Premier of Isabel, James Habu, speaking at the opening, said his hope was that the new headquarters would inspire a new generation of police officers. “We know our police officers will be happy with their new office and aspiring young people will be motivated to join the police force. “The police are very important in ensuring the safety of communities. In doing so, it provides an environment for provincial governments to provide service delivery confidently,” he said. Minister for Police, National Security and Correctional Services, David Tome believes the headquarters will lift the performance of the local police force. “Having a new facility will raise the expectations that the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force will perform its duties. The communities of
Isabel will expect more from the police in terms of patrolling, quick responses to incidents and proper completion of cases reported to police” Acting RAMSI Special Coordinator, Justine Braithwaite believes the headquarters recognises the progress the RSIPF has made in Isabel and elsewhere. “RAMSI built this police headquarters because RAMSI believes in the RSIPF. RAMSI views the RSIPF as a strong and professional police force that can maintain law and order in Buala and elsewhere in Solomon Islands. “The RSIPF is taking forward policing in Buala and everywhere in Solomon Islands. The work of the Participating Police Force has changed from standing side by side with the RSIPF in frontline policing to developing the capacity of the RSIPF.” RAMSI’s Transition The Buala headquarters represents another step in the gradual transition of RAMSI out of Solomon Islands. By giving the police force the foundation needed for it to run effectively and independently, RAMSI is helping RSIPF build a sustainable future. RAMSI’s PPF has now stepped back from 10 police posts in the provinces, including Isabel, and is now concentrating almost solely on support and strengthening role. RAMSI will continue to support the local police force for at least another five years. This work aims to achieve two outcomes. First, that the RSIPF is capable of independently carrying out its mandated functions of maintaining law and order and targeting corrupt conduct. And secondly, that the RSIPF develops a model of policing that will be appropriate, affordable and sustainable once RAMSI eventually leaves.
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