November 2013

Views from Auckland

Man who turned the heat on global warming

Dev Nadkarni

Last month, the steamy world of climate change heated up a couple of degrees: Just as a group of climate scientists hit the headlines saying there was new proof that 95% of global warming was because of human activity, the instant media got busy labelling a Kiribati man trying to ...

We Say

Hoodwinking the unsuspecting poor

**‘Consumers of these fake medicines—disadvantaged as they are because of the lack of knowledge and absence of alternative treatments not to mention the exorbitant costs of branded medication—depend on government authorities to authenticate and guarantee the safety of the medicines that are imported. But the health departments of many developing ...

Dependence on fossil fuels

**‘It is a known fact that the remoteness of thePacific Islands, tiny volume demand and the high costs of transportation conspire to make the price of fossil-based fuels among the highest in the world. Pacific Islanders pay the highest prices for petrol, diesel and bottled natural gas than people living ...

ACP sugar industry needs to modernise

**‘The ACP sugar industry has no choice but to modernise and build human capacity forthwith. But it cannot do so without big investment. For which, it has had to again turn to— who else but the European Union. The ministers renewed their request for prolonging the support to the ACP ...



Farewell Dr Rodgers: This month, we’ll get to hear about who is replacing Dr Jimmie Rodgers as the new boss of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) as the Conference of the Pacific Community meets in Suva on November 18-19. WHISPERS has been told that three names will be ...

Pacific Update

Pacific Update

Christopher Pala

President Anote Tong of Kiribati has reversed a previous position against funding and the banning of fishing in the Phoenix Islands Protected Area (PIPA), paving the way for the creation of the world’s most important marine reserve.

Why the Pacific should say No to refugees

Marilyn Shepherd

Papua New Guinea and Nauru are being bullied to assist Australia to traffic humans by force out of Australia on the pretext of stopping people smuggling—a con invented by former Minister for Immigration Philip Ruddock in 1999 and agreed to by former Shadow Minister Con Sciaccia and which has continued ...

West Papuan activists lobbying Pacific leaders

Robert Matau

While they are keenly awaiting the decision on their membership of the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG), West Papua activists are travelling the Pacific lobbying countries to support their bid. One such activist is exiled investigative journalist Octovanius Mote, who has just returned to his adopted home in Washington D.C in ...

Cover story


Giff Johnson

A showdown that could decide the sustainability of the US$7 billion Pacific tuna industry is expected at the annual meeting of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) in Cairns, Australia, on December 2-6. The Pacific countries and distant water fishing nations that are members of WCPFC will meet ...


EPA’s off

Samisoni Pareti

More than a decade of negotiations for a free trade agreement between the Pacific members of the African, Caribbean and Pacific (PACP) states and the European Union (EU) came to naught in Brussels last month.


PNG and the Asian Century

Rowan Callick

The view over Port Moresby’s beautiful, deep-water Fairfax Harbour from Deloitte Tower speaks volumes about Papua New Guinea’s immense potential. Below are ranks of new tower blocks, almost all built and owned by two superfunds and Steamships, the local arm of the venerable Hong Kong-based Swire conglomerate.

CNMI tourism on the rebound

Haidee V. Eugenio

Ronald Nicolas, 43, lost his full-time job asa mason about two years ago and has since been working part-time earning only US$200 on a good month. But everything is about to change once again for Nicolas and many others like him who are either underemployed or unemployed in the Northern ...


Voter apathy concerns NZ’s Pacific leaders

Peter Rees

New Zealanders go to the polls next year and political parties will again battle for the sizeable Pacific vote—provided they can get them to the polling booths. Despite Pacific people making up roughly 7% of the country’s population with six Pacific MPs in parliament, engaging them with New Zealand politics ...

Just who are they arming themselves against?

Alfred Sasako

Before he was dethroned in November 2012, Prime Minister Danny Philip flagged with Australia the idea that Canberra considers building a refugee processing centre in Solomon Islands. His choice for the facility was Sterling Island in the Shortland Group in the nation’s far north, closer to the Bougainville border.

The challenge of making land leases bankable

Bulk of the land within the Pacific Islands is under customary tenure. PNG, as an example, has 97 percent of its total land area under customary title. There are some very good reasons for the above. The property rights to land in most Pacific islands nations have been acquired, protected ...


Can small islands sustain two telecoms?

Giff Johnson

As the Marshall Islands parliament considers the World Bank-drafted legislation to open the telecommunications sector to competition for the first time, the future of the Marshall Islands government-owned National Telecommunications Authority (NTA) hangs in the balance.


Deep sea mining or fisheries?

Anouk Ride & Chelcia Gomese

As interest in deep sea mining grows, one question that comes up time and time again is what impact would deep sea mining have on fisheries? Deep sea mining is a new industry as opposed to fisheries, which has long been a leading source of government income, exports, jobs and ...


Pichler reconsiders fresh alliance with Qantas

Davendra Sharma

Fiji’s national airline Fiji Airways is reconsidering a fresh alliance with Qantas under a four-pillar plan. At the centre of talks involving management of the two airlines is a former Virgin Airways executive, Stefan Pichler, now at the helm of Fiji Airways.

Gizo airport opens for business

Evan Wasuka

Solomon Islands’ busiest domestic airport, Gizo in the Western Province, is back in business with a new all-weather runway, following a five-month closure. The newly refurbished runway was opened by Prime Minister Gordon Darcy Lilo in September. Solomon Airlines General Manager Operations and Commercial Gus Kraus said the improved infrastructure ...


Palau takes fisheries surveillance to new heights

Giff Johnson

Although most islands in the Pacific have Australian-provided patrol boats, aerial surveillance is the key to effective fisheries enforcement.

Airship for the islands?

Andrew Irvin*

I first began paying close attention to the Aeroscraft project at the start of 2012 during a stint of research for a long-term aviation project with Ben Lucas, a young physicist based in Los Angeles, along the beach just south of Santa Monica’s airport, north of the airfields of Playa ...


The medicines are fake, the illnesses real

Catherine Wilson

Reports of fraudulent medicines in the south-west Pacific islands states of Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea have drawn attention to the need for more public awareness of the lethal trade and its tragic consequences.

Lifting our game in health

Pacific people’s health is generally good byglobal standards, but significant preventable premature deaths, disease and disabilities remain, and there are considerable health inequalities in and between Pacific Islands countries and territories (PICTs).


Empowering women and supporting communities

For 50 years, the Community Education Training Centre (CETC) in Narere, Fiji, has empowered hundreds of women who have gone on to make strong contributions to development. CETC was founded in 1963 as a programme of the South Pacific Commission, now the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC). It was ...

Business Intelligence

Power woes for Pacific nations

Davendra Sharma

If today’s problem is shortage of electricity in the greater islands region of the Pacific with only 30% of the population having access, then tomorrow’s thorny issue will be affordability. But there is hope that the two issues can be ironed out with new incentives to seek alternative and cheaper ...

Small plane crash in tiny US island kills 3

Haidee V. Eugenio

A small commuter plane crash in the tiny island of Tinian in the Northern Mariana Islands on Oct. 6, 2013 claimed three lives and injured four others, the worst commercial aviation incident in this U.S. territory since at least the early ‘90s.

EU boat fined US$1m for illegally fishing in Nauru

Robert Matau

The Nauru District Court has fined a European Union fishing vessel licensed to fish in Kiribati, US$1 million for illegally fishing in Nauru waters. Albacora Uno, from Spain, was detected by the Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) surveillance systems in Honiara in the Solomon Islands in 2012 and the ...


SPREP moving ahead

The environmental challenges facing Pacific countries have grown over the years, as has the role of SPREP (Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme. SPREP supports Pacific countries and territories to protect and better manage their environments and ensure sustainable development for present and future generations. To help achieve this, ...

Fiji Business


Robert Matau

Three names have been put forward to replace Fiji School of Medicine-educated Dr Jimmie Rodgers as the director-general of the biggest regional organisation, the Secretariat of Pacific Community (SPC). The three according to ranking by a recruitment committee of the Committee of Representatives of Governments and Administrations (CRGA) are:

Pacific deep-water treasure needs protection

Jennie Metcalfe*

While tuna is king for most Pacific islands economies, a little known treasure from the deep—the snapper—holds both cultural and economic value for many Pacific Islands communities.