Pacific

Cocaine, geography and COVID-19, drug trafficking in the Pacific

In July, an estimated 14kgs of cocaine washed up on beaches in Vava'u.

Tongan police seized the haul and an ongoing investigation has seen 21 people charged so far including three foreigners.

At the end of August, Acting Deputy Commissioner of Tonga Police Halatoa Taufa told Matangi Tonga the recent arrests included a 49-year-old man and his 23-year-old wife from Ta'anea, Vava'u on August 23.

The couple are in police custody charged with engaging with others in the supply of illicit drugs.

Pacific farmers look to control deadly coconut rhinoceros beetle infestations

The strain has spread to seven Pacific Island countries in just a decade leaving thousands of dead palms in its wake. The Guam strain, together with much more established biotype CRB-S has hampered the success of renovation programmes for mature tall palms as well as newly emergent, high-value coconut product industries (such as virgin oil and coconut water) that offer economic opportunities for communities in the region.

Sending money home to the Pacific more often

In July 2021, ANZ customers in Australia and New Zealand sent 11,668 International Money Transfers to family and friends in the Pacific, worth AUD$ $13.1m (US$9.6 million), a 21 percent increase in volume when compared to the same period last year.

“In the Pacific, international money transfers - also known as remittances - are about more than money: they are about family, safety, culture, and community,” ANZ Regional Executive, Pacific, Tessa Price said.

FAO calls for renewed digital push in Small Island Developing States

The goals in particular are SDG 1 (No poverty), SDG 2 (No hunger) and SDG 10 (Reduced inequalities).

Qu spoke at the two-day virtual SIDS Solutions Forum (30-31 August), co-hosted by FAO and the Government of Fiji. Heads of State and Government from nine Pacific Island countries attended or were represented at the high-level event, as well as government ministers holding key portfolios related to agriculture, food, nutrition, environment, health, and information and communications technology. African and Caribbean nations were also represented.

Australia says it's given 2.1 million vaccines doses to the region

The Minister for International Development and the Pacific Zed Seselja told parliament this was one of the reasons why assistance to the Pacific remains critical.

He said on pandemic response, Australia had fronted up with COVID-19 vaccines.

"We have now gifted over 2.1 million life-saving vaccines to our neighbourhood. Because until everyone is safe from COVID, nobody is safe.

"And similarly, hundreds of thousands of Australian jobs depend on strong economic growth across our region."

UK Government to support UNDP prevent and fight corruption in the Pacific

Corruption costs the global economy approximately US$2.6 trillion, or 5 percent of global GDP, each year. Corruption, together with tax evasion and illicit financial flows, costs developing countries approximately US$1.26 trillion each year.[*]

Tokyo 2020 Day Three: Pacific Athletes - Who to watch and when

Rugby Sevens (Men's)

Fiji v Canada- 8:00pm

Sailing

Men's Radial Laser event, 3:05pm (PNG and Samoa)

Teariki Numa of Papua New Guinea and Eroni Leilua of Samoa join sailors from around the world taking to the waters for the third and fourth races of the Sailing - Men's Radial Laser event.

It's been 28 years since PNG have been seen sailing at the Olympics - a record held by Te Ariki Numa's father, Graham Numa, who represented the nation in windsurfing at Seoul in 1988 and Barcelona in 1992.

ADB, Australia help strengthen Public Financial Management in Pacific

ADB is providing US$2 million and Australia US$390,000 (in equivalent AUD$500,000) in additional financing to the program which was established in June 2020 to support the Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, Niue, Samoa, Tonga, and Tuvalu.

“The additional financing from the Government of Australia is highly appreciated and will be used to expand the scope of the assistance to Fiji where reforms will focus on strengthening public financial management practices in Fiji,” said Regional Director of ADB’s Pacific Subregional Office in Fiji Masayuki Tachiiri.

Pacific countries aim to collaborate more over aviation

The ministers met virtually last Wednesday and endorsed the Port Moresby Declaration.

This aims to help member countries respond to the challenges regarding aviation safety and security brought by the pandemic.

The ministers accepted the Pacific faces challenges in building and maintaining a safe, resilient, environmentally sustainable, and economically viable civil aviation system.

This includes complying with the International Civil Aviation Organisation's (ICAO) Standards and the Convention on International Civil Aviation.

Business Link Pacific launch second Adaptation Grant Round in celebration of MSMEs

This is being done in partnership with the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT), and the Australian Government Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT).

The investment of 3.3M NZD by both the New Zealand and Australian Governments to the Business Adaptation Grants is another example of how these two nations are working together with the Pacific Islands to contribute to a stable and prosperous region.