Pacific

IFC works with commerical institutions to aid Pacific

The officials met via a virtual meeting this week to discuss ways to work through the global economic downturn.

The IFC's Thomas Jacobs told banking executives the economic fallout from the pandemic would not spare any nation in the region.

Mr Jacobs said his corporation was working to help financial institutions in the region continue to back businesses, in particular small and medium-sized companies.

He said it was important to keep these institutions operating and for that they needed finance.

NZ-based 531pi to be broadcast to Pacific

Sara-Jane Elika, Interim CEO of PMN says: “Over the last year, our talanoa with Pasifika TV has focused on expanding the reach of our content given our close links with the Pacific region.

“The first opportunity came through the Pacific Divas National Identity showcase and now we look to a phased approach with our Breakfast shows being the first of many audio feeds to come.

“It is a very exciting time”.

Pasifika still struggling with smoking and nutrition - health advisor

Last week the organisation announced it had recruited the former Director of the Pacific Community, Colin Tukuitonga, to help their commitment to health equity for Pasifika.

Dr Tukuitonga has worked with the foundation in the past, helping design their Pacific Heartbeat programme.

Now that he has returned he has some big challenges to confront, beginning with high rates of smoking.

"It's declined in Pākehā folk and even in Māori but we still have pretty high rates of smoking," Dr Tukuitonga said.

$195m of NZ govt budget will go to help Pasifika

Pacific peoples minister Aupito William Sio said the money will help with the recovery and rebuild from Covid-19, with the Pacific community among the hardest hit.

$80 million has been set aside for yet-to-be-announced education iniatives, while more than $30 million will go expanding skills, employment and education programmes that already exist.

$40 million will be spent on improving housing for Pacific families, and money has also been budgeted for culture and heritage funds, community content and the construction of a Fale Malae in Wellington.

NZ Speaker wants better appreciation of Pacific

According to Trevor Mallard, the Pacific parliaments programme, Tai a Kiwa, is a good vehicle for this.

Historically, Wellington has not had a good relationship with Pacific parliaments, said Mr Mallard, and had looked to the UK, the US, Australia and more recently to Asia.

He said it was why he had pushed for Speaker-led parliamentary exchanges in the region, before the Tai a Kiwa programme which was formalised a year ago.

"Firstly, up to Vanuatu and the Solomons," he said.

Volunteer staff leave behind a big hole in Pacific sport

Cricketers in Papua New Guinea and Fijian footballers were among a host of sportspeople forced to train in isolation or small groups, in an effort to maintain social distancing.

But dozens of key support staff that help Pacific Island sporting organisations operate were also told to head home - back to Australia and New Zealand.

The Australian Volunteers program repatriated 450 people working across the Indo-Pacific region, of which a significant number were based in the Pacific Islands working with local and national sporting federations.

Aid charities advised to innovate now to survive Covid-19

Paul Ronalds was presenting virtually at an event hosted by New Zealand's Council for International Development.

He said Covid-19 will be a true test of whether NGOs can make the necessary changes to fit the new strategic environment.

Mr Ronalds said charities that are prepared and able to undertake significant change will survive.

He said the virus has accelerated existing trends that were already putting pressure on aid charities, "the business model was already broken…In most countries, there is simply too many NGOs, chasing too few dollars."

Touchdown for local Covid-19 test carts in South Pacific

Suva-based WHO representative Angela Merianos said Pacific nations were among the first group of countries receiving specially developed cartridges from US manufacturer Cepheid, for local testing of Covid-19.

South Pacific nations using New Zealand or Australia to run their testing should be getting cartridges. Some, like Tokelau where there was no testing facility, would also receive the GeneXpert system.

Pacific caught in balancing act due to Covid-19 efforts

The WHO's Angela Merianos said new initiatives like the Pacific Islands Forum's fast-track humanitarian pathway are helping these efforts.

Dr Merianos leads a new space for more than 20 agencies joining forces against Covid-19 in the Pacific.

She said the team are well aware of the impact of restrictions on tourism-dependent economies.

"I think we really have to again work collectively watch this space, make sure that we're balancing the interest of public health and human safety."

Lockdown for Pacific an opportunity to reset diets says academic

Dean of Pasifika at the Auckland Medical School, Colin Tukuitonga, who previously headed the Pacific Community, said people can use the isolation to achieve some personal good.

He said given the rampant levels of non-communicable disease in the Pacific, if people were to turn back to their more traditional foods, instead of relying on processed, sweetened, unhealthy imports, the impact could be huge.

Dr Tukuitonga said with borders closed now's a good to reset and look at developing and growing more healthy foods locally.