Pacific Islands

Pacific tsunami threat following Chile quake

The tremor at 2254 UTC was recorded at a depth of 10 kilometres.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center in Hawaii says waves of between one and three metres could hit French Polynesia.

Waves of up to a metre are forecast for New Caledonia, New Zealand, Fiji, the Samoas, the Cook Islands, Tokelau, Vanuatu, Kiribati, Tonga, Solomon Islands, and the scattered islands over the north Pacific.

Smaller waves may hit Tuvalu, Papua New Guinea and Nauru.

Pacific Islanders learn how to resolve cross-border disputes

The workshop was held for Pacific Island countries to address whether, how and why to ratify the Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards (1958) New York Convention and whether to adapt their laws to the UNCITRAL Model Law on International Commercial Arbitration.

Tuvalu disheartened by Australian climate attitude

Enele Sopoaga, who also chairs the Small Island States group, says he is disappointed by the failure of last week's Pacific Islands Forum meeting to make a stronger statement on climate change.

Australia and New Zealand did not commit to tougher emission targets called for by the SIS.

Mr Sopoaga says Australia's approach at the Forum and joke by their Immigration Minister about climate change have shone a light on their indifference.

Hopes for new Australian climate policy appear remote

The leaders of Tuvalu, Papua New Guinea and Fiji have expressed hope that Mr Turnbull, who was this week sworn in as prime minister after ousting Tony Abbott as Liberal Party leader, could be a champion for Pacific countries battling rising sea levels and intensifying weather systems.

The change in Canberra came a week after the Pacific Islands Forum meeting highlighted a growing chasm between the Pacific countries and Australia and New Zealand on the issue of climate change.

Taiwan hosts vocational training for young Pacific islanders

The 30 participants, all from countries that are Taiwan's diplomatic allies, are receiving training in the areas of automobile maintenance, carpentry and electrical engineering, said Lee Pai-po deputy secretary-general of the Taipei-based International Cooperation and Development Fund (TaiwanICDF).

The programme, which started Sept. 4 and runs until Dec. 22, is aimed at cultivating seed instructors for vocational training in the participating Pacific island countries, namely Kiribati, Nauru, Palau, Tuvalu, the Marshall Islands and Solomon Islands, Lee said at a news briefing.

Pacific prepares for strengthening EL Nino

“Climatologists are now unanimous in predicting that we are heading for a strong to severe El Niño event in the coming months. Some modelling is now suggesting this El Niño could be as severe as the event in 1997/98 which is the worst on record and brought severe drought to PNG and Fiji,” United Nations Resident Coordinator, Osnat Lubrani said.

NZ boosts Pacific aid, offers new broadcast deal

The Prime Minister John Key says this will take the total aid commitment to the region over the three years to nearly a billion New Zealand dollars.

He made the announcement at the Pacific Islands Forum Leaders summit in Port Moresby.

He says New Zealand is a Pacific nation and it is committed to working with its closest neighbours to develop their economies and build a prosperous and stable region.

Meanwhile, John Key has announced a new broadcasting initiative that will see more New Zealand television content provided to the Pacific, free-of-charge.

PIDF declaration seen as strong political move

Fijian Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama says the PIDF has never been stronger and will sign a Suva Declaration, described as a common position on climate change, to take to a global meeting in Paris.

Jenny Hayward-Jones from the Lowy Institute says if the Pacific Islands Forum was to try to do a similar declaration, there could be confusion about which reflected the region.

Hayward-Jones says the timing of the PIDF move, a few days out from the Port Moresby meeting, makes a strong political statement.

ADB President pledges expanded support for Fiji and Pacific Islands

On his first official visit to Fiji,  Nakao also called on Attorney General and Finance Minister Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum and Foreign Affairs Minister Ratu Inoke Kubuabola. Discussions focused on ways ADB can further enhance its support for Fiji to meet its development priorities.    

Nakao’s programme also included a visit to the ADB-supported Kinoya wastewater treatment plant near Suva and an official address at the University of the South Pacific (USP), where he discussed potential opportunities and policy priorities for Pacific island countries.

A concerted voice from small islands on climate change will be vital

Speaking at a public lecture in Fiji, ADB President Takehiko Nakao says the Pacific Islands are already among the most vulnerable in the world to disasters - as cyclone Pam in Vanuatu earlier this year reminded us.

He said natural disaster cost most Pacific island countries over 2% of Gross Domestic Product each year.  

Nakao said expert on International Panel on Climate Change has reported without policy chnage, we can expect a world that is  4 degrees warmer by the end of the century.