5 Responses

  1. Stephen Howes
    Stephen Howes January 8, 2016 at 2:30 pm

    Thanks Tess and happy new year. Recent press from Fiji and PNG certainly suggests a bleak outlook for PACER Plus.

  2. Uterius Maximus
    Uterius Maximus January 7, 2016 at 5:15 pm

    Some of us above the Equator almost always hardly pay attention to the Pacific politics in the South Pacific region, thus I couldn’t be sure whether it has to do with our closer ties with the United States or just that our media rarely cover or promote politics below the Equator. At any rate, I’d like to complement your views as expressed above and in addition question the issue of Fiji being once considered as a militant country due the coup few years back. Has it being relieved yet of the political rhetoric labeling which to me is part chaotic since Fiji has been served as a very contributive country in the Pacific. Also, Fiji is offering solution to the sinking Kiribati and perhaps other low lying Pacific countries.

    Yes, our FSM country and state of Pohnpei have just wrapped their election last year and hopefully we should be ready to launch our new administrations with strategic development goals which may addressed the three major areas in agriculture, tourism and fisheries, plus of course our anticipated termination of financial assistance in our Compact of Free Association with the USA in 2023. We once had the case of impeachment in Pohnpei, but fortunately the official in effect has resigned and thus giving our current and soon to become new administration all the political and economic leverages to push forth. Again, thank you for sharing your views above.

    1. Tess Newton Cain
      Tess Newton Cain January 8, 2016 at 2:18 pm

      Thanks for your feedback and contribution. Fiji plays a very significant role within the region and managed to maintain a degree of influence even when considered a ‘pariah’ state by some, including by establishing the PIDF and taking on a larger role within the Melanesian Spearhead Group. Since the elections in 2014 global powers have sought to re-establish ties with Suva including military ties. However, in the 8 years of military rule, new friendships have been established and so the landscape has changed quite a bit.

  3. Jason Brown
    Jason Brown January 6, 2016 at 11:02 am

    . . .

    “Further to the big global agreements of 2015 – the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement on climate change – this year will see the beginning of the huge tasks associated with the implementation of these agreements.”

    Huge tasks, indeed.

    Translating global rhetoric into local realities, however, demands an almost equally huge investment, long, long over-due, in participatory mechanisms, starting with informing citizens.

    From the perspective of PFF, the Pacific Freedom Forum, that requires member governments to recognise the centrality of news media, especially in the delivery of our most fundamental human right, freedoms of expression, and, more especially these days with the open data revolution, access to information.

    We outline those centralities in our 2015 end of year review, and look ahead for 2016 here.

    Completely separate from my role as PFF editor, is my own project as founder of JA2025, the Journalism Agenda 2025.

    JA2025 envisions an adaptation of #globalgoals under SDGs towards the 4th Estate. This would see 0.7% of all aid targets firewalled off into independent trusts for a global 4th Estate, over the next decade. Concurrently, JA2025 will campaign for that same formula to be applied throughout the public sector by NGOs, and, eventually, the private sector, as well.

    Still in the blue-sky-pie stage, or pre-alpha-draft-exploratory-concept-phase to use the jargon, JA2025 is already been followed globally by leading United Nations development experts.

    Those interested can get an overview of JA2025 at our participatory forum here.

    Meantime, one comment on the above, relating to there being “some way to go before universal suffrage is achieved” within Samoa.

    As something of a ground breaker for the English-speaking parts of the Pacific (French territories already well ahead on this path), Samoa is treading carefully, wisely in my view. Such is the power of corruption, even the best intentioned initiatives, such as gender equality, can be subverted to interests other than those of the public general. Outside of this aspect, the matai system is an ancient form of democracy that needs to be seen as an enabler rather an obstacle to equality.

    Primarily, by serving as an almost impregnable barrier that has acted as an efficient block to exploitation by foreign sources, and their hand-picked lackeys, including some well-known rugby players, among others. In the matai, and other traditional leadership systems across the region, we have a form of chaos-theory guardianship that slows things down.

    Having seen what has happened at home in my adoptive Cook Islands, where traditional leadership is extremely weak, and tourism wipe out indigenous language use in little over a generation, I think other countries are wise to go slow, for development to be socially and environmentally sustainable, as well as economically sustained.

    Sorry for these long wordy sentences, just some off-the-cuff comments in response to another excellent overview from Tess, via DevPolicy.

    Super valuable for us all.

    . . .

    1. Tess Newton Cain
      Tess Newton Cain January 11, 2016 at 11:45 am

      Thanks Jason for this and especially for your thoughts on the intersection between the Matai system and democracy in Samoa

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