SAMOA – Samoa’s prime minister has welcomed the focus of the Commonwealth on vulnerable member states affected by climate change.
Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi was speaking from London at the closing of the CHOGM conference on Friday.
All 53 member countries have affirmed their commitment to the most ambitious UN Paris Agreement target of limiting the increase of global temperatures to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial times.
Members also committed to protecting oceans and marine environments from threats such as climate change, pollution and over fishing.
Tuilaepa welcomed the renewed interest in the Commonwealth’s values and principles.
“As well we welcome the focus of the Commonwealth familty to acknowledge the most vulnerable of its members. In particular, the impacts of climate change on our small island developing states.”
Tuilaepa acknowledged the Commonwealth working to foster a fairer, more prosperous and sustainable future for all.
Samoa is to host the CHOGM conference in 2022.
TOKELAU – Chiefs and local leaders from the tiny Pacific territory of Tokelau are heralding the launch of the island nation’s first-ever local newspaper that claims to meet international standards.
REFUGEES ROUNDED UP IN DAWN RAID
PAPUA NEW GUINEA – A Manus Island refugee in Port Moresby says the Papua New Guinea immigration authority assisted by the army conducted a dawn raid yesterday at a motel in the capital. They were targeting a group of 20 refugees brought to Port Moresby from Manus for medical treatment. The refugee said most of the men were taken from the motel and escorted to the airport for transport back to the island. He said a small number of men avoided capture by hiding, or by being unaware of the raid and away from the motel at the time. About three dozen other men were sent back to Manus from the motel this year after receiving medical treatment. The refugee said about 60 refugees remained in the motel of about 750 in PNG, where they’ve been exiled by Australia for the last five years.
PASIFIKA CRIME RATES DECREASING
NEW ZEALAND – The former National government in New Zealand is taking credit for halving Pacific youth offending during its time in office. It was revealed this week that the rate of Pacific youth offending dropped by 61 per cent between 2009 and 2017. National’s spokesperson for Pacific People’s, Alfred Ngaro, said National had the right plans and policies in place to improve the lives of Pasifika. He said the figures came as achievement results among Pasifika high school students showed a marked jump. Ngaro said it was known that “a lack of education can lead to a young person offending, so it’s no surprise that as Pacific student achievement goes up, Pacific youth offending goes down”.
FIJI AND NZ LOOK TO INCREASE TRADE
FIJI – The Fiji Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama says his country is exploring new opportunities for trade and investment with New Zealand. Bainimarama has met with New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern in the margins of the Commonwealth Head of Governments Meeting in London. Bainimarama said there was a great deal of unrealised potential between the two countries in trade and investment. He said the Fiji-NZ Business Council could be an effective vehicle for greater economic exchange. Ardern said New Zealand’s new approach to regional co-operation would see it becoming a more involved partner in the development of Fiji and other Pacific nations.
TOURISM STAFF SWEPT AWAY BY RIVER
SOLOMON ISLANDS – Staff at the Solomon Islands Visitor Bureau are receiving counselling after a staff member died and another is still missing during an assessment of a hiking track. The office’s marketing officer, Stella Lucas, died during the assessment in the Mataniko River region near Honiara. Another worker Chris Nemaia is still missing. The Bureau chairman, Wilson Ne’e, said he cannot comment on the exact circumstances until local authorities release an official report. Honiara’s a police chief Alfred Uiga said the pair were swept away by the river after a downpour of torrential rain. “One male is still missing and searches are ongoing,” Uiga said. “At this stage, the cause of death of the woman is not confirmed but it appears at this early stage she may have drowned in the river.”
NEW ZEALAND – There have been a range of reactions from New Zealand’s Pacific community over anti-gay comments made Australia’s highest-profile rugby player, Israel Folau.
VANUATU – Thousands of south Pacific islanders at the mercy of an active volcano will be permanently resettled by the end of May, the Vanuatu government has said.
PAPUA NEW GUINEA BANS PLASTIC BAGS
PAPUA NEW GUINEA – The Papua New Guinea government is imposing a full ban on plastic shopping bags but is allowing a one-month grace period for everyone to fully comply with it.
Hawai‘i – Hawai‘i has declared a state of disaster for the County of Kauai after severe weekend flooding caused mass evacuations and triggered emergency relief efforts.