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Pacific News Briefs

Pacific leaders at SIDS conference

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — Small Island Developing States (SIDS) from around the world are in Antigua and Barbuda to develop a 10-year prosperity and sustainable development plan.

This is the fourth edition of the conference (SIDS4) under the theme "charting the course toward resilient prosperity".

There are almost 60 states involved in the ongoing discussions at the conference.

United Nations SIDS unit chief, Sai Navoti, said this is a legacy partnership between nations and he is impressed by the number of Pacific Island states attending.

Pacific leader's are using their so called 'roadmap to prosperity' or the 2050 Blue Pacific Strategy to guide discussions.

Navoti said the strong involvement of Pacific Islands Forum members and CROP (Council of Regional Organizations of the Pacific) agencies will ensure discussions and outcomes have impact.

"I'm very happy indeed to see a large number of our Pacific island leaders represented here," he said.

"This will make this type of global declaration meaningful to our own people."

Pacific ocean commissioner Dr Filimon Manoni is advocating for more discussions on ocean resource management at SIDS4.

Dr Manoni said there is much to be discovered in the ocean and proper management needs to be a priority.

"At the end of the day we are all oceans people. The ocean is the sole breadbasket for us, it is the source of livelihood, it is the source of our identity, and source of economic development," he said.

"It dawned on many of us about how little we know about what is there in the ocean."

He said the voices of young people also need to be heard in these discussions, with a youth forum also being held on the sidelines of the conference.

Dr Manoni said he has been impressed with the youth priority document which aligns with the Blue Pacific's 2050 strategy.

"What that shows us is that we are aligned in our thinking going forward as SIDS, for how we could achieve our nation building aspirations as we move forward.

"The young people should be given a voice to be able to express their views because they are the future leaders."


The Northern Marianas and the rest of Micronesia could see below-normal tropical cyclone activity for the remainder of 2024, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

NOAA's tropical cyclone outlook said it expects one to two typhoons, and up to four storms, for United States-affiliated Pacific Islands: the Federated States of Micronesia, Marshall Islands, CNMI, and Guam, for the balance of the year.

NOAA said overall, there is a 50 percent chance of below-normal tropical cyclone activity.

The cyclone season in the south Pacific — which ended 30 April — finished with fewer cyclones than what was forecast.

NOAA said the below-normal tropical cyclone activity is consistent with the expected shift from El Nino to ENSO-neutral, and then to La Nina, as supported by the latest National Weather Service Climate Prediction Center ENSO Diagnostics Discussion.

"As ENSO-Neutral conditions shift to a La Nina pattern by late summer, this is likely to further result in less regional activity, similar to the 2020-2022 La Nina years," NOAA said.

"Basin-wide tropical cyclone activity typically shifts eastward in El Nino years, and westward during La Nina years."

Australia's Bureau of Meteorology declared El Nino over in mid-April, while NOAA said on 9 May that "a transition from El Niño to ENSO-neutral is likely in the next month".

NOAA said a westward shift in tropical cyclone activity is predicted to keep tropical cyclone activity below-normal for the Marianas, eastern FSM and the Marshall Islands, but normal to below-normal for Palau and possibly for the western FSM.


A growing youthful population of Māori and Pasifika is the future of Aotearoa New Zealand, a former Pacific peoples minister says.

Stats NZ data from the latest census has revealed an increase in Pacific population groups from 8.1 in 2018 to 8.9 percent in 2023.

It also showed the median age for Pacific people is 25.

The former minister and community leader Aupito William Sio said the data is a confirmation.

"I have always known for a very long time that we are a very fast growing population which paints a picture that Pasifika as well as Māori are the future of New Zealand," he said.

The Pasifika population has grown rapidly, about twice the rate of New Zealand's population, according to 2006-2023 census data.

Pacific people now make up 442,632 people compared to 381,642 in 2018.

The New Zealand population has grown to nearly five million in total.

The matter of Indo-Fijians/Fijian-Indians claiming Pacific Islander in the census as their ethnicity must also be considered, Fiji Girmit NZ president Krish Naidu said, noting what has been a long-standing issue.

"They do have a Fijian passport. I will always include them but there is a different matter when it comes to Fijian. They are divided and it is a matter," Sio said.

RNZ Pacific asked the Minister for Pacific Peoples Dr Shane Reti on whether Indo-Fijians were included in Ministry of Pacific Peoples as Pacific people.

In a statement, his office said: "The Ministry for Pacific Peoples is undertaking ongoing policy work to better understand this issue."

During this month's Girmit celebrations in Auckland, Prime Minister Chris Luxon did not address the issue despite "clarity" being directly called from this coalition government being called for by the Girmit community.

Under the coalition government there is no Pacific representation in Parliament.


A top Chinese Communist Party official, Liu Jianchao, has met with Vanuatu's prime minister and president on a visit to the Pacific Island nation.

Liu leads the Communist Party's body in charge of managing ties with foreign political parties.

Reuters reported both countries agreed to work together to further develop relations, and strengthen cooperation, such as under the Belt and Road initiative.


Fiji government's new development plan will address long-standing issues in health and infrastructure.

It will be released in the coming months and will cover the three, five and a 20-year plan.

Minister of Finance Professor Biman Prasad told The Fiji Times the coalition government has inherited neglected infrastructure which needs serious work.

He said the Nausori Health Centre which serves around 70,000 people was recently refurbished.


Former Fiji Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama has been denied bail in the Suva High Court.

Bainimarama appeared in court with convicted for police commissioner Sitiveni Qiliho on Thursday.

FBC reported lawyers for the two had appealed that the sentence imposed on them earlier this month be suspended, pending the determination of the appeal against conviction and sentence.

The two were jailed on May 9, for their roles in blocking a police investigation at the University of the South Pacific.

Bainimarama, 69, who was jailed for a year had been found guilty of perverting the court of justice, while Qiliho had been found guilty of abuse of office.


Tourism Solomons says its first quarter visitor numbers have increased on last year.

Figures released by the Solomon Islands National Statistics Office for the first quarter of the financial year show 4903 visitors, an increase of 24 percent on the same period in 2023.

SIBC reported while the numbers fall short of the 6042 achieved in quarter one in 2019, Tourism Solomons acting chief executive Dagnal Dereveke said concerted marketing efforts in tandem with Solomon Airlines were obviously paying dividends.


Thousands of tablet devices have arrived in Papua New Guinea, ahead of the National Population Census.

The National newspaper reported the counting period runs from 17-30 June

Administrative services minister Richard Masere said they are allowing for about 60 days of data cleansing to make sure there is no duplication of data and that accurate data was collected, before the population figure is announced in August.


More than 60 police cadets from PNG are heading to Australia to enhance their policing and leadership skills.

Deputy police commissioner, administration, Dr Philip Mitna said between May and August, four contingents of police cadets would undertake a two-week placement with the Queensland Police Service.

The National newspaper reported there are hopes the cultural exchange will deepen the relationship between Australian and PNG police officers helping them better tackle transnational crime.