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Conservation International PNG gets funding from USAID Pacific American Climate Fund

Posted by Niugini Nius | February 27, 2015 | Posted in , ,

Alotau, Papua New Guinea: The U.S. Agency for International Development’s (USAID) Pacific American Climate Fund (PACAM) awarded a grant to Conservation International PNG to heighten awareness of climate change impacts, and empower citizens of four islands in Papua New Guinea to manage their ecosystems and adapt to climate change. Conservation International will receive funding for its project, Spreading the Reach of Community-Based Marine Management in Milne Bay, utilizing traditional storytelling as the means to create environmental awareness. The project will be implemented on the islands of Nuakata, Tubetube, Kwaraiwa, and Ware of the Milne Bay Province over an 18-month period.
The initiative was officially launched in Alotau, Milne Bay, on February 27. U.S. Ambassador to Papua New Guinea, Walter E. North, said, “As part of our efforts to build on and strengthen our relationship with Papua New Guinea, and work together to respond to the threat of climate change, it is a pleasure to celebrate with you today this grant provided by the American people to the people of Papua New Guinea.”
“The Pacific-American Climate fund is a key initiative of the U.S. Government to support Pacific countries to identify, develop, and implement local solutions to climate change adaptation that will also make global contributions,” Ambassador North added.
The new project will create videos documenting the perspective of community members and community groups on changes in the status of their marine resources, the reasons for these changes, and how to ensure sustainable benefits from healthy marine resources into the future. The videos will be shared with communities and schools working with the PNG Division of Education and Centre for Locally Managed Areas (CLMA). 
Fifty percent of the province’s coastal population of over 175,000 is under 19 years of age. As this population doubles within the next 30 years, the pressure on natural resources will increase significantly. While local food security and community health depends on the Milne Bay ecosystem, which contains 32 percent of PNG’s highly biodiverse coral reefs, it is under threat from overfishing, land-based pollution and climate change impacts, including more frequent storms and cyclones and rising sea levels.
For nearly 20 years, Conservation International (CI) has worked with communities, governments, industries and agencies to develop innovative conservation of important species and ecosystems

Pacific connected: A regional approach to development challenges facing island nations

Posted by Niugini Nius | | Posted in

Dots on the world map – they are coral atolls and volcanic islands spread across a vast swath of the Pacific Ocean with names as exotic as their turquoise water, white sand and tropical foliage.
Twelve Pacific Island countries are members of the World Bank. Between them they are home to about 11 million people, much less than one percent of the global population.
One of them, Kiribati, consists of 33 atolls and coral islets, spread across an area larger than India, but with a land mass smaller than New Delhi. With less than 10,000 inhabitants, Tuvalu is the World Bank’s smallest member country.
Despite such remote and tiny landscapes, the Pacific Island countries – including Fiji, Palau, Samoa, Tonga, Vanuatu, Solomon Islands, Marshall Islands, Papua New Guinea, the Federated States of Micronesia and Timor-Leste – represent far more than meets the eye.
Their unique environment provides important ocean resources, including the world’s largest tuna fishery, as well as a virtual global laboratory for the earliest impacts of climate change. Island governments have worked with the international community and conservation groups to establish some of the largest marine protected areas to date.
The World Bank has worked hard with Pacific Island countries to create an expanding partnership that has grown from a modest engagement a decade ago to a major commitment that now exceeds $275 million per year. Alongside global partners, we have an opportunity to do more with Pacific Island governments on unified approaches to development needs that promote a common destiny for such a vast and geographically fragmented region.
Since independence, Pacific Island countries have achieved real progress in the economic and social areas but still face unique development challenges, shaped by their small size, remoteness and vulnerability to natural shocks.
Economic growth lags behind other developing countries in the region. World Bank analysis places the average growth rate between 2003 and 2013 at nine percent for developing countries in East Asia Pacific. Yet in the Pacific, average growth over the same period was closer to just three percent.
With more than half of Pacific islanders under the age of 24, the number of working-age youth is expected to grow substantially over the coming decade. While many countries would see this as an opportunity, in the Pacific – with small economies and limited formal sector employment – it will be difficult to meet this growing demand for employment.
Meanwhile, eight Pacific nations are among the top 20 in the world in terms of annual losses from disasters such as cyclones, earthquakes and tsunamis, with Vanuatu and Tonga listed as the most vulnerable.
World Bank research has estimated the average annual cost to small island states from natural disasters is equivalent to almost two percent of GDP. However, in the cases of Tonga and Samoa, these damages have reached between 20 and 30 percent of GDP. While countries at risk have received international support, the levels provided so far fall well short of the ultimate needs.
Climate change will only increase these vulnerabilities, with rising ocean levels and stronger tropical storms threatening the very existence of low-lying island nations.
The World Bank and its global partners have already launched projects intended to help island countries mitigate impacts of climate change and adapt to the new realities they face. For example, the Kiribati Adaptation Program helps provide safe drinking water and strengthen coastal resilience. With extreme weather events expected to increase in size and frequency, responding to natural disasters is vital. Through the IDA Crisis Response Window, Tonga, Samoa and Solomon Islands have all received emergency support in the wake of their own natural disasters and Tonga became the first beneficiary under the Pacific Risk Assessment and Financing Initiative, a catastrophe risk insurance scheme.
Regional approaches provide opportunities for Pacific Island countries to benefit from economies of scale and shared knowledge. One example of this is the “vessel day scheme” in which the eight island nations that signed the Nauru agreement regulate the lucrative tuna fishery in their territorial waters. Thanks to this agreement, its members quadrupled their license-fee income between 2009 and 2013.
The World Bank is also financing the $32 million Pacific Islands Regional Oceanscape Project that supports four Pacific Island countries and the Forum Fisheries Agency to enact improved and sustainable fisheries management.
Elsewhere, the World Bank has helped Pacific Island countries open their telecommunications sector to competition, which is dramatically reducing prices and increasing coverage. By expanding marine fiber optic cable connections to Pacific Island countries, we are supporting both increased access with lower costs for internet users. A case in point is the connection in 2013 between Tonga and Fiji; new projects are also connecting Palau and the Micronesian island of Yap to Guam, and upgrading Samoa’s international connectivity with a state-of-the-art marine fiber optic cable.
The projects mentioned above are just a sample of many new approaches being implemented in the Pacific Region. We need to keep the momentum up and to do more, so people in Pacific Island countries can see the benefits of these investments. We, at the World Bank, would like to continue being a proactive participant in this endeavor and provide Pacific Island governments with the support they need.

Indonesia quiet on West Papua Issue

Posted by Niugini Nius | | Posted in , ,

The Minister for Foreign Affairs Rimbink Pato told a press conference in Port Moresby in the presence of his Indonesian Foreign Affairs counterpart Her Excellency Mrs Retno Marsudi that the level of corporation between Indonesia and PNG was wide and varied and both countries stood firm to increase its bilateral relations.
Both Ministers however were tight lipped on the human rights issues affecting West Papuans and even didn’t allow for questions from the media.
At the request of the media, Minister Pato spared a few minutes after the conference to answer to questions from the media in the absence of the Indonesian leader.
In his response to the issues affecting West Papuans, he said Mrs Marsudi had extensive discussions on the issue with the Prime Minister Peter O’Neill during her breakfast meeting this morning both governments agreed to take comprehensive actions to address the plight of the our Melanesia brothers.
“Political commitment is needed to guide the West Papuan issue to end the violence once and for all,” Mr. Pato concluded.

European Union - UN Habitat hosts consultation National Settlements

Posted by Niugini Nius | | Posted in , ,

Port Moresby, 27 February 2015: The Office of Urbanization today, concluded its first stakeholder
consultation on a National Settlements Upgrading Strategy at the Holiday Inn on 26 -27 February 2015 as part of the global initiative 'Participatory Settlements Upgrading Programme' (PSUP). PSUP is an initiative of the Africa, Caribbean and Pacific Secretariat, funded by the European Union and
implemented by UN-Habitat.
Launched in 2008, the overall objective of the PSUP is to contribute to the improvement of the living
conditions of the urban poor and to contribute to Millennium Development Goal (MDG) 7, including:
target C, "to halve, by 2015, the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water
and basic sanitation"; and, target D, "to achieve a significant improvement in the lives of at least 100
million slum dwellers by 2020". The programme is currently being implemented in 35 countries.
This workshop comes at an opportune time when the challenge of affordable housing is widely
discussed in Papua New Guinea and an increasing number of Papua New Guineans live in informal
settlements. Based on current trends, almost 50 percent of the urban population may live in informal
settlements by 2030.
In this context, EU Ambassador to Papua New Guinea, Martin Dihm, stated that "today, more than half
of the world’s population live in urban areas and by 2050, all regions are expected to be predominantly
urban. Appropriate policies and careful planning in participation with communities is needed to manage
urbanisation responsibly. Papua New Guinea is also experiencing rapid growth of urban centres.
Consequently, this workshop comes in the right moment for Papua New Guinea given that it recently
introduced the National Population Policy.
At the workshop, findings from the National Capital District (an overall assessment and specific findings
from selected settlements) as well as settlements around the country will be presented. Given the
interdependence of a broad range of development challenges in the settlements a comprehensive
settlements upgrading strategy is being proposed, including the following broad areas for intervention: (1) Social development, (2) land, (3) infrastructure and urban basic services, (4) housing, (5) settlement sensitive
urban planning, (6) financing for settlements upgrading, (7) stakeholder/community
participation and, (8) coordination between communities, local authorities and national government. 

Bank of South Pacific reports profit increase

Posted by Niugini Nius | February 26, 2015 | Posted in ,


Banks of South Pacific reports profit increase
Image: BSP Headquarters in Port Moresby
DESPITE a slowdown in the country’s economy last year, Bank South Pacific’s operating profit increased by 16.1 per cent to K507.3 million from K436.8 million in 2013.
Yesterday, BSP board chairman Kostas Constantinou released the full year report for
2014, saying BSP’s revenue went up by 4 per cent mainly coming from treasury bills and inscribed stock.
He said income from foreign exchange dropped from K184.5 million in the first half of last year to K83 million in the second half.
“The drop was blamed on the changes to the margin bands on foreign exchange,” he said.
“BSP’s total assets at the end of last year were at K15.41 billion.
“Loans and advances to customers; portfolio has seen net growth of K1.50 billion to K6.74 billion.”
He said customer deposits grew steadily up 4.1 per cent to K12.8 billion mainly in the retail, government segments and corporate segment in Fiji.
Constantinou said the bank’s operating expenses show reductions of K41.7 million and operating expenses will continue to be a focus this year.
“The group’s capital base remains sound. Total capital adequacy at the end of 2014 is 24 per cent notwithstanding the impact of continued growth in balance sheet assets as well as total dividend payments of K309.14 million.
“The capital adequacy ratio exceeds the minimum Bank of Papua New Guinea prudential requirement of 12 per cent.”
Constantinou expressed confidence in BSP’s capacity to fill these revenue gaps with new business from the recently established BSP Finance business in PNG and Fiji and continued growth in Fiji and Solomon Island markets.
He said the board looks forward to adding new markets to Bank South Pacific upon the finalisation of the agreement to purchase Westpac’s operations in Samoa, Cook Islands, Vanuatu, Tonga and Solomon Islands which remain subject to regulatory approval.

Cowboy James Tamou to line up for Northern Pride in trial against PNG Hunters

Posted by Niugini Nius | | Posted in

NORTHERN EXPOSURE: James Tamou will line up for the Pride
 when they play the PNG Hunters at Barlow Park on Friday night. Picture: 
Wesley Monts
THE Northern Pride will wheel out 126 NRL games, 10 Tests and eight matches of State of Origin experience against the Hunters on Friday night – and that’s just James Tamou.

The hastily organised Intrust Super Cup trial yesterday received a monumental jolt, with confirmation the Cowboys enforcer will line up at
Barlow Park.

In what will be his first hit-out since off-season neck surgery, the 26-year-old Kangaroos prop has been named in a youthful Pride side to be captained by Jordan Biondi-Odo.

Travis Peeters will start beside Tamou, with fellow round 1 hopefuls Brent Oosen, PJ Webb and Keelan White also earning a golden chance to impress next to one of the game’s best big men.

“This is a perfect chance
for our boys to have a look
at how he plays his footy
and how he prepares for a game,” Pride coach Joe O’Callaghan said.

“Guys like Nathan Wales and Travis Peeters should watch the way he prepares and how he takes it to them out on the pitch.

“They would be crazy not to try and learn off him.

“Playing with a guy like Jimmy will be a buzz for the younger boys.”

In the unlikely event Tamou plays ISC this season, he has been allocated to Mackay.

Yet with
the Cutters
not having another match and Tamou craving fitness, the trial against the Hunters is looming as the perfect fit
for North Queensland’s
feeder club.

Cowboys under-20s player Bill Cullen has also been added to the Pride’s bench.

Innisfail's Biondi-Odo, to start at half-back, remains in the mix for round 1 and now has added responsibility on his shoulders.

“Jordie has been in our system for three years so
I feel like he’s ready for the challenge,” O’Callaghan said.

“It will be very interesting to see not just how he goes as the senior playmaker.

“But with that position comes the fact you’re in a senior leadership spot.”

Despite a last-start trial loss, O’Callaghan said he is confident in the pre-season workload his senior group has gone through.

Vaipuna Tia Kilifi is the only exception, the barnstorming backrower eager to get extra minutes under his belt before confronting Easts.

“This game is about helping a club in PNG that needs another run,” O’Callaghan said. “It will be great for the PNG population in Cairns to see their team.

“And this is a good chance for some of our younger boys to put their hands up.

“I still have two or three jumpers up for grabs for round 1 and this will be one of the most physical packs we will come across.

“This will be much closer to a full ISC trial.

“If they can perform at this level in a big game like this it will be a big statement.”

Source: Cairns Post

PNG Businessmen luring Fijian young women with promises of money

Posted by Niugini Nius | | Posted in , ,

Fiji's High Commissioner in Papua New Guinea, Romanu Tikotikoca has warned Fijian parents not to allow their children to travel to Papua New Guinea with businessmen there. He told Fiji Sun Online after two Fijian young ladies were lured by PNG Businessmen with promises of money to their parents.

The two young women include a 14 year old student from Nadi in Fiji.  Both Fijian women are now with the Fijian High Commission in Port Moresby.

This was confirmed by the Acting Permanent Secretary for Foreign Affairs, Esala Nayasi. Fijian High Commissioner in PNG, Romanu Tikotikoca, said they would try and contact the women’s sponsors to pay their return fare to Fiji. “If they are not going to pay, we will pay,” Mr Tikocatikoca said.

He criticised parents who accepted money in exchange for allowing their daughters to leave.

He said a very good example was the 14-year-old student from Nadi who left last December with a businessman.

“The businessman had promised the parents the student would return before the start of the 2015 school year and she is still in PNG,” he said.

He said even though the Fijian High Commission in PNG had located the girl, the parents should not have allowed the daughter to leave in the first place.

“They had made an unwise decision,” he said.

He advised parents not to neglect their children and not be easily tempted by offers of money.

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