brad brace

6/27/2014

Pacific islands face fishing crisis

As the population on the Pacific islands grows, finding enough fish to eat is becoming increasingly difficult. Now, the fishing industry is switching to tuna to tackle the problem.

The coral fishermen of Vanuatu are facing a growing crisis: they are increasingly returning from their fishing expeditions with ever dwindling hauls. That`s because the coral reefs that they travel out to are disappearing at an alarming rate as are the fish stocks near the coast that have traditionally served as the staple diet for people in the region. It`s a similar story in the other Pacific Islands too.

A variety of factors are responsible for the phenomenon. In addition to environmental pollution, rising temperatures and a creeping acidity in the ocean`s waters – both a consequence of climate change – have taken a huge toll on the reefs.

In fact, the ocean’s chemical makeup has changed more now than it has in 55 million years. That has put incredible pressure on the region’s embattled coral reefs, which have seen their rich biodiversity diminish. More people, fewer fish

The growing population has led to a shortage of food – and climate change has exacerbated the problem

“Coral fishing in the region could shrink by 20 percent by the year 2050,” says Johann Bell, a fishing expert who lives on New Caledonia, an archipelago located some 1,500 kilometers east of Australia. Bell works with the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), an organization of Pacific island countries and territories dealing with environmental and social issues. The decline of the fish catch presents a troubling problem for SPC members. “We have observed that the gap between the amount of fish available in the reefs and the amount that we need to feed the population is growing,” says Bell. And the numbers don’t lie: that gap amounts to 4,000 tons of fish a year. The disappearing reefs have only exacerbated an existing problem. The population on southwest Pacific Ocean islands continues to expand at a rapid rate, expected to reach 50 percent by 2030. If that happens, the islands would need an additional 150,000 tons of fish a year.

A fourth of the world’s tuna stock is found in the waters surrounding eight Pacific islands: Micronesia, Kribati, Nauru, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Tuvalu, the Marshall Islands and the Solomon Islands

But attempting to increase the catch for coral fishermen would only put the reefs under further pressure. “When you don’t cultivate an eco-system in a sustainable way, when you overfish, it is significantly less prepared to deal with the changing climate,” says Doris Soto, a senior officer of the Fisheries and Aquaculture Department at the Food and Agricultulture Organization (FAO). That is why fishermen in the region are not permitted to catch more than 3 of the 50 to 100 tons of fish pro square meter of water each year. Yet, fish forms the main diet on the Pacific islands, and remains an important source of protein for residents. As coastal fishing wanes, so too does the locals’ most basic staple. Vanuautu, like most Pacific islands, has been forced to look for alternatives. But the question is just where. One alternative would be on land. For instance, the Nile tilapia is a large fish and the most prominent example of species that can be cultivated in fisheries and aquacultures on land.

The Pacific Community has recommended the increased use of freshwater aquacultures, and the Nile tilapia is the perfect solution. Since the region is expected to get more rain in future, the Nile tilapa can now even be bred in areas which have received little precipitation so far. To catch tuna, fishermen have to venture far past the coral reefs where they have traditionally caught their bounty

But the SPC’s main solution to the question of alternative food sources lies further off the coast. Far into the ocean’s turquoise waters, huge swarms of tuna swim freely, offering an enticing alternative. But the fishing sector first needs to adapt its ways to learn how and where to catch the fish before tuna can become a fixture on lunch tables. Luring tuna to the coast Fishermen have already been forced to venture further out into the ocean in their small fishing boats for catch. That means more fuel is needed, raising costs. That`s why the Pacific Community recommends installing Fish Aggregating Devices (FADs) to attract ocean fish and other sea creatures back towards the coast. FADs are usually man-made floats or buoys that are anchored to the ocean floor with long ropes. They lure tuna and other marine life that often seek protection in the shadow of the floating devices. Vanuatu has already started experimenting with FADs, installing one between the islands of Nguna, Pele and Efate. That has made it easier for the surrounding 30 communities to access fish.

“Now our fishermen can fish in the vicinity of their homes,” Mariwota, a village elder from the community of Taloa was quoted as saying in a joint report by the Pacific Community and Germany’s federal development agency (GIZ). “They are now ensured a good catch,” he said. Selling by-catch at local markets

Many Pacific islands earn a lot of money selling fishing licenses to foreign shipping companies

The approach also involves pushing foreign fleets, that catch tuna in the region on a large scale, to contribute towards improving the food security of the local population. That`s because it`s not just tuna but also other marine creatures, too small to be processed in canning facilities, that end up in the huge fishing nets. The practice has long been criticized by environmental organizations as well.

The SPC now suggests that this by-catch, that in the past was thrown back in the ocean, should be used to feed the local populace. “We want the fleets to be forced to bring their by-catch to land and sell it in cities here before they return to their home countries with the tuna they’ve caught,” says Johann Bell. Bell also believes that the Pacific islands should reduce the number of fishing licenses handed out to foreign companies. “The island countries should hold onto more of those licenses to feed their own people,” he says. His concept could be especially helpful to the islands that lie further west, like Papua New Guinea and Palau. That`s because climate change is set to affect the distribution of tuna stocks in the region. “Our latest studies have shown that climate change will cause tuna fish to head east and to subtropical regions,” says Bell. He predicts that by the end of the century, the island countries in the west could see their tuna catch shrink by up to a third, while the catch increases in the east. That is why the Pacific islands have come up with the Vessel Day Scheme, or VDS, where vessel owners can buy and trade licenses for days fishing at sea. The scheme helps reduce the amount of tuna catch and more fairly distribute the fish among the participating islands. “Originally, the system was developed so that all the island countries could profit equally from the tuna populations, which have long traveled back and forth in the ocean’s waters,” says Johann Bell. “But it is also a good way to adapt to climate change.”

6/6/2009

INDIGENOUS RESISTANCE AID RISING, BUT EXTREME POVERTY DESTROYS CASH SCAM, LOOTING, KWASO, TARGETING CHINESE WITH OPERATION HIGH VISIBILITY AND 13FT CROCODILE WITH NEW INFLUX OF MYANMAR MUSLIMS AND PAPUA PRISONERS' WATER MARK LAW AMID CORAL TRIANGLE FISH POISONING

The National Council of Women in Papua New Guinea says people of all ages
are dying from starvation, despite the government’s comments that nobody is
lacking food or water.

A haul of skulls and other body parts has been linked to five shipping
containers on the sea bed off the southern Chon Buri province.

A central bank worker in the Solomon Islands may have netted millions of
dollars by depositing old currency notes he was responsible for destroying
into his own bank account. Philip Bobongi was to destroy old and dirty
banknotes but instead had used them to fill his own accounts and accumulate
property and other assets.

A huge crocodile responsible for the deaths of at least seven people has
been caught and put on display on the front of a car in a small Papua New
Guinea town.

The Royal Solomon Islands Police have warned they will be targeting the
illegal trade and drinking of kwaso as well as people going armed in public
without lawful cause.

Bangladesh stepped up vigilance at its border with Myanmar after a fresh
influx of Rohingya Muslims was reported.

US-based Human Rights Watch called on Indonesia to look into the reported
torture and abuse of prisoners in a jail in the province of Papua. Human
Rights Watch singled out brutality by prison guards at the state jail in
Abepura, near the Papua capital of Jayapura.

Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare stated that people in Papua New Guinea
are not short of food or water. The President of the National Council of
Women Scholla Kakas disagrees, saying Catholic Bishops, who work closely
with the community have spoken of how people are actually dying from
starvation. “This is spreading all over the country where there is urban
drift from the rural villages into the urban areas into the towns of Papua
New Guinea. And what is happening in Port Moresby is true; there are people
dying of poverty.”

Some believe the containers hold the bodies of pro-democracy protesters
killed by the army in 1992. Police have said that their divers will examine
them. Rumours have suggested that the bodies were scattered by aircraft
over the jungle or buried at a remote army camp. According to the official
tally, 52 people died when troops opened fire on protesters in Bangkok
during “Black May” in 1992. But victims’ groups say that 357 people are
still missing.

Although police were unable to determine how much had been stolen, the scam
occurred over three years and the total could amount to millions of
dollars. Police also seized cash from the home of Mr Bobongi, who has been
charged with larceny, false pretences and money laundering.

The astonishing ‘trophy’, secured to the vehicle by ropes, was driven
through the town of Madang after it was caught by a team of local youths.
But while the bizarre trip around the town, amid a carnival atmosphere, was
intended to put at ease locals who feared more attacks, the warning went
out that the croc’s mate was still at large.

The commissioner said Operation High Visibility will run again this
weekend. “This operation will feature traffic management, foot and mobile
patrols with a strong focus on black market outlets in Central Honiara,
Point Cruz, the Ba’hai and White River areas. General duties officers and
supporting personnel from other Police units will continue to routinely
target disorderly and criminal behaviour, drinking in public and illegal
trading in kwaso.”

Rohingya refugees have presented problems for several other countries in
the region in recent months, with reports of Thailand putting those who
come by boat back to sea, and others reaching Malaysia and Indonesia and
trying to work illegally. Local residents and media said about 1,000
Rohingya Muslims entered Bangladesh in just the past three days, alleging
increased persecution by Myanmar’s military junta.

“How can the government turn a blind eye to beatings and torture in one of
its prisons? Jakarta needs to put an end to this disgraceful behavior,
punish those responsible and start keeping a close eye on what is happening
there.” Reports of more than two dozen cases of beatings and physical abuse
since Anthonius Ayorbaba, became the prison warden.

The government should send out officers to investigate people’s living
conditions and confirm for themselves that people really are starving to
death. The land below high and low water mark are the beaches or
foreshores, reefs and seabed. “This area of land is significant because it
is where many developments like wharfs and tourist facilities are taking
place.”

“Seventeen years on no significant progress has been made in searching for
the people reported missing,” The military government responsible was
forced to step down but the issue of the killings remains extremely
sensitive in Thailand because they were never fully investigated. “The
person who ordered the mass killing has not been punished, nor have the
others involved … who are still living a happy life, playing golf,
sipping wine and making comments to the media.”

The case was uncovered after central bank workers noticed that large
numbers of old notes were still in circulation. Police are applying to the
courts to freeze Mr Bobongi’s bank accounts and seize several vehicles and
properties. Chinese nationals in Papua New Guinea have been subjected to
attacks and protests for a third straight day, leading police to use tear
gas against rioters.

It is known that seven people have been killed by the 13ft captured croc
but there are fears there were other victims who have vanished from their
villages without trace. The latest victim was a 17-year-old girl who was
grabbed by the crocodile from the banks of the Gum River. Her body was
never found. Fearing that the attacks would continue unless the man-eater
was captured, Madang businessman Samuel Aloi called together a group of
youths whose families had learned the art of capturing crocodiles from
earlier generations.

Police officers will also be checking people they suspect to have concealed
weapons and identifying if they are going armed in public without lawful
cause. “Under existing Statute Law, officers of the RSIPF already have the
right to confiscate weapons from people and seize on suspicion on unlawful
activity, at any time. This is not a new power, our officers will simply be
reinforcing their focus on street crime.”

“They forced us from our homes and threatened to treat us even worse if we
go back,” said Syed Alam, who crossed the Naf river on the border in a
small boat with five family members. “The eviction of Muslims in Rakhine
state … increased in recent weeks after the (Myanmar) military started
clearing space to build an army garrison.” Rakhine borders Bangladesh’s
Cox’s Bazar district. Alam said about 120 families were evicted from his
village, and more were being forced out. “I chose to leave my country as a
last resort.”

The government should replace the prison administration, open the
penitentiary to international monitoring and set up an independent team to
probe the reports of abuse in Abepura prison, which currently has about 230
prisoners, including more than a dozen incarcerated because of their
political activities. Human Rights Watch cited cases that included the
alleged beatings of prisoners for trivial offenses often with the offending
prison guards in a drunken stupor and sometimes leading to serious
injuries.

“Equally because of the significance of this area of land, it is one of the
most contested lands among people. The law that applies to this area of
land is not clear. The ownership and other rights that the people and the
Government may have over this area of land is not clear.”

Relatives presented a letter to the prime minister, who has promised to
investigate. “We ask that the government act quickly on this for the sake
of clarity, We don’t hope for much apart from claiming the bones of our
relatives.” The fishermen have reportedly been making their grisly haul for
several years but were initially reluctant to report it for fear that
organised criminals were involved.

Chinese-owned stores were ransacked in the capital Port Moresby and then in
PNG’s second largest city, Lae. Police intervened in another anti-Chinese
protest in Port Moresby, using tear gas to disperse a riot in a popular
market directed at Chinese businesses. Chinese nationals and businesses in
Port Moresby have beefed up security, some hiring off-duty police as
guards, while many have shut their shops as advised by their embassy. The
trouble in the capital began when an anti-Chinese march attended by 100
people ended in violence and looting.

The team of young men attached a large piece of lamb to a hook and hung it
about 2ft above the surface of the river. Then they lay in wait. At 5am the
crocodile suddenly leapt from the water to grab the meat  – and was snared
on the large hook. The youths hauled it to shore where they managed to kill
it, before it was tied to a four-wheel-drive vehicle. “We decided to put it
on display to show everyone that this big crocodile which has killed so
many people has finally been caught,’ said Mr Aloi as he posed for
photographs with the trophy. It’s a very unusual icon to have on the front
of my car, but I wanted the whole town to see it.”

“Weapons are any item capable of causing injury to another person and
include any small knives, bush knives, clubs, firearms or explosive.
Wrecking implements, screwdriver, iron bars, stones and timber qualify as a
weapon if misused on another.” The punishment for going armed in public – a
misdemeanour offence – was up to the courts but generally fines or prison
terms up to 2 years can apply depending on the circumstances. Long jail
terms apply when serious assaults are proven by the courts.

Bangladeshi officials said some of the Rohingyas stated they feared torture
as they supported the democracy movement of Aung San Suu Kyi, charged with
allegedly harbouring a U.S. citizen in her home while under house arrest.
Bangladesh and Myanmar share a 320 km (200 mile) border, partly demarcated
by the Naf, with frontier guards on both sides keeping an eye on illegal
immigration. Yet the flow of Myanmar refugees has been unabated. The army
had pushed back nearly 300 new entrant Rohingyas recently, increasing
vigilance at the border to prevent the influx of Rohingyas.”

Although the country has the 1995 Law on Rehabilitation, setting out
procedures for prisoners to complain about mistreatment in prison, efforts
to lodge complaints so far have been fruitless and Ayorbaba has been
unwilling to address any abuse complaints. Prisoners and their relatives
often reported incidents of abuse by guards to the Ministry of Justice and
Human Rights, but no action was ever taken. Prisoners say they have stopped
reporting abuses because they lack faith in the system and because they
fear retribution.

Laws introduced and court decisions made before and after independence have
not clarified the position. Neighbouring countries in the region have
diverse laws relating to this area of land. In Samoa this area of land
belongs to the Government. In Vanuatu this area of land is customary land.
In some countries of the region like Fiji, Kiribati, Tuvalu and New Zealand
this area of land belongs to the Government except where customary rights
can be proved to have existed.

Although there are about five containers on the sea bed, they may simply
have fallen off a passing ship. “We have the same curiosity. Why doesn’t
somebody open up these containers and do away with this myth?”  The
director of the National Forensic Science Institute, has been ordered to
investigate but required official clearance before beginning her work.

The Port Moresby police chief has been criticised for allowing the protest
to go ahead, blamed the violence on hooligans. “It was just hooligans
taking advantage of the situation with an emotional build-up. There is
nothing to worry about, as we will continue our patrols and increase
presence on the streets.” In Lae, on the northwest coast, hundreds of men
attacked Chinese nationals and their small businesses across the city.
There were unconfirmed reports of one death and serious injuries to several
looters.

‘We’re planning to operate on it to check for the remains of the young girl
who was killed recently, but we’ll also be sending tissue samples to
Australia for DNA testing in the hope of determining how many other people
it has eaten over the years.’ Mr Aloi said that the crocodile had been seen
in various parts of the Madang waterfront in recent times but no-one had
been able to catch it. ‘This one’s a female and we know that the “husband”
is still at large. We’ve got a warning out to people to remain vigilant and
not to rest on their laurels just because this one’s been caught.’

“Police seek the public’s cooperation and understanding in these random
searches for weapons and enquiries. We are trying to reduce the risk of
drunken fights turning into fatalities. If someone has fair cause to be
carrying a bush knife around town and are not intending harm to others,
they have nothing to fear from police. If you are out to cause trouble,
that’s another matter.”

The Rohingyas might be trying to use the recent turmoil in Myanmar over Suu
Kyi’s trial as a pretext to leave. More than 21,000 Rohingyas have been
living in two Cox’s Bazar camps, run by the U.N. High Commissioner for
Refugees, since early 1992, when some 250,000 Rohingyas fled to Bangladesh.

“The Indonesian government needs to replace the Abepura prison management.
But this is not just a failure of one prison warden. It’s a failure of
Jakarta to set proper standards and enforce them.” Access to Papua has been
strictly limited. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has also ordered the
International Committee of the Red Cross to close its field office in
Jayapura. The ICRC ran sanitation projects in Papua and also visited
detainees, including political prisoners, in Abepura prison.

The review will consider how the law could deal with the competing rights
of land owners and the public benefits that any sustainable development
will bring to the people. The Commission encourages people, offices, and
institutions to make submissions or have their say on how the law should
change to deal with this area of land.

Australia’s foreign aid program will focus on health, education and food
security in the region to alleviate the “enormous human cost” of the global
financial crisis. The Government affirmed it would raise aid levels to 0.5
per cent of gross national income by 2015-16, though next year’s rise will
be minuscule, from 0.33 to 0.34 per cent – amounting to spending of $3.8
billion. These levels keep Australia in the bottom half of aid donors among
developed countries and fall far short of a long-held promise to raise aid
to 0.7 per cent of GNI.

Unnamed youths involved in the Lae attacks complained Asian small-business
owners were “ripping us off”. “Who is allowing these Asians to come into
our country and own small businesses which should be owned by Papua New
Guineans? They are ripping us off and investing their money in their
country.” Earlier in the week, PNG workers clashed with management at the
Chinese-run Ramu nickel mine in Madang Province, on the northeast coast,
after a tractor injured a worker. PNG’s Chinese community began with
immigration in the late 19th century, but local resentment has grown as an
influx of “new Chinese” have slowly taken over small businesses like trade
stores and food shops in the past 15 years. Many in PNG feel squeezed out
and complain about working for ruthless Chinese bosses who impose tough
conditions. Allegations of a rise in Chinese organised crime and corruption
involving PNG officials has also added to community anger. It is estimated
the Chinese population in PNG now outnumbers Australians by more than two
to one.

Scientists have come up with a theory that attributes the historic
migrations of the Polynesians from the Cook islands to New Zealand, Easter
Island and Hawaii in the 11th to 15th centuries, to fish poisoning. Based
on archeological evidence, paleoclimatic data and modern reports of
ciguatera poisoning, some theorize that ciguatera outbreaks were linked to
climate and that the consequent outbreaks prompted historical migrations of
Polynesians.

Threatening violence, challenging another person to a fight, fighting in a
public place, and going armed in public are all existing offences under the
Penal Code of the Solomon Islands. The Police officers would continue to
work closely with government and community leaders to reduce kwaso-related
crime in Honiara and other communities. “Recent stabbings at the weekend
are not an indication that crime is one the rise in the Solomon Islands.
Statistics on reported crime to the RSIPF actually show a significant drop,
with crime down 20% across the Solomon Islands.”

The Rohingyas allege persecution by the military in what was then Burma,
but the UNHCR managed to send most of them back within a short time. The
rest refused to return and the U.N. agency says they cannot force anyone to
go back against their will. Cox’s Bazar officials say more then 200,000
Rohingyas live outside the camps, mixing with local Muslims who have an
almost common language. Muslims are a minority in Myanmar, where most of
the population is Buddhist.

Human Rights Watch said that international monitors such as the ICRC and
independent human rights groups should be able to visit prisoners in
Abepura to investigate reports of abuse. Papua has seen a low-level
separatist movement since the 1960s but pro-independence sentiments have
been on the rise in the face of perceived injustice in the economy and
alleged abuses by security forces in their drive to rid the province of
separatism. The UN special rapporteur for torture visited Indonesia and
found that police used torture as a “routine practice in Jakarta and other
metropolitan areas of Java.”

About 100 million people living on Australia’s doorstep could be forced to
leave their homeland due to climate change this century. Australia will
have a key role in avoiding ecological and humanitarian disaster in what is
called the Coral Triangle – the marine area including Indonesia, Malaysia,
the Philippines, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands and East Timor.
Failure to take effective action on climate change will diminish the food
supply drawn from the area’s coasts by up to 80 per cent.

The federal budget paper on aid, A Good International Citizen, said the
economic slowdown would reverse a four-year reduction in the number of
people living in extreme poverty. An extra 90 million people – including 62
million in Asia – are expected to live in extreme poverty this year.
Countries that will receive the largest aid allocations are Indonesia ($453
million), Papua New Guinea ($414 million) and the Solomon Islands ($246
million). The Pacific will surpass East Asia as the biggest regional
recipient as the Rudd Government focuses on assisting the neighbourhood and
preventing an outbreak of failing island states.

The Indigenous Resistance dub attitude can be, by turns, either a
burn-down-Babylon fiery dub or a self-reflexive, meditative dub. The label
releases Bogota’s DJ Rodrigo’s new take on crucial tracks from the IR
archive in two formats; the full 48 minute head-tripping mix and as
individual tracks-all available through iTunes and Believe digital of
France.

Ciguatera poisoning is a food-borne disease that can come from eating
large, carnivorous reef fish, and causes vomiting, headaches, and a burning
sensation upon contact with cold surfaces. It is known that the historic
populations of Cook Islanders was heavily reliant on fish as a source of
protein, and the scientists suggest that once their fish resources became
inedible, voyaging became a necessity. Modern Cook Islanders, though
surrounded by an ocean teeming with fish, don’t eat fish as a regular part
of their diet but instead eat processed, imported foods. In the late 1990s,
lower-income families who could not afford processed foods emigrated to New
Zealand and Australia. Past migrations had similar roots. The heightened
voyaging from A.D. 1000 to 1450 in eastern Polynesia was likely prompted by
ciguatera fish poisoning. There were few options but to leave once the
staple diet of an island nation became poisonous. This approach brings us a
step closer to solving the mysteries of ciguatera and the storied
Polynesian native migrations. It will lead to better forecasting and
planning for ciguatera outbreaks.

Under the worst-case scenario the ecology of the region would be destroyed
by rises in ocean temperature, acidity and sea level. Poverty increases,
food security plummets, economies suffer and coastal people migrate
increasingly to urban areas. Tens of millions of people are forced to move
from rural and coastal settings due to loss of homes, food resources and
income, putting pressure on regional cities and surrounding developed
nations such as Australia and New Zealand. Even under a best-case scenario,
the region will lose coral and have to deal with higher seas, more frequent
storms, droughts and less food from coastal fisheries. Large cuts in
greenhouse emissions and international financial support for the region’s
environment are needed. It is in Australia’s interest to invest early to
help avoid the worst-case scenario.

Woven throughout this new mix you will hear indigenous voices and chants
collected by Indigenous Resistance from all over the world: the Malaitai
from Solomon Islands, the Krikati indians from Brasil, traditional Cree
chants from Turtle Island, traditional instruments from Sosolakam and
Solomon Islands embedded into tracks recorded in Jamaica, the U.K, Germany,
Solomon Islands, Sosolakam, Brasil, Colombia, Cuba & Turtle Island. IR’s
eclectic production techniques pulls together producers with different
styles and methods to create their releases. This is especially evident on
the full IR18 where DJ Rodrigo deftly maneuvers successfully through the
many genres, which include: Drum N Bass, Jungle, Detroit Techno, Electro,
Big Beat, Dub, Reggae, House and the multi-ethnic stew (breakbeat, dub,
dancehall, ragga) of Dr Das and Asian Dub Foundation (which some pile
together into the term of World Beat) and the punk and hardcore sound of
knob-twirler extraordinaire, Ramjac. As a matter of course, IR travels the
globe working with pockets of Indigenous Resistance in the Fourth World to
get their messages out from behind the propaganda machines that deny them
the freedom of the press. Through free releases and downloads, and funded
by sales of albums through CD Baby, iTunes and Believe Digital, IR has set
up a campaign to send these tracks back into the indigenous communities as
well as back out to the world to fall on sympathetic ears. IR utilizes any
means necessary to get the music and messages heard passed the restrictive
regimes that keep the indigenous down and disenfranchised.

$464 million will be spent over the next four years on food security to
alleviate the impact of shortages, volatile prices, increased consumption,
climate change and the use of crops to produce bio-fuels. Programs will
focus on helping communities to improve their farming and fisheries
management. The biggest boost is to education, which will receive $690
million this year and focus on improving participation rates and teaching
quality. The Government will also extend links between aid and the
performance of partner countries.

Four looters were shot as Papua New Guinean (PNG) police was on high alert
to clamp down on the Anti-Asia sentiment across the country. Since the
weekend, four men were shot as police tried to stop the ongoing violence
directed at Asian-run stores in the Highlands region. One Southern
Highlands man was shot in Mount Hagen. Another Southern Highlander, who was
shot by police, could lose one of his legs after being smashed by a bullet.
Police in Goroka shot a 20-year-old man who was also likely to lose a leg,
as police tried to control thousands of people that went on a rampage and
looted several shops in the town. In Lae, one man was shot in the leg by
police. Police in the Highlands have gone on full alert, keeping
surveillance over Goroka, Mount Hagen, Kainantu and Wabag as hundreds of
people converged in the region and broke into shops operated by families of
Korean and Chinese origins. Most Asian-run shops remained closed in the
Highlands with armed security guards. Meanwhile, trouble makers on streets
attempted to loot those shops again.

11/14/2008

INFERTILE YAM DISASTER BEFORE RISING TOURISM SEAS?

For Kiribati, the threat of submergence because of sea level rise seems
distant when compared to the range of potentially disastrous ecological and
economic problems it is faced with in the short-term.

There are many staple foods in the Solomon Islands many however prefer yam,
or uvi, as it is known in Guadalcanal.

The cost of treating infertile couples has halved with the launch of a new
programme expected to become one of the vanguard methods of addressing
Kenya’s high infertility rates.

The alarm bells of sea level rise as a result of global warming and climate
change—brought centrestage in no small measure by the 2006 documentary film
‘An Inconvenient Truth’— catapulted the world’s low-lying atoll nations to
the front pages of the global media.

According to the World Bank, tourism is the largest and the fastest
developing industry in the world today.

In the Pacific, Kiribati, Tuvalu and the Marshall Islands have been
perceived as the most threatened.

Yams are a primary agricultural commodity in the Solomon Islands, and have
been used extensively prior to the colonization of the Islands.

Nairobi-based Aga Khan University Hospital said it has achieved its first
two pregnancies using the new treatment and that many more were in the
pipeline.

The amount of tourists having visited other countries has become 4.5%
higher and reached 842 million people as compared to 2005.

Over the past few years, these countries have been the focus of much
research by the world’s scientists to find definitive answers relating to
their impending submergence.

This essentially means that they were brought to the Solomon Islands by our
early ancestors.

Latest University of Nairobi statistics show that almost a quarter of
Kenyan men and nearly a fifth of women are infertile with the majority
unaware of their condition.

In Kiribati alone, two small islets have been submerged by rising sea
levels. Everything one has heard and read about Kiribati being a nation
that is supposed to be among the early victims of sea level rise, that may
not even survive the next few decades rings true as the jet approaches the
runway at Bonriki Airport on Tarawa, Kiribati’s capital.

According to the information given by Washington Profile, the largest
tourist inflow has been marked in Southern Asia and become 10% higher as
compared to 2005.

It is used for important ceremonial events such as reconciliation, weddings
or feasts to show ones status.

Until recently, there was almost nothing that could be done to help them.

India is the most attractive country for foreign travellers. A remarkable
growth – 8.1% has been noted in Africa.

The extreme vulnerability of this ribbon-like string of atolls in the
middle of the world’s largest ocean becomes apparent as their fraying edges
constantly battered by the tides come into view.

A simple Google search show that yams were first cultivated in Africa and
Asia about 8000 B.C.

Hospitals have since last year been racing to introduce wider and cheaper
In-Vitro Fertilisation (IVF) programmes, in a bid to open a route to
child-bearing for the infertile.

The retaining walls at the far end of the runway have been reduced to
rubble because of the relentless onslaught of the waves.

A remarkable growth – 8.1% has been noted in Africa. Most foreign tourists
have visited SAR, Kenya and Morocco. In countries of Asian-Pacific area the
number of tourists has become 7.6% higher, and in Europe – 4% higher.

The drive down the one single road that runs through the 30-odd kilometre
length of the atolls that form Tarawa — never more than a couple of hundred
metres at their widest and strung together by a series of two-lane
causeways — is marked with sights of crumbling sea walls and mounds of
refuse lining the coastline in several places.

In the Solomon Islands, where refrigerators are not yet a common household
item, yams are very important since they can be stored for up to six months
without refrigeration.

However, in Kenya, the first IVF baby was born just 18 months ago, under a
pioneer treatment priced at Sh300,000.

Along the lagoon to the west, acres of coconut trees shorn of both frond
and fruit stand mute testimony to the encroaching salt water and
lengthening periods of drought that the atolls have faced in recent years.

In countries of Asian-Pacific area the number of tourists has become 7.6%
higher, and in Europe – 4% higher

Further down at Betio, the southernmost point on Tarawa, one sees
overcrowding that is so unusual for Pacific islands — and of course
poverty.

“We usually cook them very early in the morning, we store some for later in
the day and some for the kids to take to school,” said Lilly Vale, a mother
of two young kids who resides near the Poha area in West Guadalcanal.

Sea level rise not the only problem Increased global awareness of climate
change and sea level rise and the rash of alarmism that has predicted their
impending submergence have tended to portray these as the biggest problem
faced by the 33-island nation straddling the equator across three time
zones.

The huge need for better access to the treatment has seen two hospitals,
Nairobi and now Aga Khan, as well as two clinics introduce the procedure.

Despite the intense scrutiny of the scientific establishment, the interest
of ecologists and aid agencies as well as the glare of the global media,
islanders’ opinion on the submergence issue is sharply divided — and for
all sorts of reasons ranging from anecdotal and experiential evidence on
both sides of the argument, through religious beliefs, to downright
cynicism.

Most foreign tourists have visited SAR, Kenya and Morocco. In countries of
Asian-Pacific area the number of tourists has become 7.6% higher, and in
Europe – 4% higher.

President Anote Tong, the London School of economics-educated head of
state, is understandably cautious: “I am not suggesting and have never
suggested that the islands are sinking because of the rise in sea levels,”
he says. “But there is no doubt we are increasingly facing the effects of
climate change in many ways.”

“We cook them over hot stones… we keep the stones hot throughout the day
just to keep the yam hot.”

We have only started this year and so far we’ve handled two patients, one
in April and one in August both of whom are pregnant,” said Dr Praful S.
Patel, a senior lecturer at the hospital and an expert in IVF.

Germany which was the site of World Cup has become a leader here. Tourism
industry in the Near East has obtained the same result.

In fact, recent sea level data analyses suggest that the danger of
submergence for Kiribati’s atolls—unlike the neighbouring atoll nation of
Tuvalu — is no longer as immediate as was estimated earlier (estimates of
20 to 50 years have now been stretched to more like 80 to 100 years).
Though increased erosion, a greater frequency of higher tides and longer
periods of drought may be a direct result of climate change (just as
similar phenomena have affected other parts of the world, including the
frequent hurricanes in the United States), submergence is no longer the
immediate, central issue.

Lilly says that leftovers are often wrapped in banana leaves and stored in
the kitchen, normally a leaf hut separate from the main house.

These first pregnancies have put Aga Khan Hospital ahead of its peers in
success rates.

The amount of tourists having visited Southern and Northern American
countries became just 2% higher in 2006.

Yet, in actual fact, the country may be faced with a wide range of far
worse and far more urgent potential disasters than sea level rise — though
climate change may well be playing the role of a catalyst in many of these
looming problems.

Lilly says that her family will continue to consume yam even though many in
the village seem to prefer rice nowadays.

But from there, only about a third of IVF fertilised embryos lead to a
confirmed pregnancy.

Such low rates are connected with reducing of tourists visiting Canada and
Mexico.

“I just think that it is healthier, I have noticed many of the villagers
getting sick when they switch to rice and tinned food… our grandparents
lived healthy lives until they were very old, most depended only on yam and
sea food.”

The success rate in Kenya has so far been higher than that.

According to the information provided by the World Tourism And Travel
Council, 8.3% of world’s working places, 9.3% of international investments,
12% of exports and 3.6% of world internal gross product account for a share
of tourism and its branches.

Over the past decade or so, Tarawa has faced fiercer and more frequent
storms, higher tides and longer droughts. Several residents pointed out
that the westerly winds that ushered in the wet season around December had
virtually disappeared in the past seven years, resulting in longer dry
periods and erratic and far less frequent wet spells.

Dietitians would agree with Lilly since Yams are high in Vitamin C and
Vitamin B6.

The real obstacle for couples, however, has been cost. In Kenya, this
treatment has been pioneered by the likes of Dr Praful S Patel and Dr
Joshua Noreh of the Nairobi IVF clinic, who delivered Kenya’s first test
tube baby just over one-and-a-half years ago.

Tourists spend 10.2% of all means expended by world consumers. An average
tourist having visited Europe has made an income at amount of $790 (for
Eastern Europe and European Republics of the Former USSR this rate is
$370).

This has resulted in large-scale migration from the smaller outer islands
to Tarawa, particularly to Betio, where the population density at about 111
per square kilometre compares with that of Hong Kong, making it the densest
urban agglomeration in the Pacific islands. In the past five years alone,
the population is thought to have grown by as much as 20,000 on that narrow
strip of land. With almost no sewerage system, not just groundwater but
even the surrounding lagoon is contaminated and travel advisories warn
strongly against swimming in the lagoon or drinking well water.

This means that yams are high in potassium and low in sodium which is
likely to produce a good potassium-sodium balance in the human body, and so
protect against osteoporosis and heart diseases.

In its first two years of availability in Kenya, IVF has been priced at
more than Sh300,000 per treatment. Aga Khan is now offering IVF for an
average Sh150,000, opening the cheapest route yet for childless couples.

For the USA and Canada the income from a tourist is $1190, for Asia – $890,
for Africa – $590, for The Near East – $710.

The local hospital (manned mostly by Cuban doctors) has been registering
increasing cases of enteric disorders. Housing in Betio resembles
shantytowns in other parts of the world—and without adequate garbage
disposal systems, waste accumulates on the shoreline. In some places around
Tarawa, this is simply burnt, compacted and used as a base for reclaiming
land.

Almost 80% of foreign tourists come from European and Southern American
countries. Eastern Asia, Australia and New Zealand supply approximately 15%
of tourists.

The only source of freshwater on these remote atolls is rainwater and
because of the unfortunate combination of a fast growing population and low
rainfall, groundwater reserves have been depleting faster than in previous
years. Also, newly sunk bore wells pump out water faster than the rate at
which it percolates, leaving the population facing serious freshwater
shortages — which is expected to only get worse in time to come.

10/10/2008

Fiscal Crisis: Migrating Global Spiritual Mess

The crisis is not Euro-centric as it is made out to be. It is global.
The crisis does not seem to affect Asia as much as human life is cheap
fodder in that segment of humanity.

The crisis is also not materialistic or fiscal as made out to be, it
is a spiritual crisis.

There seems to be no solution to the spiritual crisis from the
Eurocentric point of view with the deepest aspects and values of
Christianity having been denied and defaced consistently. Even as
the Judaic notion of Just Law and the Greek philosophical notions
of Quality and Moderation have been chucked into the dustbin of
militarism and consumerism.

As for the Asiatic spiritual solutions, they are multiple, mostly
kaleidoscopic odds and ends, throwbacks to primitivism and animism
and irrationalism or simply prescriptive of treating all crises as
illusion or delusion and reducing the task of salvation to yet another
selfish point of indulgence.

There seems no way out of the global spiritual mess all of which is
finally centred in the “self” of each individual, each tribe, each
ethnic group, each nation and any other human configuration you might
want to name.

Avy

•••

ENVIRONMENT:
Crises Likely to Spur Mass Migrations

As climate change, sea-level rise, earthquakes and floods threaten countries such as Bangladesh, Tuvalu, Vietnam and Tajikistan, the Tokyo-based U.N. University (UNU) warns that by 2050, some 200 million people will be displaced by environmental problems.

This estimated figure is roughly equal to two-thirds of the current population in the United States or the combined population of Britain, France, Italy and the Netherlands.

“All indicators show that we are dealing with a major emerging global problem,” says Janos Bogardi, director of UNU’s Institute on the Environment and Human Security.

The issue of migration, he points out, represents the most profound expression of the inter-linkage between the environment and human security.

Unlike the traditional economically-motivated migrants of today, the environmentally-motivated migration is expected to feature poorer people, more women, children and elderly, from more desperate environmental situations, and possibly less able to move far.

A group of experts who did a two-year research study points out that existing human trafficking networks would gain strength and new ones could emerge as environmental deterioration, climate change and disaster uproot millions of people.

In Bangladesh, women with children, whose husbands either died at sea during cyclone Sidr or are away as temporary labour migrants, are easy prey for traffickers and end up in prostitution networks or in forced labour in India.

Bangladesh is also often considered “the country that could be most affected by climate change” due to projected sea-level rise and flooding from melting Himalayan glaciers. It is also heavily affected by sudden disasters, such as cyclones.

According to preliminary findings, Bangladesh may lose up to one-fifth of its surface area due to rising sea level. And this scenario is likely to occur, if the sea level rises by one metre and no dyke enforcement measures are taken.

Asked if there should be an international treaty to protect the new breed of environmental migrants, Bogardi told IPS: “Yes, there should be a convention or set of treaties and formal recognition of people displaced or migrating due to environmental causes.”

However, he said, such a treaty should be independent of the 1951 Geneva Convention relating to the Status of Refugees.

The new refugees will also come from countries such as the Maldives, Tuvalu, Kiribati, and Palau: small islands in danger of being wiped off the face of the earth due to sea level rise triggered by climate change.

“An entirely different question is how to deal with the disappearance of a state? This is a legal question and international lawyers have already been contemplating ‘solutions’ like governments [in permanent] exile or the model of the Sovereign Order of Malta,” said Bogardi.

“While the submergence of an entire state is unique, we expect that the humanitarian [and economic] challenge [measured by the number of people affected] will be much greater in the deltas of Bangladesh, the Nile River, Mekong River or even the Rhine and Mississippi Rivers, than in small island states,” he added.

A three-day conference on environmental migrants, described as the largest ever conference on this issue, is expected to conclude next weekend in Bonn, Germany.

Hosted by UNU, the conference, which is being attended by officials and experts from about 80 countries, also serves as a platform to introduce the fledgling Climate Change Environment and Migration Alliance (CCEMA).

Meanwhile, addressing the high-level segment of the General Assembly sessions last month, the vice president of Palau, Elias Camsek Chin, told member states they must be guided by a single consideration: “Saving those small island states that today live in danger of disappearance.”

Palau and members of the Pacific Islands Forum, including Kiribati, Marshall Islands and Micronesia, “are deeply concerned about the growing threat which climate change poses not only to our sustainable development but also to our future survival,” Chin said.

“This is a security matter which has gone un-addressed,” he warned the General Assembly.

James Michel, the president of Seychelles, a tiny island in the Indian Ocean, said: “It is not right that small island states have to run the risk of being submerged by rising sea levels, whilst some nations refuse to even acknowledge their responsibility for the high levels of environmental pollution which are now threatening the planet’s resources.”

Kiribati’s President Anote Tong told the General Assembly his country has only several decades before its islands become uninhabitable. The 100,000 people in his country must one day move elsewhere, he said.

Asked if any of the countries neighbouring these small island states have expressed their willingness to accommodate the new migrants, Bogardi told IPS: “There is no recognition [yet] of environmentally [forced] migrants, hence there is no specific expression of obligation to let in migrants who migrate due to sea level rise, frequent storm surges or other such environmental events.”

“It is one of our main goals to establish and have accepted three categories of environmental migrants [namely, environmentally motivated migrants, environmentally forced migrants and environmental emergency migrants],” he said.

The latter category of environmental emergency migrants would account for those displaced by natural hazard events like earthquakes, hurricanes, tsunamis etc.

Bogardi said the frequently reported Tuvalu-New Zealand deal on migrants does not refer to accepting migrants for environmental reasons but rather New Zealand providing a labour migration quota for people from Tuvalu through its Pacific Access Category migration programme.

Asked about the possible extinction of some of the low-lying small island states, Bogardi said some small island states could face “disappearance” in the case of more extreme sea level rise than expected in benchmark reports such as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fourth Assessment Report (AR4).

Even if sea level rise exceeds expectations, he pointed out, the process is likely to be gradual over decades.

“Increasing sea level would threaten coastal aquifers, thus feasible life and economic activities would diminish much before the islands would disappear,” he said. Consequently, he added, “we expect migratory trends to emerge” or be stronger than at present in the years and decades to come.

“In summary, we expect depopulation as an ultimate coping measure to be implemented gradually before the physical disappearance of those islands. Time scale is decades, if not centuries.”

10/8/2008

Petrol crisis escalates in the Pacific

Filed under: global islands,new zealand,resource,tuvalu,vanuatu — admin @ 1:15 pm

New Zealand has stepped in to try to stall a crisis as Pacific countries struggle to pay their fuel bills.

New Zealand has paid for petrol experts to find an answer to the crisis amid concern that rioting could erupt in New Zealand if the crisis makes its way here.

“We haven’t seen instability arise because of rising fuel prices in the region yet, but it is something we are continuing to monitor closely,” NZ Foreign Affairs spokesman Mark Talbot says.

The Marshall Islands is under an economic state of emergency because they cannot pay for their next fuel shipment, with other islands not far behind.

“In my view it is dire; it is critical,” Jared Morris of the Pacific Islands forum says.

Most Pacific countries get their power via generators but diesel costs are also soaring.

Edward Vrkic from the Pacific Islands Forum says there are implications for keeping public services going, such as schools and hospitals.

Some islands are spending up to 70% of their gross national income on petrol subsidies so power stations can continue to supply electricity. To save costs they are preparing to bulk buy fuel and sharing high transport costs.

While Niue and Tuvalu have the highest prices in the region, Cook Islanders are paying up to $3.15 a litre.

“Our geographical location is one of the major factors that have contributed to high fuel prices. It has fallen hard on the people of Niue,” says George Valiana.

9/30/2008

NZ official: Melanesian states still suffering

Corruption, disease and poverty threaten the futures of Melanesian countries that are home to 85 percent of Pacific Islands people, a top New Zealand official said Tuesday.

The populations of Fiji, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu are rising at a pace that is outstripping economic growth, Pacific Island Affairs Minister Winnie Laban said at the opening of a symposium on Melanesia in the New Zealand capital, Wellington.

The countries also suffer from youth unemployment, law-and-order “problems,” and adverse effects of global warming, Laban said. All these conditions together represent a “toxic mix” undermining growth and stability in these countries, she said.

“In combination, these factors pose clear and present danger to the ability of states in the region to provide for their people and ensure national viability,” Laban said at the event, sponsored by the Pacific Cooperation Foundation.

HIV, AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis are a brake on the region’s potential, while education trends are also troubling, she said.

Four years of communal fighting in the Solomon Islands have left education services “in tatters,” with only 70 percent of children able to access limited education, Laban said.

“To be blunt, corruption seems endemic and undermines governance at almost every turn,” she said.

Melanesian countries play a major role in the Pacific tuna fishery, currently worth around US$3 billion a year. But overfishing of a number of tuna species means reductions in catches are urgently required to preserve the industry’s sustainability, she said.

Laban praised Melanesian countries New Guinea, Vanuatu and Solomon Islands for maintaining a unified front in pressuring Fiji’s military government to honor its pledge to hold elections by March 2009.

Melanesian leaders last month joined other Pacific Islands’ Forum states in expressing disappointment at Fiji’s delays in restoring a democratic government.

NZ official: Melanesian states still suffering

Corruption, disease and poverty threaten the futures of Melanesian countries that are home to 85 percent of Pacific Islands people, a top New Zealand official said Tuesday.

The populations of Fiji, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu are rising at a pace that is outstripping economic growth, Pacific Island Affairs Minister Winnie Laban said at the opening of a symposium on Melanesia in the New Zealand capital, Wellington.

The countries also suffer from youth unemployment, law-and-order “problems,” and adverse effects of global warming, Laban said. All these conditions together represent a “toxic mix” undermining growth and stability in these countries, she said.

“In combination, these factors pose clear and present danger to the ability of states in the region to provide for their people and ensure national viability,” Laban said at the event, sponsored by the Pacific Cooperation Foundation.

HIV, AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis are a brake on the region’s potential, while education trends are also troubling, she said.

Four years of communal fighting in the Solomon Islands have left education services “in tatters,” with only 70 percent of children able to access limited education, Laban said.

“To be blunt, corruption seems endemic and undermines governance at almost every turn,” she said.

Melanesian countries play a major role in the Pacific tuna fishery, currently worth around US$3 billion a year. But overfishing of a number of tuna species means reductions in catches are urgently required to preserve the industry’s sustainability, she said.

Laban praised Melanesian countries New Guinea, Vanuatu and Solomon Islands for maintaining a unified front in pressuring Fiji’s military government to honor its pledge to hold elections by March 2009.

Melanesian leaders last month joined other Pacific Islands’ Forum states in expressing disappointment at Fiji’s delays in restoring a democratic government.

9/29/2008

Small Island States and Global Challenges

Filed under: cuba,global islands,png,resource,solomon islands,tuvalu,vanuatu — admin @ 4:32 pm

In the era of neoliberal globalization, the large centers of World power, headed by the United States and Europe, often forget the needs and problems of the small island states, whose physical existence is threatened by phenomenons for which they are not responsible.

These small and vulnerable islands, from the Caribbean or South Pacific for example, are seriously threatened by global challenges such as climate change, natural disasters, and problems of development, scarce energy resources or food crises.

It is no secret that these groups of States suffer from geographic isolation, communications and transportation problems.

Even between themselves they are separated by thousands of kilometers, making contacts difficult.

But without a doubt, the main challenge for these small territories are climate changes, as they are more susceptible to suffering the consequences derived from global warming, among them the alarming rise of sea level.

Archipelagos like Kiribati and Tuvalu run the risk of disappearing in the near future if the pace of the rise of sea level continues.

Cuba is also not exempt from these dangers, like the recent devastation inflicted by two hurricanes.

This is why it is necessary for an exchange of information and cooperation among the group of small nations to help each other in facing the challenges of nature and the environment.

On the other hand, Cuba, lacking financial resources and economically blockaded by the US government, has international recognition for its vocation to internationalism and solidarity not to contribute leftovers, but shares what it has, mainly its well prepared human capital encouraged throughout the last 50 years.

An example of these fraternal ties is the creation of a School of Medicine in the western province of Pinar del Rio for the training of 400 students from the South Pacific, of which 64 have already enrolled (25 from the Solomon Islands, 20 from Kiribati, 2 from Nauru and 17 from Vanuatu).

Also, Cuban medical brigades are offering their services in Kiribati, the Solomon and Vanuatu Islands, through the General Health Program, while details are being ironed out for the implementation of health cooperation with Tuvalu, Nauru and Papua New Guinea.

An exemplary cooperation, which is a clear revelation, without conditions and on an equal basis.

9/22/2008

Fertility Rate Alarming

Filed under: disease/health,fiji,philippines,tuvalu — admin @ 4:12 am

The United Nations Fund for Population Development has revealed that Fiji is rated in the same category as the Philippines and Tuvalu in terms of teenage fertility and this is an alarming rate as young mothers are at high risk of losing their babies or their lives.

Fiji, the Philippines and Tuvalu fertility rate is currently at 40 percent, with the young mothers likely to lose their babies or their lives through their young age or through the lack of qualified professionals especially in developing countries.

Following concerns about the shortage of nurses and doctors, UNFPA Sub Regional Director, Najib Assifi said the shortage should not be taken lightly as the matter concerns lives.

The Fiji School of Medicine had recently started their Reproductive Health Training Programme where Acting Dean Robert Mould said that they are trying to address the issue of having trained professionals to attend to births.

9/16/2008

Tok Pisin = English

tok baksait = gossip about
tok bilas = ridicule
tok bilong bipo yet = fable / myth
tok bilong ol tumbuna = tradition of ancestors
tok bokis = secret language / parable
tok grisim = flatter
tok gude = greet
tok gumi = tall tale
tok hait = secret
tok insait = conscience
tok pait = controversy
tok ples = local language
tok tru = speak the truth / truth
toktok = talk / conversation
tokautim sin / confess
tokim = tell
toksave = advertisement / information / explain
tok save long = explain
toktok long = talk about
toktok wantaim = converse with
tokwin = rumour

6/6/2008

Pacific population nears 9.5 million

Filed under: fiji,General,global islands,palau,png,solomon islands,tuvalu,vanuatu — admin @ 4:56 am

The population of the Pacific is set to reach nearly 9.5 million by the middle of this year.

New data from the Secretariat of the Pacific Community shows the region’s population is growing by 1.9 per cent a year, or 500 people a day.

The population estimates are compiled by the Secretariat from country statistics.

The report predicts the population of Melanesia will grow to more than eight-point-three million people, Polynesia to more than 655,000 and Micronesia more than 530,000 by mid-year.

The largest individual country population is that of Papua New Guinea, which has an estimated six-point-five million people, followed by Fiji with nearly 840,000.

The smallest is Pitcairn Island with just 66 people.

Predictably, the fastest-growing population is that of Guam, where thousands of American troops are being relocated from Japan.

Both Niue and the Northern Marianas are experiencing a decrease in residents, the latter because of the lack of jobs.

4/28/2008

Ellice Islands

Filed under: global islands,tuvalu — admin @ 4:19 am

Tuvalu was also known as Ellice Islands. It is situated in the Pacific Ocean somewhere between Australia and Hawaii. It is the third least populated country in the world. Tuvalu consists of nine land masses which is circular shaped and is found in the central region of the Pacific Ocean.

Among these nine islands, three are bigger and six smaller in size. There are some 129 islets found here. The nine islands are Niutao, Funafuti, Nukufetau, Nanumaga, Niulakita, Nanumea, Nukulaelae, Nui andVaitupu. Here the soil is not suitable for agriculture and the water bodies are landlocked. Lagoons are very common at this place.

Tuvalu has a tropical climate. Precipitation is very much regular and the islands are full of water. There are some fishes and sea plants which are found in the oceans surrounding it. Coconut Palms and pandanus is found in the water bodies surrounding it. The Polynesian rat is the only native animal to be found in the island. The other animals are pigs, dogs and cats. Tourism is one of the major industries in the country and for the right reasons too. People from all over the world visit this beautiful country to see the beautiful beaches.

The beautiful beach at Funafuti attracts many visitors who come here to rejuvenate themselves by sun bathing on the shores. The Polynesian people on the island are very friendly and any tourist visiting the island will surely spend a day in the beautiful surroundings that the Polynesian ethnic people live in. The island is famous for the smallness of the land area and the vastness of the ocean. The island also has many lagoons and smaller island which add to the unique ambience of the island of Tuvalu.

The Funafuti conservation area spread over an area of 33 square kilometres is something that visitors should not miss at all. It includes beautiful reefs, channel and six uninhabited islets. All these attractions of the Funafuti conservation area attract tourists from all over the world. If you are looking for a piece of history then Tuvalu has that too. During the World War 2, the American forces built an airbase on the Northeastern side of Nanumea which is a major tourist attraction today. The drilling site of scientists on the island of Funafuti is another attraction. The site was created by scientists to prove Darwin’s theory of atolls. The Tuvalu Philatelic Bureau is another attraction that tourists do not want to miss out on while on a visit to this country. Stamps which depict various facets of the Tuvalu history are available with the Philatelic bureau.

If you are visiting Tuvalu, do not miss the traditional dance of the Polynesian ethnics. The national game of the country is te ano and taking part in one of the games is something that many tourists do.

3/29/2008

U.N. human rights body turns to climate change

GENEVA – Climate change could erode the human rights of people living in small island states, coastal areas and parts of the world subjected to drought and floods, the U.N. Human Rights Council said on Friday.

In its first consideration of the issue, the 47-member forum endorsed a resolution stressing that global warming threatens the livelihoods and welfare of many of the world’s most vulnerable people.

The proposal from the Maldives, Comoros, Tuvalu, Micronesia and other countries called for “a detailed analytical study of the relationship between climate change and human rights”, to be conducted by the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, headed by Louise Arbour.

“Until now, the global discourse on climate change has tended to focus on the physical or natural impacts of climate change,” the Maldives’ ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva, Abdul Ghafoor Mohamed, told the session.

“The immediate and far-reaching impact of the phenomenon on human beings around the world has been largely neglected,” he said. “It is time to redress this imbalance by highlighting the human face of climate change.”

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has made the fight against climate change one of his top priorities, and encouraged all U.N. agencies to incorporate it into their work.

Experts say global warming could cause rising sea levels and intense storms, droughts and floods which would restrict access to housing, food and clean water for millions of people.

The Human Rights Council, which wraps up its latest four-week session in Geneva on Friday, also agreed to appoint an independent expert to assess countries’ human rights obligations linked to safe drinking water and sanitation.

Under the resolution introduced by Germany and Spain, that expert will clarify what can be done to stop discrimination in their provision.

“This issue is very important for quite a large number of people,” Doru Romulus Costea, Romania’s ambassador who serves as council president, told a news briefing.

Russia voiced concern that the council’s foray into water and sanitation issues may unduly stretch its agenda and complicate its work, and Canadian diplomat Sarah Geh stressed that setting up the post did not create a human right to water.

U.N. member countries have set a goal of halving the proportion of people who lack access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation services — such as toilets — by 2015.

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