Public Lecture: UN climate change negotiations – The role and influence of the Alliance of Small Island States

6-7pm, Tuesday 19 February 2013 (download flyer).
Barton Theatre, JG Crawford Building [132], Lennox Crossing.

Her Excellency Ms Marlene Inemwin Moses, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, Permanent Representative of Nauru to the United Nations and Chair of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS).

This event is co-hosted by the ANU Climate Change Institute, theANU Pacific Institute and the Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency.

Film screening: O Le Tulafale / The Orator

6pm, Wednesday 20 February 2013, Coombs Lecture Theatre (download one of two promotional flyers). This event is sponsored by the ANU Pacific Institute.

Note: This screening will feature a pre-recorded interview between Director, Tusi Tamasese and Valerie Bichard.

“The Orator (O Le Tulafale) is a contemporary drama about courage, forgiveness and love. Small in stature and humble, Saili lives a simple life with his beloved wife and daughter in an isolated, traditional village in the islands of Samoa. Forced to protect his land and family, Saili must face his fears and seek the right to speak up for those he loves.”

For more information, visit the film’s official website (http://theoratorfilm.co.nz).

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The PNG Promoting Effective Public Expenditure Project

On 7 February 2013, the National Research Institute (NRI) of Papua New Guinea and the Development Policy Centre (ANU) co-hosted a National Budget Forum in Port Moresby. This forum is “intended to support the implementation of the 2013 National Budget so that better outcomes are achieved for the people of PNG” as part of the PNG Promoting Effective Public Expenditure (PEPE) Project. Of general interest is a presentation that illustrate some of the findings of those involved in the PEPE surveys in PNG and the challenges the team faced during fieldwork.

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Pacific Islands Leadership Program (PILP) with Taiwan

The East-West Center recently announced a new initiative – the Pacific Islands Leadership Program (PILP) with Taiwan – which is “designed to provide opportunities to enhance the leadership capacities of individuals in the Pacific Islands region and build a network of young leaders who will contribute to lasting people-to-people relationships across the Pacific, Asia, and United States.” Applications for this year’s program are due before 15 March and the program will run 26 August – 26 November 2013.

The PILP with Taiwan initiative parallels the East-West Center’s long-standing Asia Pacific Leadership Program (APLP).

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Fostering skilled migration and the APTC

Stephen Howes (Director, Development Policy Centre) recently interviewed Michael Clemens, who leads the Migration and Development Initiative at the Center for Global Development (CGD). You may review a podcast or video of this presentation (withaccompanying slides), or read an edited transcript of this interview in two parts, the first on the US Seasonal Worker Program, the second on Skilled Migration and the Australian Pacific Technical College (APTC).
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It’s 2013, And They’re Burning ‘Witches’

In her latest article in The Global Mail, Jo Chandler writes that ”Belief in black magic persists in Papua New Guinea, where communities are warping under the pressure of the mining boom’s unfulfilled expectations. Women are blamed, accused of sorcery and branded as witches — with horrific consequences.”

In June 2013, the State, Society and Governance in Melanesia Program (SSGM) will host a conference on Sorcery and witchcraft-related killings in Melanesia: culture, law and human rights perspectives. For more information, contact one of the conference convenors – Assoc. Prof. Richard Eves or Dr Miranda Forsyth.

World Phonotactics Database (BETA version now online)

A new online tool is available that can help researchers with an interest in linguistics. The World Phonotactics database (http://phonotactics.anu.edu.au) allows users to investigate typological features in over 3000 languages from around the world. This database has been assembled by Mark Donohue and a team of dedicated research assistants at the ANU.

The Pacific is heavily represented in this database, with over 1300 languages coded. This reflects the fact that the Pacific is the global leader for linguistic diversity as well as the wealth of data about Pacific languages that has been accumulated at the ANU over the past five decades.

We invite researchers to make use of this beta version of the database, and to offer suggestions for other kinds of data (esp. social and historical) that could be coded up and so made available for further research and comparative studies.

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Book Launch: Ten Canberrans and the Sleeping Crocodile: A travel diary of Timor-Leste

3.30pm Saturday, 16 February 2013, Canberra Museum and Gallery, Civic [flyer].
Launch by His Excellency Abel Guterres, Ambassador of Timor-Leste to Australia.

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PNG plans military build-up, but why?

“Papua New Guinea’s Defence Minister Dr Fabian Pok has announced that PNG plans to build up its military capacity from around 2000 personnel to 10,000.” Read more in this short post by Donald Gumbis, Lecturer in political science at the University of Goroka and intern at the Lowy Institute.
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Pacific Buzz (Feb. 13): Solomon Is recover | PNG seeks stability | Funding cuts | More

A fortnightly roundup of policy news in the Pacific by the Pacific Institute of Public Policy and the Development Policy Centre.
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How Australia’s aid program is helping to pay asylum-seeker bill

“Six weeks after Foreign Minister Bob Carr announced that $375 million would be reallocated within the Australian aid program to finance asylum-seeker costs, AusAID hasreleased (pdf, p. 102 onward) its updated 2012-13 budget estimates… Savings had to be harvested from all global, regional and country programs…” including deep cuts to the aid budget for the Solomon Islands, Timor Leste and Vanuatu [read more].
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A Guide to 1,000 Foraminifera from Southwestern Pacific, New Caledonia (by Jean-Pierre Debenay)

“With about 10,000 species living in salted and brackish waters, foraminifera constitute the most diverse group of shelled microorganisms in modern oceans, and substantially contribute to biodiversity. Abundant and sensitive to environmental conditions, they constitute one of the most valuable tools for environmental assessment and monitoring programs…” This publication reviews environmental conditions in the islands of New Caledonia and provides a taxonomic guide to dominant varieties of foraminifera in the region [read more].

The economic costs of non-communicable diseases in the Pacific Islands

“There are three main messages contained in the recently released World Bank report ‘The economic costs of Non-Communicable Diseases in the Pacific Islands: a rapid stocktake of the situation in Samoa, Tonga and Vanuatu (available here [PDF]) (the report did not include analysis of Papua New Guinea)…” [read more].
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Kastom: Art of Vanuatu (8 February – 16 June 2013)

10.00 am – 5.00 pm daily, National Gallery of Australia (free).

Kastom: Art of Vanuatu presents for the first time the unique collection of arts from this area held by the National Gallery of Australia. In the early 1970s the Gallery contracted an agent to field collect in Vanuatu resulting in the acquisition of nearly two hundred works, a selection of which will be accompanied by other important works from the NGA’s Vanuatu collection.” [image: Chubwan mask 15-17th Century, Pentecost Island].

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Opportunity calls in the South Pacific

Australia needs to change its view on some of its nearest neighbours and see them as a realm of opportunity instead of risk, says Associate Professor Sinclair Dinnen from theState, Society and Governance in Melanesia program at the ANU. “The South Pacific should be seen as an ‘arc of opportunity’ rather than ‘an arc of instability’ which threatens Australian’s security and is an aid burden.” For more, read CAP news or listen to “Rethinking the South Pacific“, a Saturday Extra interview with Sinclair on Radio National.

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Pacific Buzz (Jan. 30): Fiji elections | ‘Mystery yacht’ | Poverty stagnation in PNG | Cost of NCDs | More

A fortnightly roundup of policy news in the Pacific by the Pacific Institute of Public Policy and the Development Policy Centre.
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Fowl or Fish? A submission to the ACIAR Review

“The Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) is a very important organisation. It is the only aid agency in Australia which has legislative backing, something that the much bigger AusAID lacks. More importantly… it is one of the largest funders of agricultural research for development in the world.” Read a submission to the ACIAR Review by the Development Policy Centre at the ANU.
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Fiji’s 2013 budget: on the road to growth?

“The Bainimarama Government delivered its sixth budget late last year. The budget significantly increases investment in infrastructure, especially roads, with new spending financed through government debt. Other announcements are more modest. This blog postconcentrates on the implications of the budget for infrastructure and government debt levels…”
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2013 Fiji budget: an analysis

“…There is no doubt that the last seven budgets since 2006, including the revised 2007 budget, have been prepared against an environment dominated by fear, mistrust and uncertainty of the future…” [read more].
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Pacific catastrophe risk insurance pilot program (World Bank)

The Pacific Catastrophe Risk Insurance Project pilot is now in the pipeline [read more].
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Governance in PNG: what can donors do?

“For what seems like decades, evidence-based policy has been a mantra. Practitioners are aware of this, just as enlightened researchers are aware of the pressures on aid agency staff. But even with the best will in the world, turning evidence into practice can be challenging…  In my (new) job with AusAID, I reflected on the implications of these findings for our program in Papua New Guinea (PNG)…” [read more].
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Aid Buzz (Jan 23): Aid and asylum seekers | Tick for seasonal worker program, at last | Commonwealth funding, but performance? | Australia’s ADB VP | More

Devpolicy’s usual round-up of Australian aid and development news – this issue covering December 2012 and January 2013 [This summary includes important information and analysis of the diversion of $375 million from the Australian aid budget to cover immediate costs associated with the government’s asylum seeker policies].
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Small isn’t always beautiful: how smallness undermines public financial management in the Pacific and what to do about it

“Much attention is currently being paid to public financial management (PFM) in Pacific Island Countries (PICs)…. but PFM reform is an arcane field, in which there is surprisingly little agreement as to appropriate models and the relative priorities of reform efforts. While PICs are often considered to have “weak” PFM systems, there is little analysis of how their systems differ from those in other developing countries. Few explanations for weakness have been presented beyond vague appeals to ‘culture’ or ‘governance'” [read more].
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UQ ePress new Pacific titles

Prof. Clive Moore (UQ) and Prof. Brij Lal (ANU) have been working to establish a Pacific series in the UQ ePress. The first publications in this series contain two new titles (the first in this list) and the reissue of five classic titles:

World Bank Praxis Discussion Series: Health in a Developing World (focus on the Pacific)

The latest Praxis video discussion is informed by the November 2012 World Bank report on The Economic Costs of Non-Communicable Diseases in the Pacific Islands (with a focus on Samoa, Tonga and Vanuatu).

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China and India in the Fiji equation

Professor Wadan Narsey, in his latest post to Lowy’s Interpreter, states that the Fijian government’s “…clear breach of its own decrees and roadmap to democracy, as described in my previous post, has unsettled traditional donors and must also create serious question marks over the continuing support by China and India.”
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Why the Fiji regime rejected the draft constitution

As Jenny Hayward-Jones described last Friday, the Fiji regime’s promise of a transparent and accountable ‘roadmap’ to parliamentary elections in 2014, following the writing of a new constitution to be approved by a ‘Constituent Assembly’, is now sounding quite hollow…” Read more in this recent post to Lowy’s Interpreter blog, by Professor Wadan Narsey, Adjunct Professor at The Cairns Institute (James Cook University).
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Pacific predictions 2013 – Fiji falters, and more

In January last year, Tess Newton Cain posted her predictions for Pacific politics, economics, and regionalism in 2012. Her latest post to Devpolicy.org suggests the big ticket issues in the region in 2013.
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PNG in 2013: politics, economics, PNG-Australia relations, and Ross Garnaut

Stephen Howes offers insights on key political and economic issues in PNG and the PNG-Australia and the questions these raise for the future of the country and the bilateral relationship in his recent post to Devpolicy.org. [Listen to a follow-up interview on Radio Australia on 15 January 2013.]
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What constitutes donor dependence? Health financing in the Pacific

Posted on January 9, 2013 by Joel Negin
Sustainable health financing in the Pacific is a new working paper from the University of Sydney, Burnet Institute and Fiji National University’s Centre for Health Information, Policy and Systems Research. A recent post to Devpolicy.org by Joel Negin (one of the main authors of the report) reviews this report and underlying assumptions about donor dependence in the health sector.
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http://asiapacific.anu.edu.au/blogs/pacificinstitute/

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