Sunday, September 6, 2015

1) PIDF looks to set tone for Forum meeting in Port Moresby.

2) Climate change to dominate Pacific Island Forum
3) Channeling the Voice of Papua 

1) PIDF looks to set tone for Forum meeting in Port Moresby. 
Updated at 3:36 pm on 4 September 2015

Originally aired on Dateline Pacific, Friday 4 September 2015

Leaders from the Pacific Islands Forum countries meet in Port Moresby next week to address regional concerns and issues but they may have been beaten to the punch.
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Leaders from the Pacific Islands Forum countries meet in Port Moresby next week to address regional concerns and issues but they may have been beaten to the punch.
Fiji's Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama, who is not attending over objections regarding the part New Zealand and Australia play, hosted the burgeoning Pacific Islands Development Forum this week.
The Lowy Institute's Jenny Hayward-Jones says the meeting has made some strong political statements which may affect the Port Moresby meeting.  
But Ms Hayward-Jones told Koro Vaka'uta the Pacific Islands Forum meeting will still look at improving the concept of regionalism.
JENNY HAYWARD-JONES: What has been lacking is political commitment in between Forum Leaders Meetings so I think there is a bit of frustration that although leaders agree to do this, all this regional cooperation, they don't act on it. The theme of this meeting is an effort to try and get them to try and focus on it a bit more and to agree on practical measures that they can all go away and do.
KORO VAKAUTA: One way that they have thought about doing that is they have created this subcommittee on regionalism and that body or committee has come up with five priority issues or areas. For the likes of ICT and cervical cancer, West Papua, climate change and disasters, fisheries as well as maritime surveillance that sort of thing. Are those areas that you expected to be on the list and are there any maybe that you are surprised that aren't?
JHJ: They reflect the issues that concern the people of the Pacific which is a good thing because sometimes these political leaders meetings can be sometimes distant from what the people themselves want their leaders to act on. So it is very positive that we are seeing those concerns probably reflect more closely what the people are thinking about. The issue of West Papua which is a very emotional one for many Melanesian countries in particular and for civil society in Melanesia which has been pushing hard for better recognition of the problems affecting West Papuans. And we have seen some action on that in the Melanesian Spearhead Group earlier this year and I think we will continue to see pressure from Melanesian populations in particular for more regional action on that or more regional advocacy globally for West Papuans, if not independence then at least human rights issues in West Papua. Fisheries and maritime surveillance is always something that has been on the agenda but again increasingly important in this day and age are facing more international challenges and more issues around transnational crime. And of course fisheries is a vital resource and they have to ensure that it is one that they can control. And so it is an issue that continues to concern all countries in the region. Climate change of course is a existential threat for some small Island countries and it will always be on the agenda for Pacific Island Forum leaders.
KV: The impact of Fiji, what impact will that have on this upcoming meeting next week?
JHJ: I think it is a very interesting time with Fiji's approach to the Forum of course we are seeing Prime Minister Bainimarama host the Pacific Islands Development Forum this week and seven Pacific Island leaders have attended that forum and he is trying very hard and possibly succeeding this time in painting that organisation as perhaps if not quite an alternative to the PIF its a forum in which Pacific Island countries can discuss their concerns without Australia and New Zealand using their guiding hand. So I think he is making an effort to set that up as an important meeting that influences Pacific Islands opinion and I think he has mentioned that he wants to see a declaration on Climate Change which would express a common approach from Pacific Island countries to take to the Paris negotiations so that might make it a bit difficult for the Pacific Islands Forum next week because I assume they will also be hoping to come up with a common position so if we have two common positions from the Pacific one from the development forum and one from the forum itself I think the rest of the world might be a little confused. But in terms of the meeting next week the Fiji Foreign minister is attending so Fiji at least will be represented and I am sure he is very capable of expressing Fiji's concerns its a shame that the Prime Minister is not going but at least Fiji is committed.
KV: You mentioned the Pacific Islands Development Forum, do you see these two bodies complementing each other?  What do you think?
JHJ: It depends on how it evolves over the next few years, I think they probably can complement each other if the politicians can agree. At the moment we haven't really seen that agreement, some leaders are very committed to making sure that the Pacific Islands Forum is their own voice in that forum is not diluted by having another organisation and particularly another meeting so close to the meeting of the Forum. But I think it can serve as a useful adjunct to forum activities and the message that Fiji has used to engage the private sector and to engage civil society if that continues to develop well then I think that will be a useful contribution to Forum discussion. But I think we will see Fiji continue to push that as it puts a lot of value in having that.
KV: You touched on the Suva declaration on climate change. How much of it does it seem to be a wily political move from Fiji because you mentioned having this declaration versus the forum.
JHJ: The timing is particularly interesting I mean it is just a few days before the forum starts so obviously a declaration that comes out of the development forum that says this is a common position from the Pacific Island countries most seriously affected by climate change is obviously making a very strong political statement that it is that forum which has produced a declaration that reflects the concerns of small island countries and of course next week Australia and New Zealand will be in the mix so it will be considerably more difficult I think to reach an agreement that satisfies everyone. We have seen here how Prime Minister Bainimarama is trying to get out in front and try and develop a strong voice for the small island states that isn't confused by Australia and New Zealand's position.  
2) Climate change to dominate Pacific Island Forum
Sunday 6 Sep 2015 2:09 p.m.
By Lisa Martin
Australia and New Zealand are expected to cop a behind-the-scenes walloping from Pacific Island leaders disappointed they are not doing more to combat climate change.
The issue will likely dominate this week's Pacific Island Forum leaders summit in Port Moresby, ahead of the United Nations climate change conference in Paris later in the year.
Pacific leaders want the world to work on restricting the global warming temperature rise to 1.5degC, fearing a two-degree target will risk the survival of many tiny islands.
Natural disaster recovery will be fresh on their minds.
The summit starts tomorrow, six months after Cyclone Pam, which flattened much of Vanuatu and caused heavy flooding on Tuvalu, Kiribati and the Marshall Islands.
Host nation Papua New Guinea is grappling with the opposite problem - what could be its worst drought in 20 years and a potential food crisis.
Prime Minister Peter O’Neill has said El Niño conditions have been exacerbated by the effects of climate change.
The Solomon Islands and Vanuatu are also experiencing a dry spell.
Fiji's Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama, who is boycotting the summit and will instead send along his foreign minister, had a crack at Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott at last week's meeting of his rival club of Pacific leaders - the Pacific Islands Development Forum - that excludes Australia.
He urged Mr Abbott to abandon the "coalition of the selfish" and put the welfare of small Pacific island neighbours ahead of coal industry interests.
The Abbott government has announced a carbon emissions reduction target of 26-28 percent on 2005 levels by 2030, which has been criticised for lacking ambition.
New Zealand's target is a cut of 30 percent below 2005 levels by 2030.
The summit is expected to sign off on a joint climate change and disaster management strategy for the Pacific.
Climate change won't be the only source of tension.
New Zealand has suspended aid to Nauru's justice system over the breakdown of the rule of law on the island nation.
The Pacific Island Forum runs from September 7-11.

3) Channeling the Voice of Papua 
Posted On 06 Sep 2015By : Felix Utama Kosasih0 CommentsTag: Film Screening, Indonesia, Papua, review
Various stories from Indonesia’s eastern most provinces of Papua are told through a movie screening project called the Papuan Voices
Singapore, – On Thursday (3/9), EngageMedia conducted a film screening in the Asia Research Institute, a world-leading research hub on Asian affairs which is affiliated with the National University of Singapore (NUS). The screened project is called Papuan Voices which is described as, in their own words, “a video advocacy initiative working with Papuan activists to more effectively tell their stories to the world”.
Through the collaboration of EngageMedia, Justice, Peace, and Integrity of Creation, Belantara Papua, and Yayasan Teratai Hari Papua, a series of video production and distribution workshop was held through 2011-2014 in Jayapura, Merauke, Wamena, and Sorong.
With funding from the Ford Federation, Papuan Voices aims to lift the everyday life stories of ordinary Papuans: the struggles in obtaining a good education, protecting the environment, pursuing an adequate healthcare system, and winning equality and dignity for their people. The themes are discussed by the Papuans along with mentors from Papuan Voices, and then the film is fully directed by Indonesians who are ethnically from Papua themselves. Thus, it is free from any bias which may have marred other media produced by either Western NGOs or the Indonesian central government.
In total, the Papuan Voices project has produced 16 short films, separated into two series of 8 films each. Five films from the second series were included in the screening event: Save the Karon, Sekolah Papua (School of Papua), Mutiara dalam Noken (Pearl in the Noken), Mama Mariode, and Tuan di Tanah Sendiri (Masters of Our Land). Although the films are short and made by amateurs, they succeed in revealing the life of Indonesians in Papua, and their brave effort to obtain better days for their fellow men and women and for the future generation. In the (often) absence of the central government, it is up to the Papuans themselves to carve out what they can from what they have. All 16 films can be accessed for free at
Save the Karon tells the story of Hans Mambrasar, an old man who carry the burden of three roles on his shoulders: a doctor, a teacher, and a spiritual advisor for the people living in the district of Tambraw. When a mysterious disease spread through the villages of Jokbijoker and Kosefa in 2012-13, Mambrasar braved a very difficult terrain to bring the sickly villagers to his village for treatment. They receive almost no help from Jakarta, and Mambrasar truly hopes that this condition will change for the better in the future.
School of Papua is about David Womsiwor, the principal of SD Inpres 122 Wamena, an elementary school. He has an experimental method of teaching, preferring to emphasize thoroughness and critical thinking over rote learning and memorization. The film highlighted the Papuan students’ eagerness to study despite their lack of infrastructure and money. Pearl in the Noken, favorited by many people, narrates the tale of dr. Maria Rumateray, a doctor who dedicated her life to improve the health in Kaimana and Korowni districts, plus many other remote regions with the help of a helicopter. She carried on her parents’ mission, who were health workers decades ago. Doctor Rumateray chose to serve in Papua although it does not bring her any material wealth, saying “A doctor is a healer. That’s all.”
The fourth film is titled Mama Mariode, an old lady who, together with her husband, refused to hand over her land to a plantation company. She is the last one, since all her neighbors have agreed to the sale. She believes the sacred forest is essential to get food and wood for her children, and it should be kept pristine for generations to come.
Finally, Masters of Our Land chronicles the story of Matias Mayor and Paulus Sawiyai, two men from Raja Ampat who run their own homestays for the foreign tourists. They refuse to work for the fancy resorts owned by non-local investors, and chose to build their own business from zero instead. Now, there are 55 homestays owned by Papuans in Raja Ampat. Most of these are staffed by local villagers, which means they can make a living together.
EngageMedia is a non-profit media, technology and cultural organization, based in Australia and Indonesia. It uses the power of video and Internet technologies to create social and environmental change. EngageMedia works with independent filmmakers, video activists, technologists, and campaigners to generate wider audiences, demystify new video distribution technologies, and create an online archive of independent video productions using open content licenses. In this event, EngageMedia was represented by Kartika Pratiwi and Seelan Palay.

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