Stories written by Catherine Wilson

Post-War Truth and Justice Still Elusive in Bougainville

Almost every family in the islands of Bougainville, an autonomous region of about 300,000 people in the Pacific Island state of Papua New Guinea, has a story to tell of death and suffering during the decade long civil war (1989-1998), known as ‘the Crisis.’

Bougainville Women Turn Around Lives of ‘Lost Generation’

Finding a sense of identity and purpose, as well as employment are some of the challenges facing youths in post-conflict Bougainville, an autonomous region in eastern Papua New Guinea in the southwest Pacific Islands.

West Papuans Turn to Africa for Support in Freedom Bid

For more than half a century, the indigenous people of West Papua, located on the western side of the island of New Guinea, who are related to the Melanesians of the southwest Pacific Islands, have waged a resistance to governance by Indonesia and a relentless campaign for self-determination.

Corruption Threat to Pacific Island Forests

The vast rainforests of Papua New Guinea (PNG) and the Solomon Islands in the southwest Pacific Ocean are crucial for environmental sustainability, survival of indigenous peoples and the wider goal of containing climate change. But forest degradation, driven primarily by excessive commercial logging, most of which is illegal, is a perpetual threat.

Fall in Commodity Prices Rings Alarm Bells in Papua New Guinea

Resource-rich Papua New Guinea (PNG) is seen as an economic powerhouse in the Pacific Islands with a state-led focus on resource extraction initially expected to drive one of the world’s highest growth rates of 15 per cent last year. But in the wake of falling commodity prices, GDP growth has plummeted from 8.5 per cent in 2014 to a forecasted 3 per cent this year. As the government faces a growing deficit between revenue and expenditure, exacerbated by high public debt, experts in the country believe greater efforts to diversify the economy are essential.

A Peaceful Decade but Pacific Islanders Warn Against Complacency

The Pacific Islands conjures pictures of swaying palm trees and unspoiled beaches. But, after civil wars and unrest since the 1980’s, experts in the region are clear that Pacific Islanders cannot afford to be complacent about the future, even after almost a decade of relative peace and stability. And preventing conflict goes beyond ensuring law and order.

‘Good, But Not Perfect’, Pacific Islands Women on Climate Deal

Women leaders in the Pacific Islands have acclaimed the agreement on reducing global warming achieved at the United Nations (COP21) Climate Change conference in Paris as an unprecedented moment of world solidarity on an issue which has been marked to date by division between the developing and industrialized world. But for Pacific small island developing states, which name climate change as the single greatest threat to their survival, it will only be a success if inspirational words are followed by real action.

Malnutrition a Silent Emergency in Papua New Guinea

High up in the mountainous interior of Papua New Guinea (PNG), the most populous Pacific Island state of 7.3 million people, rural lives are marked by strenuous work toiling land in rugged terrain with low access to basic services.

One-Third of Papua New Guineans Suffering Drought Crisis

An estimated one-third of the population of Papua New Guinea, the most populous Pacific Island state, is now suffering in from the country’s worst drought this century and experts predict El Nino’s influence will carry on through March 2016.

Clan Wars Increase Displacement, Hinder Development in Papua New Guinea

The charred foundations are all that is left of the homes that made up Kenemote village in the mountainous Eastern Highlands Province of Papua New Guinea in the southwest Pacific Islands.

Widowhood in Papua New Guinea Brings an Uncertain Future

It has only been six months since Iveti, 37, lost her husband of 18 years, but already she is facing hardship and worry about the future.

Papua New Guinea’s Unemployed Youth Say the Future They Want Begins With Them

Zibie Wari, a former teacher and founder of the Tropical Gems grassroots youth group in the town of Madang on the north coast of Papua New Guinea, has seen the hopes of many young people for a decent future quashed by the impacts of corruption and unfulfilled promises of development.

Bougainville Election Intensifies Hopes for Independence

A referendum on independence within the next five years dominated campaigning in the recent general election held in Bougainville, an autonomous region of 300,000 people in the east of Papua New Guinea (PNG), which emerged from a decade-long civil war 15 years ago.

Pacific Civil Society Swings Out Against Free Trade Agreement

Fourteen Pacific Island Forum countries are currently locked in negotiations with their two largest economic neighbours, Australia and New Zealand, to forge a new regional free trade agreement called ‘PACER Plus’, which supporters believe will boost economic growth in the region.

Bougainville: Former War-Torn Territory Still Wary of Mining

From Arawa, once the capital city of Bougainville, an autonomous region in eastern Papua New Guinea in the southwest Pacific Ocean, a long, winding road leads high up into the Crown Prince Ranges in the centre of the island through impenetrable rainforest.

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