Stories written by Catherine Wilson

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.

Falling Oil Prices Trigger Initial Economic Gains for Pacific Islanders

The recent dramatic fall in world oil prices, with Brent crude plummeting from a high of 115 dollars per barrel in June last year to around 47 dollars in January 2015, is beginning to benefit Pacific Islanders who are seeing lower prices for fuel and energy.

Cyclone Pam Worsens Hardship in Port Vila’s Urban Settlements

Severe Tropical Cyclone Pam, which swept through the South Pacific Island state of Vanuatu in mid-March, has deepened hardships faced by people living in the informal settlements of the capital, Port Vila. Winds of up to 340 kph and torrential rain shattered precarious homes, cut off fragile public services and flooded communities with unsealed roads, poor drainage and sanitation.

Pacific Islanders Say Climate Finance “Essential” for Paris Agreement

As Pacific Islanders contemplate the scale of devastation wrought by Cyclone Pam this month across four Pacific Island states, including Vanuatu, leaders in the region are calling with renewed urgency for global action on climate finance, which they say is vital for building climate resilience and arresting development losses.

Multi-Drug Resistance Adds to Tuberculosis Epidemic in Papua New Guinea

Rising multi-drug resistance in patients suffering from tuberculosis, a debilitating infectious lung disease which mainly impacts the developing world, has led to a public health emergency in the southwest Pacific Island state of Papua New Guinea, according to state officials.

What’s Driving the Merciless Asylum Seeker Policies in Australia?

As conflicts in the Middle East and elsewhere pushed the number of refugees to 13 million last year, the international community is struggling to shoulder the humanitarian responsibility of protecting those fleeing violence and persecution in their homelands.

Tackling Corruption at its Root in Papua New Guinea

Corruption, the single largest obstacle to socioeconomic development worldwide, has had a grave impact on the southwest Pacific Island nation of Papua New Guinea. While mineral resource wealth drove high gross domestic product (GDP) growth of eight percent in 2012, the country is today ranked 157th out of 187 countries in terms of human development.

Diabetes Epidemic Threatens Development Gains in Pacific Islands

The rapid rise of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in the Pacific Islands, which now cause 75 percent of all deaths, is one of the greatest impediments to post-2015 development, health ministers in the region claim.

When Ignorance Is Deadly: Pacific Women Dying From Lack of Breast Cancer Awareness

Women now face a better chance of surviving breast cancer in the Solomon Islands, a developing island state in the southwest Pacific Ocean, following the recent acquisition of the country’s first mammogram machine.

Pacific Islands Call for New Thinking to Implement Post-2015 Development Goals

As the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), a set of poverty-alleviation targets set by the United Nations, come to a close this year, countries around the world are taking stock of their successes and failures in tackling key developmental issues.

Seeking Closure, Bougainville Confronts Ghosts of Civil War

Thirteen years after the peace agreement which ended a decade-long civil war in Bougainville, an autonomous island region of 300,000 people located east of the Papua New Guinean (PNG) mainland in the southwest Pacific Islands, trauma and grief continue to affect families and communities where the fate of the many missing remains unresolved.

Illegal Logging Wreaking Havoc on Impoverished Rural Communities

Rampant unsustainable logging in the southwest Pacific Island states of Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands, where the majority of land is covered in tropical rainforest, is worsening hardship, human insecurity and conflict in rural communities.

Bougainville Voices Say ‘No’ to Mining

The viability of reopening the controversial Panguna copper mine in the remote mountains of Central Bougainville, an autonomous region in the east of Papua New Guinea, has been the focus of discussions led by local political leaders and foreign mining interests over the past four years.

Vanuatu Puts Indigenous Rights First in Land Reform

Stemming widespread corruption in the leasing of customary land to investors is the aim of bold land reform, introduced this year in the Southwest Pacific Island state of Vanuatu, which puts the rights of traditional landowners above the discretionary powers of politicians.

Youth Employment Critical to Sustainable Development in Pacific Islands

The size of the youth population in the Pacific Islands is double the global average with 54 percent aged below 24 years, creating enormous challenges for slow-growing small island economies unable to create jobs fast enough.

Next Page »