Stories written by Catherine Wilson

Micronesia Climate Law Seeks to Inspire Global Action

The Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), a western Pacific Island state located north of Papua New Guinea and east of Palau, has become a regional pioneer in drafting national legislation centred on climate change.

Fiji Leads Pacific Region on Climate Adaptation Efforts

Still a long way off in many parts of the world, climate displacement is already a reality in the Pacific Islands, where rising seas are contaminating fresh water and agricultural land, and rendering some coastal areas uninhabitable.

Governments Crushing Their Own

The global spectre of state violence against political dissent, with paramilitary law enforcement units advancing against citizens they are employed to protect in cities such as Cairo, Bangkok and Kiev is daily news. But in some developing countries, the police are being used to put down indigenous opposition to the alliance of state and corporate power over resource extraction.

Pacific Islands At Sea Over Land Rights

For many Pacific Islanders, customary land is the source of life, identity and social security. However, most island states are developing countries, and governments claim land reform is needed to improve infrastructure and economic development. Registration of customary land, the predominant tenure system, with more options for leasing to the state and developers is being promoted as the way forward.

Poverty Rises Amidst Gold

Natural reserves such as gold, copper, nickel, gas and timber are being extracted in the western Pacific island states of Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands to feed the soaring economies of East and South East Asia. But despite these Pacific nations recording economic growth rates of 6-11 percent over the past seven years, opportunities for human development have not been grasped.

Pacific Nations Need Help Away From Aid

Long-term dependence on development aid in Pacific Island nations, many of which have been independent for 30-40 years, continues to cause concern.

West Papua Searches Far for Rights

The indigenous struggle for liberation in West Papua on the western half of the island of New Guinea in the south-west Pacific, with the loss of thousands of lives, is far from ending. But, despite political uncertainties, a united coalition of pro-independence leaders has reignited hope of freedom by galvanising the support of a Pacific Islands inter-governmental organisation.

Women Advance in Distant Islands

Women’s political representation in the Pacific Islands region is globally the lowest at 3.65 percent, compared to the world average of 18 percent. Leadership is still widely perceived as ‘men’s business’ and voting is heavily influenced by nepotism and money politics. However, Rhoda Sikilabu, minister for community affairs in Isabel Province in the Solomon Islands is demonstrating that women leaders can drive development progress and win voter support.

Saving Children From Loggers

Logging is the largest industry in the Solomon Islands, an archipelago located northwest of Fiji, where 80 percent of the islands are covered in tropical rainforest. But, although timber accounts for 60 percent of this South Pacific nation’s export earnings, most local communities have experienced no beneficial development.

Idyllic Island Confronts Bloody Past

Anguish over the whereabouts of loved ones who went missing during a five-year civil conflict that ended a decade ago continues for countless families in the Solomon Islands. Searching for the remains of those who disappeared is vital to enduring peace in this culturally diverse south-west Pacific island nation of 550,000.

Idyllic Island Confronts Bloody Past

Anguish over the whereabouts of loved ones who went missing during a five-year civil conflict that ended a decade ago continues for countless families in the Solomon Islands. Searching for the remains of those who disappeared is vital to enduring peace in this culturally diverse south-west Pacific island nation of 550,000.

Corruption Smothering Pacific Students

External interference in the awarding of tertiary scholarships in Pacific Island nations such as the Solomon Islands is denying some of the highest achievers among the young an opportunity to contribute to the future of their country and the region.

Eye Disease Sweeps Pacific Islands

For generations, eye diseases have taken their toll on Pacific Island peoples. Now the first nationwide survey in the Solomon Islands of Trachoma, which can lead to irreversible blindness by early adulthood, is revealing the silent penetration of this disease in widely dispersed Melanesian rural island communities.

Solomon Men Learning Wisely to Respect Women

In the Solomon Islands in the south-west Pacific, where two in three of the estimated female population of 252,000 have experienced physical and sexual partner abuse, recognition is growing that ending the cycle of violence cannot be achieved without the partnership of men as catalysts of change. And initiatives by men are gaining support.

The Medicines Are Fake, the Illnesses Real

Reports of fraudulent medicines in the south-west Pacific island states of Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea have drawn attention to the need for more public awareness of the lethal trade and its tragic consequences.

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