Stories written by Catherine Wilson

Pioneering Digital Initiative Empowers Pacific Islands to Tackle Climate Disasters

Winning a battle for survival requires understanding the opponent. And, for the peoples of 22 island nations and territories scattered across more than 155 million square kilometres of Pacific Ocean, the volatility and wrath of the climate are their greatest threats.

Pacific Games Channels Youth Aspirations in the Solomon Islands

The Pacific Games, the most prestigious sporting event in the Pacific Islands region, will open in the Solomon Islands in the southwest Pacific on 19 November. And it is set to shine a spotlight on the energy, hopes and aspirations of youths who comprise the majority of the country’s population.

International Inertia Follows Israeli Assault on Jenin in the West Bank

The likelihood of further confrontations remains high following a major Israeli military assault on an impoverished camp of more than 23,500 Palestinian refugees in Jenin in the north of the occupied West Bank earlier this month. The landlocked Palestinian territory, located between Israel to the west and Jordan to the east, has been illegally occupied, according to international law, following the invasion by Israel 56 years ago.

New Research Seeks Breakthrough in Understanding Global Warming and the Ocean

The Canada-based Ocean Frontier Institute is very clear about the significance of a new collaborative ground-breaking ocean research program. Global warming cannot be effectively tackled, and human life cannot survive on Earth without the ocean.

Climate Disasters Have Major Consequences for Informal Economies

In the Pacific Islands and many developing and emerging countries worldwide, the informal economy far outsizes the formal one, playing a vital role in the survival of urban and rural households and absorbing expanding working-age populations.

Food Shortages Deepen in Cyclone-Devastated Vanuatu

One month after the Pacific Island nation of Vanuatu was hit by two Category 4 cyclones within three days, food scarcity and prices are rising in the country following widespread devastation of the agriculture sector.

Pacific Islands: Climate Finance Action a Priority at COP27

Today, the window of opportunity for scaled-up global climate action to prevent disastrous global warming and build resilience in the most vulnerable nations is closing fast. And a major impediment to reducing emissions and accelerating climate adaptation is both lack of financial investment and major bureaucratic hurdles to accessing those funds that are available.

Pacific Community’s Agricultural Gene Bank Wins Global Award

Safeguarding plentiful, nutritious supplies of food for the present generation of Pacific Islanders and those who come in the future is a frontline goal in the wake of the pandemic and the continual threat of climate extremes to island farming. But the region, where 50 to 70 percent of people depend on agriculture and fisheries for sustenance and income, is now one step ahead in that objective. The region’s agricultural gene bank, established by the development organisation, Pacific Community (SPC), is now acclaimed as world-class and a leader in building future food supplies.

Pacific Community-Led Health Missions Arrive with Critical Support to Tonga and Kiribati Grappling with COVID-19 Surges

Before the pandemic emerged in 2020, health services in many Pacific Island countries were under-resourced, under-funded and under-staffed. Now following recent outbreaks of COVID-19, advancing the capacity and development of health and medical services in vulnerable nations, such as Tonga and Kiribati, is increasingly urgent.

Pacific Islanders: Failure to Commit to 1.5 Degrees at COP27 will Imperil the World’s Oceans

Oceans play a pivotal role in regulating the world’s climate and maintaining the conditions for human life on earth. And they are a crucial source of sustenance and economic wellbeing in many developing countries, including small island developing states. But Pacific Islanders are deeply concerned about the fate of the oceans if world leaders fail to secure the pledges needed to limit the global temperature rise to 1.5 Degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels at the next COP27 climate change summit in November.

Fighting Corruption Essential to Reducing Inequality in Pacific Islands

Corruption continues to have a crippling effect on the lives of many people in southwest Pacific Island countries, exacerbating hardship and inequality and eroding human and national development.

Fighting Loss of the Greater Mekong’s Prized Rosewood Forests

The famed Rosewood forests of the Greater Mekong region in Southeast Asia produce dark, richly grained timbers zealously sought after worldwide by manufacturers of luxury furniture, flooring and musical instruments, among other products. But their high value has also made them a major commodity in transnational organized crime.

Mobilising the ‘Tools’ for Renewable Energy Investment in the Seychelles

Breaking the world’s reliance on fossil fuels and accelerating the global uptake of renewable energy will play a decisive role in diminishing the threat of global warming to the survival of life on earth, according to experts. But turning the vision into reality will demand unwavering political will and, critically, massive investment, which can no longer be shouldered solely by aid and development partners.

Atoll Nation of Tuvalu Adopts ‘Cubes’ to Step Up Nutritious Food Production

Tuvalu, a small atoll island nation in the Central Pacific Ocean, is one of few countries in the world to have so far evaded the pandemic. But, while it has achieved a milestone with no recorded cases of COVID-19, its population of about 11,931 continues to battle food uncertainties and poor nutrition. These challenges, present long before the pandemic emerged, have been exacerbated by lockdown restrictions and economic hardships during the past year and a half.

Cook Islands Entrepreneur Develops Hydroponics Greenhouse to Boost Local Food Production

Finding ways to be smarter producers of food was a priority in small island developing states (SIDS) before the outbreak of Covid-19. Now the ideas of farmers and entrepreneurs, such as Piri Maao in the Cook Islands, are being avidly sought by governments and development bodies, which are keen to drive resilience and recovery as the pandemic moves into its second year.

Pacific Community Warns of Threat to Education Retention in the Wake of COVID-19

Before the pandemic, many Pacific Island countries grappled with low numbers of students completing secondary education. Now experts in the region are concerned that the closure of schools to contain the spread of COVID-19, and the economic downturn, will lead to even more students dropping out of education early.

Solutions to Food Insecurity Top Agenda in Meeting of Small Island Developing States

The urgency of finding solutions to the most pressing development challenges of our times has increased as the Covid-19 pandemic threatens to reverse the global momentum in recent years toward achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). And small island developing states (SIDS), with their physical remoteness, restricted land and resources and dependence on trade and tourism, are experiencing growing hardship caused by closed borders and plummeting economies.

Papua New Guinea Battles COVID-19 and Health Workers’ Vaccine Scepticism

Papua New Guinea (PNG), like many other Pacific Island countries, successfully held COVID-19 at bay last year, aided by early shutting of national borders. However, by March this year, the pandemic was surging in the most populous Pacific Island nation, and by July, it had reported 17,282 cases of the virus and 175 fatalities.

– Mining giant Rio Tinto Face Environmental, Human Rights Complaint in Papua New Guinea –

On the occasion of World Environment Day, 5 June 2021, drawing from IPS’s bank of features and opinion editorials published this year, we are re-publishing one article a day, for the next two weeks. The original article was published on January 4 2021

Pacific Islanders Turn to Local Economies to Drive Post-pandemic Recovery

While Pacific Island countries have, so far, been spared a catastrophic spread of COVID-19, their economies have been devastated by the effects of border closures, internal lockdowns and the demise of international tourism and trade. With the global pandemic far from over, Pacific Islanders are looking to their local and regional economies to drive resilience and recovery.

Mining giant Rio Tinto Face Environmental, Human Rights Complaint in Papua New Guinea

Local communities in the vicinity of the abandoned Panguna copper mine, have taken decisive action to hold the global mining multinational, Rio Tinto, accountable for alleged environmental and human rights violations during the mine’s operations between 1972 and 1989.

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