Vanuatu signs PACER Plus Agreement

Prime Minister Salwai signs the PACER Plus agreement this morning at the Pacific Islands Forum Leaders' Meeting in Apia, Samoa. Photo: Pacific Islands Forum

Prime Minister Salwai signs the PACER Plus agreement this morning at the Pacific Islands Forum Leaders’ Meeting in Apia, Samoa. Photo: Pacific Islands Forum

Prime Minister Hon Charlot Salwai Tabimasmas today signed the PACER Plus agreement in Apia, Samoa.

PM Salwai said that by signing the PACER Plus, Vanuatu is Read the rest of this entry »

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Australian coal is sinking our Pacific islands

Coal burning power station. Coal is the dirtiest fossil fuel and a major conributor to climate change. File photo/Pixabay

Australia, the world’s largest coal exporter, is actively trying to undermine the Pacific islands by continuing to promote coal – the dirtiest of the fossil fuels that are driving the world’s warming climate. 

As Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull prepares to meet with his island counterparts this week in Apia, Samoa, Pacific civil society groups say Australia’s promotion of coal puts their communities at risk.

Pacific island countries, including some of the world’s most vulnerable low-lying islands, are demanding greater ambition to tackle climate change and renewed political commitment to the 2015 Paris Agreement.

The Vanuatu flag flies at a 2014 blockade of Australian coal export port Newcastle by Pacific islanders campaigning against climate change. Photo: 350.org

The Vanuatu flag flies at a 2014 blockade of Australian coal export port Newcastle by Pacific islanders campaigning against climate change. Photo: 350.org

On Thursday, Pacific Islands Forum leaders will consider a ‘united’ Pacific voice to take to the COP23 climate negotiations in November.  At those talks – to be held in Bonn, Germany – the world’s eyes will be on the Pacific as Fiji takes over as president of the UN climate negotiations, the first time a small island developing state has held this important role.

However, members of the Pacific Islands Climate Action Network (PICAN) say there is a low probability of an authentic ‘united’ Pacific voice being forged in Apia, with Australia’s presence and economic interests being historically responsible for watering-down regional climate declarations.

Australia’s continued promotion of coal – the dirtiest of the fossil fuels that are driving the world’s warming climate — jeopardises negotiation outcomes, and ultimately the safety of the entire Pacific region.

Maina Talia, from the Tuvalu Climate Action Network (TuCAN), said Pacific island leaders Read the rest of this entry »


Vanuatu Govt backs down on PACER Plus, agrees to sign—with conditions

An aerial view of the newly launched VIla seafront beautifications. Photo: @EIF4LDCs/Twitter

An aerial view of the newly launched VIla seafront beautifications. Photo: @EIF4LDCs/Twitter

Vanuatu will be signing the PACER Plus Agreement with Australia and New Zealand at the Pacific Islands Forum meeting in Apia this week. The Council of Ministers changed their minds on 30 August. The reversal comes with conditions: one is Read the rest of this entry »


Port Vila’s sanitation gets big upgrade courtesy of Vanuatu and Australian Governments and ADB

The launch of the new sewage processing facility at Bouffa, Efate, yesterday. Photo: AHC

The new sewage treatment facility, part of the Port Vila Urban Development Project (PVUDP) was officially opened at Bouffa, Efate, yesterday. Photo: Australian High Commission

A pioneering sewage treatment facility was officially opened yesterday by the Minister of Infrastructure Jotham Napat and Australian High Commissioner Jenny Da Rin, together with the acting Port Vila Mayor and Director of the Asian Development Bank Emma Veve. Funded by the governments of Vanuatu and Australia along with a Vt 516 million Read the rest of this entry »


Ni-Vanuatu businesswomen: apply now to take part in Women Trading Globally awards

All ni-Vanuatu women business owners are invited to participate in a short course ‘Australia Awards: Women Trading Globally’.

The course is offered to Pacific women with their own business who have the potential to become ‘export ready’, and is offered by Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, in partnership with the Export Council of Australia.

This program will enable you to grow your business and expand internationally. During the course participants will:

  • learn about doing business in and with Australia
  • connect with other women entrepreneurs from across the Pacific and Australia
  • enable you to grow your business and expand internationally.

This two-week residential Australia Awards short course is funded by the Australian Government. The inaugural course is scheduled for 12‒24 November in Brisbane and Sydney. All costs (flights, accommodation, incidentals, study fees) are funded by the Australian Government.

For more information, program dates and eligibility requirements, please visit this website, and also download these two forms:

Please complete the attached application form and return it to  Read the rest of this entry »


Shipload of potentially contaminated Chinese gravel banned from entering Vanuatu

File image of asphalt being laid over aggregate. Photo: US Govt

File image of asphalt being laid over aggregate to build a runway. Photo: US Govt

A ship carrying aggregate gravel for the runway extensions at Bauerfield has been blocked from unloading because of the biologically unsafe status of gravel from its country of origin, China. The company responsible for the shipment, the giant China Civil Engineering and Construction Company (CCECC), was advised of the countries from which such material could be easily obtained when their successful bid was announced—Fiji, New Caledonia, Australia and New Zealand. China is blacklisted for the supply of gravel because it has foot and mouth disease. If foot and mouth disease arrived here, it would quickly destroy Vanuatu’s valuable beef export industry. The pork industry would also be affected. The Director of Biosecurity, Timothy Tumukon, has advised the aggregate material cannot be unloaded here. The Council of Ministers agrees. The ship is moored in Mele Bay. It will unload equipment needed on the runway project starting Thursday. However, the aggregate must remain on board. (Daily Post)

Australia’s newly appointed Ambassador for the Environment, Patrick Suckling, is presently in Port Vila on a familiarisation visit. He is responsible for Australia’s diplomacy around Read the rest of this entry »


Virgin coconut oil production gets a boost on Ambrym

coconut

With Australian Government assistance through TVET and the local virgin coconut oil production company, Bella Trading Vanuatu on Ambrym island is improving both quality and quantity of virgin coconut oil production. The Department of Industry has been training in the use of cold press machines given to communities through Australia’s Direct Assistance Programme. Upskilling is going ahead apace. TVET has been especially supportive of Ambrym women trying hard to improve their management skills.

Agriculture Minister Matai Seremaiah gave his advice on Read the rest of this entry »