Welcome to the September newsletter
It has been a very busy month, with lots going on around our region. It has also been a busy time for TNC Pacific Consulting as I have been working with a number of clients to progress several projects.
As part of my work with the Pacific Media Assistance Scheme (PACMAS) I travelled to Honiara in Solomon Islands. There, I facilitated a workshop on ‘media and the law’ for journalists, broadcasters, editors and communications specialists. It was my 3rd visit to Honiara since 2000 and a good opportunity to catch up with old friends and make new ones to add to my networks. I was reminded once again of how each Pacific island country is very distinct with its own culture, economic outlook and political environment. Investment in nuanced research and analysis will assist those who want to work in these exciting and challenging environments.
My work with Pacific Islands Trade and Invest has given me an opportunity to learn and think about alternative financing instruments that may be able to support private sector development in our region. Modalities such as impact investing are well established in other parts of the world and we can expect the Pacific to become more significant for investors looking to expand their portfolios. They and their intermediaries will benefit from investing in detailed knowledge and profiling at national, sectoral and business level.
It was great to join the Coffee & Controversy team early in the month to discuss women’s voices and representation in public life and decision-making in Vanuatu. A couple of weeks later, we discussed the importance of sport for our country.
Matthew Dornan and I often co-write on Pacific regionalism and usually we do that from separate countries and different time zones. But on a chilly day in September we got to sit in the same room and put together our analysis of what did (and did not) happen at the Pacific Islands Forum leaders’ meeting in the Federated States of Micronesia. You can read what we had to say here and you can hear Matt discussing the issues we raised with Pacific Beat here.
The main reason for my visit to Canberra was to take part in the ‘State of the Pacific’ conference hosted by the Australian National University. It was a great opportunity to catch up with a number of my Pacific colleagues to discuss politics and more, with particular focus on what might lie ahead at the sub-regional and regional levels. My presentation was part of a panel on ‘The New Pacific Diplomacy’ and was entitled ‘MSG – is the renaissance over?’ You can see the slides from my presentation here and if you would like to hear a podcast of our panel session, you can download it here.
Pacific island leaders joined their global colleagues for the United Nations General Assembly. Prime Minister Bainimarama used his address to flag (or, more accurately, restate a shift in foreign policy for his country. I discussed the possible implications of this with Pacific Beat.