Development Policy

The South Pacific Island states have rather diverse political systems and populations. Their developmental stages vary greatly. Nonetheless, they face similar challenges, including human and state security, natural disasters and resource scarcity.

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The Boe Declaration on Regional Security issued by the Pacific Islands Forum leaders’ meeting in 2018 reaffirms that climate change remains the single greatest threat to the region. There is also rising strategic competition for supremacy by major powers. China’s growing influence has triggered the United States and its regional allies Australia, New Zealand and Japan to develop closer ties with the region.

The German Government has also decided to strengthen its engagement with the Indo-Pacific (including Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific). Under the recently released Guidelines for this region, Germany inter alia seeks to intensify its cooperation with regional institutions. To this end, the German Government commits to send high-level representatives to summit meetings and to promote additional projects as a dialogue partner of the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF).

An exchange of government and non-government actors in the region may help to understand the complex dynamics, however, it cannot substitute the sustainable dialogue with the Pacific Island states themselves. Sustainable development and security is impossible without stable democracies, which, in turn, are impossible without the rule of law. Accordingly, KAS Australia seeks to address a range of development policy issues with a focus on the United Nations’ sustainable development goals (Agenda 2030), in particular, peace, justice and strong institutions (SDG 16). More precisely, we seek to promote good governance, institution and capacity building and regional integration as well as the development of inclusive political parties and the rule of law throughout the region. Our Periscope Series regularly includes voices from the South Pacific in order to foster the dialogue and to increase the collaboration between Germany, the European Union and the South Pacific region.

Analysis Briefs

Digital Lens

Digital Snapshot

by Eva U Wagner

TONGA – General Elections

The Kingdom of Tonga held general elections on 18 November 2021. Tonga - a constitutional monarchy - has a unicameral Parliament (Legislative Assembly) (Fale Alea) with 26 seats. 17 seats are reserved for democratically elected representatives; 9 seats are chosen by the noble families amongst themselves. This year, more than 60,000 registered voters were called upon to elect their representatives from 72 candidates, including 12 women. Voters must be aged 21 or over and be in Tonga to be eligible to vote.

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Digital Snapshot

by Eva U Wagner

FIJI – New Head of State (President)

The current Head of State’s, His Excellency Major-General (Ret’d) Jioji Konusi Konrote, term comes to an end this month after he served the maximum of 2 consecutive terms provided for under the 2013 Constitution of the Republic of Fiji - Laws of Fiji. President Konrote was the first non-iTaukei president to be elected by Parliament. Earlier presidents were elected by the Great Council of Chiefs, a constitutional body abolished (turned into an aristocratic body with no powers) in 2012 by former military dictator turned prime minister Frank Bainimarama. The election of Ratu Wiliame Katonivere is said to show the respect that people still have for the chiefly system.

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Digital Snapshot

by Eva U Wagner

SAMOA – A FAST End to an Era of Political Dominance?

In Samoa, events have unfolded thick and fast since the general election held on 9 April. In order to understand them, some basic details are needed.

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Digital Snapshot

by Eva U Wagner

SAMOA – General Elections

The Independent State of Samoa held general elections on 9 April. Voters were called upon to elect the 17th Parliament (Parlamene) from just under 200 candidates representing five parties plus a dozen independents. The unofficial election result sees both major parties with 25 seats each in the 51-seat parliament, meaning the only independent candidate may play the role of kingmaker.

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Digital Snapshot

by Eva U Wagner

TUVALU – Digital Transformation

Tuvalu, one of the world's smallest independent nations, comprises nine low-lying coral atolls. Half of its estimated population of 11,000 lives in the capital Funafuti. Apart from climate change and rising sea levels, with only one ATM and no online banking, accessing cash ranks amongst its biggest issues. In response, the government is considering the introduction of blockchain technology. The objective is for the country to become a paperless society, with all of its legislative, executive and financial data stored online in a public ledger. The idea is also to replace its cash economy with a new digital currency, rather than using one of the cryptocurrencies currently available.

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Digital Snapshot

by Eva U Wagner

FEDERATED STATES OF MICRONESIA – General Elections

The Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) held general elections on 2 March 2021. Of the unicameral Congress’ 14 seats, ten were available. In the absence of political parties, all candidates stood as independents for the two-year parliamentary term.

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Digital Snapshot

by Eva U Wagner

PACIFIC ISLANDS FORUM – Regionalism in Crisis

Since 2014, the Pacific Islands Forum’s work is guided by the Framework for Regionalism, which sets out the strategic vision, values, objectives and approaches to achieve deeper integration in the region. The Framework defines regionalism as:

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Digital Snapshot

by Eva U Wagner

NEW ZEALAND – APEC 2021

The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) is hosted by New Zealand this year under the theme Join. Work. Grow. Together. The economic and trade forum was kicked off by way of informal senior officials’ meetings between 9 and 11 December 2020. For the first time in the forum’s history, all meetings will be held virtually. While the host country’s decision to go virtual is comprehensible with a view to the ongoing pandemic, it has given rise to cybersecurity concerns.

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Digital Snapshot

by Eva U Wagner

PACER plus

The Pacific Agreement On Closer Economic Relations (PACER) Plus is due to come into force on 13 December 2020. Eleven years after the negotiations commenced and three years after they concluded, the Agreement was signed by Australia, New Zealand and nine Pacific Island countries. Of the signatories, nine countries have ratified it: Australia, New Zealand, Samoa, Kiribati, Tonga, Solomon Islands, Niue and the Cook Islands. Nauru, Tuvalu and Vanuatu have signed the Agreement but not yet ratified it. Neither Fiji nor Papua New Guinea, the two largest economies in the Pacific, have signed the Agreement to date.

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Digital Snapshot

by Eva U Wagner

PAPUA NEW GUINEA

Papua New Guinea (PNG) is a constitutional monarchy and member of the Commonwealth of Nations. Head of State is Queen Elizabeth II, currently represented by Governor General Sir Bob Dadae. Since 2019, the government is led by Prime Minister (PM) James Marape. PNG’s unicameral national parliament has more than 100 members who are elected for five year terms. They nominate the governor general, who is then appointed by the British monarch, and the prime minister, who in turn appoints the ministers of the cabinet.

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Interview

The Hon Julie Bishop discusses key ingredients for a secure, open, stable and prosperous Indo-Pacific.

Interested in diplomacy, geoeconomics and cooperation in the Indo-Pacific? Tune into this video with Australia’s former Foreign Minister of Australia and current Chancellor of the Australian National University who answers some questions we posed to her as a contribution to the 5th German-Asian Business Dialogue.…

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Digital Snapshot

By Eva U Wagner

Pacific Islands Forum – Candidates for Secretary General

The Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) was founded in 1971 and describes itself as the region’s premier political and economic policy organisation. The Forum has 18 members including Australia and New Zealand. There are 14 independent island states (the Cook Islands – in a free association with New Zealand, Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, the Marshall Islands, Samoa, the Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu), two non-self-governing territories administered by France (New Caledonia and French Polynesia) and one associate member (Tokelau).

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Digital Snapshot

By Eva U Wagner

South Pacific Update

Six months into the Covid-19 pandemic warrant an update on the situation in the South Pacific. Let’s take a look at the case numbers first, using Australia, Germany and New Zealand as benchmarks.

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Contributors