Millions of poor people in the Pacific face hunger and poverty this year and next because of droughts and erratic rains as global temperatures reach new records, and because of the onset of a powerful El Niño – the climate phenomenon that develops in the tropical Pacific and brings extreme weather to several regions of the world. The combination of record warmth one year followed by an El Niño the next is unique and the climatic implications are uncertain. If 2016 follows a similar pattern, we are entering uncharted waters.
Sustainable development that reduces poverty and inequalities in the Pacific is realistic and achievable, but a continuing challenge is ensuring that development strategies are inclusive of those most in need. Oxfam New Zealand initiated this research to deepen our understanding of the contribution that New Zealand businesses currently make to sustainable development in the Pacific. [PDF, 780 kb]
Pacific Island peoples are already feeling the effects of climate change. Living in one of the world’s most vulnerable regions to climate impacts, Pacific communities face no option but to adapt if they are to build a resilient future. But adaptation poses different challenges from aid programmes and the delivery of public services.
The tiny island Kingdom of Tonga in the South Pacific is about to make history, by joining the WTO on what are arguably the worst terms ever offered to any country. The appalling terms of Tonga’s accession package show that nothing has changed in the way the world’s smallest and most vulnerable economies are treated as they seek to join the WTO. It is a further demonstration that the fine words of the Doha Development Agenda mean nothing when pitted against the commercial interests of the world’s richest countries.
A decade after applying to join the WTO, after long and difficult negotiations, the Tongan government is facing the decision of whether to sign up to join the WTO. This paper looks at key issues in that decision, and concerns over the terms of the deal that Tonga has negotiated so far. An overall comment is that Tonga is being asked to make commitments that go well beyond those of existing WTO members at similar levels of development. It is even being asked to do more than the richest members in some areas.