6 November 2019
Solomon Islands: What are the prospects for new seasonal work opportunities abroad?
Given the high unemployment rate in the Solomon Islands and the high regard expressed in the past by employers of Solomon Islands workers in places like New Zealand, what seasonal work opportunities are currently on offer, or likely to arise in the next year or so?
I raise the issue following some expected good news for Samoa which was relayed by Radio New Zealand in a bulletin today, Wednesday, from which I quote:
“Samoa's government is anticipating hundreds of new seasonal work opportunities abroad for its citizens over the next year or two.
“The Minister of Commerce, Industry and Labour, Lautafi Fio Selafi Purcell, has predicted at least 600 new seasonal job openings for Samoans in New Zealand.
“That comes as New Zealand looks to increase the cap on numbers of seasonal workers by over 3000 to 16,000 over the next two years.
“Samoa has about 2500 workers on New Zealand's Recognised Seasonal Employer scheme.
“Lautafi is also enthused about new opportunities in Australia's Pacific Labour Scheme, Talamua reports.
“Two-hundred Samoans are to be interviewed for possible recruitment, and could join 55 Samoans already working in Australia under the scheme.
“The scheme is separate from Australia's Seasonal Workers Programme, which currently provides 648 jobs for Samoans.
“Another 100 Samoan workers were expected to join the programme soon, Lautafi said.”
More than 1000 WW2 munitions destroyed in Solomons
Quoting Radio New Zealand – 6 November 2019
“The New Zealand Defence Force bomb disposal team has helped collect and destroy more than 1000 unexploded World War Two-era munitions in Solomon Islands.
“Lieutenant Shaun Heaslip said the Australian Defence Force-led deployment, called Operation Render Safe, had been a success.
“Removing the bombs would make a difference for the people of the New Georgia Islands in Western Province, he said.
“The NZDF personnel were split into Maritime (Clearance Divers) and Land teams and operated in different areas on land and in the water. One of the most surprising finds was located by the Land team.
"The Land team travelled to a small coastal village, home to one of the regional Solomon Island police officers who had offered his family property as a location for the night," Mr Heaslip said.
"Upon arriving at the village a small child mentioned she knew of some potential unexploded ordnance and that her father had sent her to tell the New Zealanders.
"They followed the little girl three kilometres into the jungle and to their surprise found a Japanese 70mm anti-aircraft gun position with three guns intact," he said.
"Placed around the guns were three live 70mm high explosive shells and one hand grenade. The little girl was thanked and the items were removed for disposal."
Copyright @ 2019, Radio New Zealand
6 November 2019
Climate Change, Conflict, and Peacebuilding in the Solomon Islands
Under the broad heading of climate change, conflict and peacebuilding in the Solomon Islands, the Solomon Times on Line published an interesting article today, Wednesday, taken from a paper by Kate Higgins and Josiah Maesua, based on a Toda Peace Institute Policy Brief. https://www.newsecuritybeat.org/.
The article began by saying, ‘Today, a number of locations within the Solomon Islands are facing immediate and direct climate change impacts such as sea-level rise and food and water insecurity.”
The authors of the paper believe that local leadership is one key factor that impacts a community’s capacity to adapt to the effects of climate change, but they made mention of five other key factors and I will quote the full article.
“Meaningful engagement with the social and conflict implications of climate change in Solomon Islands must be firmly grounded within local worldviews—within Solomon Islanders’ physical, economic, political, and social and spiritual worlds.
“As we note in a recent policy brief for the Toda Peace Institute, when addressing conflict challenges exacerbated or caused by climate change, approaches should be draw upon community understandings of what constitutes peace and justice.
“The mostly rural, small-scale communities in Solomon Islands—an archipelago of nearly 1,000 islands in the southwestern Pacific Ocean—have coped with climate variability and extreme weather events for centuries, successfully maintaining levels of well-being in highly unpredictable environments.
“Their continued survival through years of colonialism, capitalism, religious missions, war, and conflict testify to Solomon Islanders’ adaptive capacity. Many island communities continue to draw upon a combination of indigenous and introduced practices to adapt to such changes, including those exacerbated by current rapid environmental change.
“When considering the conflict impacts of climate change and the potential opportunities for peacebuilding, it is important to take these local adaptive capacities seriously and recognize the ways in which local leaders employ locally embedded “everyday peacebuilding” mechanisms in their communities. At the same time, communities continue to interact with the modern institutions surrounding them, mixing indigenous and introduced practices to achieve relative peace and stability at the community level.
“Given climate change’s significant impact upon rural livelihoods and internal migration and therefore with associated conflict drivers, how do governments, civil society, policymakers, and external actors help prevent and mitigate conflict in ways that recognize and align with the worldviews of community members? And how can outsiders draw upon local adaptive capacities and avoid creating conflict over the delivery of external forms of aid and development?
“Among the six key recommendations we make, first, we suggest that communities need to be supported with dialogue that acknowledges the many dimensions of social life which intersect with climate change—including spiritual, relational, political, economic dimensions. Second, existing local institutions should be used to align external approaches with local adaptive capacity. This means it’s better to avoid establishing new adaptation or disaster project committees at the community level. Instead it is better to engage with local institutions such as churches, chiefly leadership, elders and other customary forms of leadership, women, youth representatives, and local service providers such as teachers and health workers, in order to ground approaches within existing structures and avoid creating conflict, which is often associated with externally-introduced projects.
“Today, a number of locations within the Solomon Islands are facing immediate and direct climate change impacts such as sea-level rise and food and water insecurity. Climate change may exacerbate existing drivers of conflict across the country. These include the management of land and resources, which are also tied to conflict legacies and intergenerational trauma associated with the civil conflict that took place from 1998 to 2003. While it is a mistake to make direct links between current conflict drivers in Solomon Islands and the impacts of climate change, it is also a mistake to ignore how rapidly changing physical environments in Solomon Islands could erode peace and stability in community life, particularly where climate change impacts add stresses to the environment, or result in relocation.
“Local leadership is one key factor that impacts a community’s capacity to adapt to the effects of climate change, particularly given the slow speed and relatively limited capacity of government responses. For example, in the villages of East Kwaio in Malaita province local innovations in adaptation efforts to combat sea-level rise bring together indigenous leadership practices and knowledge of the natural environment as well as leadership from influential community members working in the health center. In another example, in the Western Province, indigenous leadership has helped to maintain fish catches, despite evidence of declining fish stocks due to climatic change, by changing the methods and/or the locations where community members fish.
“A second factor is the way that Christianity is practiced. The vast majority of Solomon Islanders are devout Christians. Hence, Christianity is a powerful force across Solomon Islands, although it informs different attitudes towards climate change. For example, in one village in Western Province, church leaders argue they are protected from climate change, as their village is a historically important Christian site. Conversely, members of the church in Ontong Java—low lying Polynesian atolls facing relocation in the north of the country—are actively speaking about climate change, running adaptation programs, and attempting to mediate national conversations about the need to relocate.
“A third key factor is different community members’ perceptions of what climate change is. While the academic and policy worlds understand the problem to be a technical one, explained by scientific evidence, it is likely that villagers comprehend changing environments in a far more holistic sense. Local cosmologies—beliefs relating to the origins and future of the world— are likely to form the foundation within which such perceptions sit. Therefore, conflict-sensitive strategies that aim to address issues of climate change adaptation must not only incorporate, but also respect and value community perceptions of environmental change, rather than solely understanding it as solely scientific.
“Fourth, externally-led secular adaptation projects, standardized solutions and short project-cycles often do not give external actors (including locally engaged staff and volunteers) enough time to walk alongside community members throughout the project processes. This omission can lead to a failure to understand the complexity of contexts and conflict dynamics within each community. It also may reinforce the erroneous idea that outsiders alone have the solutions to fix the problems arising from climate change impacts. This effect in turn can easily create dependency on outsiders—referred to throughout Solomon Islands as a “hand-out mentality.”
“To avoid these negative effects—which themselves may lead to conflict—and to achieve a broad consensus about the need to prevent conflict and how to do this, we recommend an inclusive approach that takes local perspectives and knowledge into account. Rather than seeing state institutions and external actors as both solely responsible for, or able to, “fix” conflict effects, a focus on the relationship between communities and external actors is needed. This will allow approaches that seek to address conflict challenges exacerbated or caused by climate change to be centered within community understandings of what constitutes peace and justice.
6 November 2019
Solomon Islands: Importance placed on the need for working together in the attainment of national developments
A Government delegation to Malaita yesterday, which was led by the Deputy Prime Minister, Manasseh Maelanga, reportedly held two separate meetings in Auki.
“Working together is the way forward to development in Malaita.” (DPM M Maelanga)
The first meeting with MPA’s Chiefs and church representatives went off well, but it has been claimed the second meeting which was a public forum to give details of the new SINO-SI relationship met with some opposition and hostility from those attending.
But not all attendees reacted in such a manner and the Deputy Prime Minister reportedly said working together was the way forward to the development of Malaita.
He said all projects that come down to the province come through the national government, stating why it is important for the province to work together with the national government to achieve its development goals.
The Deputy Prime Minister announced that the Bina Harbour development and the construction of a new hospital for Malaita are projects that have been lined up for the province.
He added that the United States had offered to support the Bina Harbour development while Japan had offered to build a new hospital.
Dolphin died from 'cocktail' of heavy metals in PNG
Quoting Radio New Zealand – 6 November 2019
“Samples taken from a dolphin that washed up dead on Papua New Guinea's Rai Coast have revealed very high concentrations of heavy metals.
“The samples were taken by a team led by Swiss scientist Alex Mojon, who was hired by the Madang Provincial government after a slurry spill from the Ramu nickel mine in August.
“The samples were analysed at a laboratory in Germany, NBC News PNG reports.
“The results show concentrations of nickel, zinc, manganese, mercury, copper, chrome and chromium above allowable levels.
“Dr Mojon said it was clear the dolphin died from being poisoned by a "cocktail" of heavy metals.
“Samples sent to Germany also revealed the presence of heavy metals in food crops in gardens within the vicinity of the mine.
“More samples will be collected next week.”
Copyright @ 2019, Radio New Zealand.