Pacific news in brief for September 10


Dumping of mining waste into the Bismarck Sea would threaten coastal communities in PNG

An environmental activist from Papua New Guinea says dumping mining waste in the Bismarck Sea would threaten the well-being of coastal communities.

Peter Bosip of the Center for Environmental Law and Community Rights was speaking after new Morobe provincial governor Luther Wenge said the provincial government would drop all legal challenges to the Wafi-Golpu mine in the future, it seemed give the green light to the new mine to dump its tailings at sea.

Wenge said the revenue generated will allow him to pay for free education for the province’s youth.

But Bosip said what local communities have been asking for is that the company and the national government come up with an alternative solution to dumping the waste – one that does not harm the livelihoods of coastal communities.

“OK, let’s say the sea is polluted and the communities that depend on this marine resource and environment find their own means of survival.

The government will think about national income – this is not the way to go. People’s lives are very important. They have to find an alternative solution and it depends on the government and the developers,” he said.

The commissioning of the copper and gold mine is one of the goals of the national government as it looks for ways to revive the economy.

Jean-François Carenco, Minister Delegate for Overseas Territories, begins a five-day official visit to New Caledonia

Jean-François Carenco, Minister Delegate for French Overseas, begins a five-day official visit to New Caledonia today – the first ministerial visit since the formation of a new French government in the presidential election of may.

Carenco is due to meet with a cross section of political leaders to discuss the way forward after last December’s controversial referendum on independence from France, which saw another no vote.

Overseas Minister Jean-François Carenco

He is expected to help restore dialogue between the rival camps as the separatists have said they will only discuss the territory’s accession to full sovereignty.

Paris wants a new vote in June on a new status for New Caledonia within France, but the separatists refuse to recognize the result of the referendum as the legitimate expression of the will of the people to decolonize.

A key point of contention is the composition of the electoral roll for local elections, which the 1998 Noumea Accord limited to indigenous Kanaks and long-term residents.

The anti-independenceists called for the role to be opened up to newcomers from France while the independenceists ruled out any change.

The Customary Senate of New Caledonia elects its new president

The Customary Senate of New Caledonia has elected a new president for a one-year term.

During a congress in Canala, Hugues Vhemavhe is chosen to replace Yvon Kona.

The Senate brings together the traditional representatives of the Kanak councils of 16 regions and is competent for legislative proposals concerning Kanak identity.

It was created by the Nouméa Accord of 1998, which was supposed to be the roadmap to independence for New Caledonia.

After the third referendum on independence from France last December, boycotted by the Kanak side, the Senate unsuccessfully pressured Paris to annul the result.

The Direction Générale de l’Aviation Civile announces a company to manage the international airport of Tahiti

The French Directorate General of Civil Aviation has announced that the operating contract for the international airport of French Polynesia in Tahiti has been awarded to Vinci Airports.

This was confirmed by the French Polynesian government, which said the territory will own 49% of the shares, with Vinci Airports agreeing to retain the existing workforce.

The contract is for 40 years.

However, the decision is already being challenged by an unsuccessful bidder, CCISM, which is confident that a court will overturn the contract award.

Vinci Airports, which manages 53 airports around the world, is based near Paris.

Tahiti airport has faced capacity constraints as more US carriers line up to fly to French Polynesia.

SPC releases Pacific Islands Literature and Numeracy Assessment Report

The Pacific Islands Literature and Numeracy Assessment Report for 2021, which shows the need for improvements in both categories, was released last Thursday.

Led by the Pacific Community or SPC, this long-term evaluation has been running for ten years.

SPC said 40,000 children in grades four and six, from across the region, were assessed last year.

The regional body said data on literacy and numeracy performance, together with the broader information provided by students, allows for a better understanding of learner needs in the South Pacific.

Student performance fell in most areas in the 2021 assessment compared to the previous exercise in 2018.

The SPC said the exception was fourth-grade writing performance, which increased.

He said the decreases could be due to external or regional factors in the years between 2019 and 2021 affecting student performance.

Average numeracy performance fell more than reading and writing performance, and this was the case for fourth and sixth graders.


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