Republished from Radio New Zealand, 5 September 2018

Four key regional agencies have signed a deal with the European Union to help promote sustainable management and sound ocean governance in the Pacific.

Pacific Ocean, Cook Islands. Credit: RNZI

The agencies, the Forum Fisheries Agency, the Pacific Community, the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme and the University of the South Pacific, have signed the deal this week in Nauru.

Called, the Pacific-European Union Marine Partnership Programme, it will address, among other things, the depletion of fish resources and the threat to marine biodiversity, including climate change and disasters.

EU representative Jean-Louis Ville said there was an urgent need to act.

“We trust that we are now at the right time to form a joint alliance and coalition on issues related to international ocean governance for which the Pacific European programme will form a very solid foundation,” he said.

The five year programme is funded by the European Union providing $US40.5 million ($NZ61.8 million) and the government of Sweden $US11.6m ($NZ17.7m).

It will be used to support regional and national level activities in the Pacific.

US extends military spending in Pacific

The United States said it planned to give $US7m in military spending to Papua New Guinea, Fiji and Tonga.

Speaking in Nauru, US Secretary for Interior Ryan Zinke said the money would support training equipment and other security co-operation priorities identified by these Pacific nations.

In addition, the US will provide $US750,000 a year in international military exercise and training to PNG, Fiji, Tonga and Samoa to support training for military and police forces.

The US will also assist PNG with harbour security during APEC in Port Moresby in November.

It is part of the $US290m commitment by the US to support foreign militaries in the Indo-Pacific region.

Following concerns raised by the Pacific Islands Forum last year, the US offered to support Pacific Islands countries implement the United Nations Security Council sanctions on North Korea.

Australia offers new assistance to Nauru

Australia has announced new assistance to Nauru to help fight disease, empower women and support next year’s elections.

Canberra’s providing an extra $US1.01m to help fight non-communicable diseases like diabetes and heart disease.

Another $US720,000 will go towards supporting women’s empowerment over the next three years.

Nearly half a million will go towards building up the Nauru Electoral Office in a programme which New Zealand is also funding.

Australia said the plan was to create a better-informed electorate and implement more transparent and inclusive electoral processes.

The extra assistance was announced on the sidelines of the Pacific Islands Forum meeting in Nauru.

All up, Australia’s planning to spend more than $US18.6m to support Nauru in the coming year.

NZ-Japan cooperation

New Zealand and Japan are to work together to ensure the success of the Pacific Climate Change Centre in Samoa.

New Zealand foreign minister Winston Peters says New Zealand is committed to supporting climate change action across the Pacific and it sees the Pacific Climate Change Centre as a key regional institution.

He says the Climate Change Centre will help Pacific nations combat the impacts of climate change over the coming decades.

The centre is already under construction at the Apia campus of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community Environment Programme in Apia and expected to open in the middle of next year.

Mr Peters says New Zealand is putting up US$1.96 million dollars for the centre.