State of the Pacific 2018

KarKar Meris

Department of Pacific Affairs’ biennial State of the Pacific (SOTP) conference will take place from 10-12 September 2018 at the Australian National University in Canberra. A Pacific Research Program flagship event, SOTP2018 will again bring together leading academics, policymakers, business leaders, civil society representatives and the media to present on, discuss and debate current issues of interest concerning the Pacific Islands region.

The conference will take place immediately following this year’s Pacific Islands Forum meeting and will therefore be the first opportunity to reflect collectively on the outcomes of this year’s Leaders’ Meeting.

The Pacific Islands Forum Secretary General, Dame Meg Taylor will deliver a keynote address. Her address will be followed by a panel discussion with senior representatives of the Pacific diplomatic community in Canberra.

The conference will involve presentation of new research and analysis from DPA scholars and a number of other eminent figures and scholars from the Pacific. It will generate discussion on the factors shaping the forward-looking research agenda on the Pacific Islands region.

SOTP2018 will address a range of topics, organised under broad themes including:

  • Issues of region-wide relevance, such as Pacific regional security and “Biketawa Plus”; Pacific resilience; labour mobility; Pacific criminology; and extractive resource industries;
  • Issues of national politics and development, for example women’s leadership; upcoming referenda in New Caledonia and Bougainville; the 2017 National General Election in Papua New Guinea; management of constituency development funds in Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea; and the economy and decentralisation in Papua New Guinea; and
  • Issues concerning people and communities, including young people in the Pacific; gender-based violence; economic empowerment; and experiences of reporting and writing on the Pacific.

The conference will celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the University of the South Pacific, one of ANU’s key partners in the region. The SOTP program will also include a special The Little Red Podcast episode on China in the Pacific.

The conference program is available here.

Registration for the conference is now open. Please register here.

Graeme Smith - Fellow

Email - graeme.smith@anu.edu.au

Phone - + 61 2 6125 6575

Hannah McMahon - Program Manager

Hannah McMahon - Program Manager

Email - hannah.mcmahon@anu.edu.au

Phone - +61 2 6125 8394

Tanuj Parakh - Program Support Officer

Tanuj Parakh - Program Support Officer

Email - tanuj.parakh@anu.edu.au

Phone - + 61 2 6125 8244

Getting and staying in touch

If you are unable to join us at the conference in person, we encourage you to submit questions to our panellist in advance of the conference. Follow us on twitter @anudpa and use #SOTP2018 in tweeting your question, or post your question to Facebook @DeparmentofPacificAffairs.

Venue

The conference will be held in HC Coombs Lecture Theatre (9), Fellows Road, Australian National University (ANU), and Hedley Bull Centre Lecture Theatre 1 (130), Garran Road, ANU. A full ANU campus map can be found at anu.edu.au/maps.

Getting to the conference venue

By taxi

To book a taxi, phone one of the cab services:

Taxi Company - Canberra Elite

Phone Number - 13 22 27 or SMS your name, pick up address and time to be collected to 0417 672 773

Taxi Company - Cabxpress

Phone Number - 1300 222 977

Taxi Company - Silver Service

Phone Number - 13 31 00

Wheelchair Accessible Taxis - Phone ahead on 139 287 to arrange service

Irrespective of the company you use, the cost of a one-way taxi journey between the Canberra Airport and Hedley Bull Building will be in the vicinity of AU $35–$40 in light to moderate traffic — the fare is likely to be higher if the journey is taken between 2100 and 0600 or during morning and afternoon peak hours.

By bus

The Airport Express shuttle bus offers airport-city-airport services daily during peak periods. Other stops include Russell Offices (Department of Defence), National Convention Centre and YHA (Canberra City Youth Hostel). Cost is AU$12 one way and $20 return. Tickets can be purchased at the airport from the car park customer service office located opposite the bus stop or can be pre-booked at www.royalecoach.com.au or by calling 1300 368 897. The bus stop is located kerbside upon exiting the arrivals hall of the airport. For the Hedley Bull Building, get off the Airport Shuttle Service on West Row in the city centre. From there, take the number 3 local (Action) bus service (platform 7) or the number 7 Action bus service (platform 5) to Liversidge St, ANU. These local services depart roughly every half hour and a one way adult fare is $4.60.

Information on Canberra buses can be found here

Alternatively, you can walk from West Row in the city centre to the Hedley Bull Building, which will take roughly 15 minutes.

Parking

On–campus pay parking is from 8:00am–5:00pm, Monday to Friday. On–campus parking is free on Saturday. There are a number of carparks along Garran Road. For further information on parking locations please see: facilities.anu.edu.au/services/maps-and-way-finding.

WiFi

WIFI is available in Coombs Lecture Theatre and Hedley Bull Centre Lecture Theatres for conference attendees. Please select the ANU-Secure network and use the fol¬lowing details to log in.

(Please note that we will be making additions to this speaking list over the coming days.)

Regional Issues

Labour Mobility: Learn from the Past, Look to the Future

Through discussion of new investments and engagement, and presentation of new and long-term research, this session will explore opportunities and challenges for enhancing labour mobility in the Pacific. Through three new Australian-funded initiatives: the Pacific Labour Facility (PLF), the Pacific Labour Scheme (PLS) and the Australia-Pacific Training Coalition (APTC3), Australia is increasing its support for Pacific labour mobility. This session will provide introductions to those investments and hear findings of current research with direct implications for their implementation and possible outcomes. In particular, the findings of an exercise to map the origins of ni-Vanuatu workers participating in both the Australian Seasonal Worker Program and New Zealand’s Recognised Seasonal Employer Scheme (RSE) will be presented, as will research on different models governing labour mobility in labour sending countries. An update on a 10-year longitudinal study of the social and economic impacts of participation in the RSE scheme will also be presented.

Speakers: Rochelle Bailey (Chair), Research Fellow, Department of Pacific Affairs, ANU

Richard Curtain, Research Fellow, Development Policy Centre, ANU

Julie Rereman, Employment Service Unit, Department of Labour and Employment Service Unit, Vanuatu

Pacific Resilience: Broadening the Agenda

This panel will take a critical look at the practical implementation of programs and policies aimed at boosting resilience in the Pacific islands, and in particular measures that build the capacity of systems, communities and institutions to survive, adapt and prosper despite considerable environmental, economic and social challenges. How have these programs strengthened, and at times transformed, the dynamic systems in which they operate? When has there been resistance and when support? Speakers will explore what underpins successful initiatives associated with urban human settlements, capacity building programs, and rural and agricultural systems, critically examining how flag ship programs in the Pacific islands, and further afield, can help shape future pathways for stronger and more resilient societies.

Chair: Meg Keen, Senior Policy Fellow, Department of Pacific Affairs, ANU

Speakers: Bryant Allen, Honorary Associate Professor, Department of Pacific Affairs, ANU

David Sanderson, Inaugural Judith Neilson Chair, Faculty of Built Environment, UNSW

Fremden Shadrack, Team Leader, Vanuatu Skills Partnership

Celebrating 50 years of the University of the South Pacific

After 50 years as the premier university of the Pacific islands region, the University of the South Pacific (USP) has achieved much and is now one of the most successful regional organisations. This panel will briefly consider USP’s leading achievements, and then critically reflect on what the future holds and how the institution can maximise its value to the region. It promises to be a lively and insightful look not only at USP’s future, but possible future pathways for tertiary education in the South Pacific. The panel will be chaired by one of USP’s highly respected academics, A/Prof Sandra Tarte (Head of the School of Government, Development and International Affairs) and draw on the considerable wisdom of leading USP academics.

Chair: Sandra Tarte, Head of the School of Government, Development and International Affairs, USP

Speakers: Glenn Finau, PhD Candidate, School of Business, USP

Stewart Firth, Fellow, Department of Pacific Affairs, ANU

Joeli Veitayaki, Head of the School of Marine Studies, Faculty of Science, Technology and Environment, USP

Biketawa Plus What? The Future of Regional Security Cooperation in the Pacific

The Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI) was conducted under the auspices of the Pacific Islands Forum’s Biketawa Declaration, agreed in 2000. According to the PIF, the Biketawa Declaration ‘outlines guiding principles for good governance and courses of action for a regional response to crises in the region’. Following the conclusion of RAMSI in mid-2017, Pacific leaders asked the question: where do we go now on regional security cooperation? In turn, this raised questions such as: what lessons have we learned from RAMSI? What does ‘security’ mean in a Pacific islands context and how should regional cooperation in the area of security develop and evolve? These issues (given the shorthand of ‘Biketawa Plus’) were expected to figure prominently on the agenda of the annual PIF summit in Nauru in September 2018. Meanwhile, Australia’s Foreign Policy White Paper, issued in November 2017, declared an ambition ‘to integrate Pacific countries into … our security institutions’; a new Australia Pacific Security College was announced in the White Paper although the details of this initiative remain sketchy. What is the future of security cooperation in the Pacific Islands in an era of strategic flux in the region? Can Australia maintain its self-declared role as “the natural partner of choice” for Pacific Island countries?

Chair: James Batley, Distinguished Policy Fellow, Department of Pacific Affairs, ANU

Speakers: Stewart Firth, Fellow, Department of Pacific Affairs, ANU

Steven Ratuva, Director, Macmillan Brown Centre for Pacific Studies & Professor, Department of Anthropology and Sociology, University of Canterbury

Sandra Tarte, Head of the School of Government, Development and International Affairs, USP

Beyond the China Syndrome

China’s ‘influence’ in the Pacific region has hit the mainstream, recently featuring in a 60 Minutes documentary called The China Syndrome, which warned that the Luganville wharf in Vanuatu, built with a concessional loan from China Exim Bank, ‘could leave Australia’s east coast open to a military attack.’ In this session, recorded as a live episode of the Little Red Podcast with former NPR and BBC correspondent Louisa Lim, Pacific scholars and media practitioners will discuss the reality behind the noise. The session will drill down on specific controversies—Huawei’s aborted Pacific cable, the alleged plan for a military base in Vanuatu—and flesh out new trends in China’s aid, investment and migration in region, including those flagged by the Lowy Institute’s new map of Chinese Aid in the Pacific. The session will provide historical context to current tensions and address the largely untouched question—what does the Pacific make of all this fuss?

Chairs: Graeme Smith, Fellow, Department of Pacific Affairs, ANU & Louisa Lim, Senior Lecturer, Centre for Advancing Journalism, University of Melbourne

Speakers: Nicola Baker, Senior Lecturer and Director of the Diplomacy and International Affairs Programme, School of Government, Development and International Affairs, USP

Patrick Matbob, Lecturer, Department of Communication Arts, Divine Word University

Dan McGarry, Media Director, Vanuatu Daily Post

Jonathan Pryke, Director, Pacific Islands Program, the Lowy Institute

Pacific Criminology

Research into crime and justice in the Pacific Islands region over the past few decades has largely lacked explicit engagement with the discipline of criminology. As a result, new criminological insights in relation to crime, violence and insecurity have not been systematically considered in the Pacific context, and nor have Pacific generated insights into crime and justice informed broader disciplinary developments. This panel marks a new initiative to make connections between criminology theory as it has been developing in both the global North and – increasingly – the global South and developments in the Pacific, particularly Melanesia. The panel will identify and discuss some of the major themes and priorities that could underpin Pacific criminology, drawing on several ongoing criminological research projects. It will address questions such as (1) How are categories of crime developed and responded to in the region?; (2) What sources of insecurity exist in the region and how are these changing?; and (3) Who are the providers of security and justice in the region and how is this achieved?

Chair: John Braithwaite, Distinguished Professor, School of Regulation and Global Governance (RegNet), ANU

Speakers: Sinclair Dinnen, Senior Fellow, Department of Pacific Affairs, ANU

Miranda Forsyth, Associate Professor, Centre for Restorative Justice, RegNet, ANU

Fiona Hukula, Program Leader Senior Research Fellow, Building Safer Communities Program, Research Division, PNG National Research Institute

Resource Management in the Pacific

Against a global backdrop of high demand and growing scarcity, resource management is a key challenge in PNG and the Pacific islands region. This is accentuated by the growing number of external actors in search of land-based and maritime resources, as well as by the heavy reliance of local communities, governments and economies on natural resource extraction. This panel will examine issues of access, distribution of benefits and resource security across different scales, drawing on examples from both maritime and land-based resource management.

Chair: Sinclair Dinnen, Senior Fellow, Department of Pacific Affairs, ANU

Speakers: Colin Filer, Honorary Professor, Crawford School of Public Policy, ANU

Genevieve Quirk, PhD candidate in Law, Australian National Centre for Ocean Resources and Security, University of Wollongong

Joeli Veitayaki, Head of the School of Marine Studies, Faculty of Science, Technology and Environment, USP

People and Communities

Creating Options and Supporting Choices in Responding to Family and Domestic Violence

For many women living in the Pacific, relationships, resilience and creativity underpin their strategies in addressing the cross-cutting challenges they experience. Family violence is a significant compounding factor, as surveys estimate that up to two-thirds of women living in the Pacific have faced some form of violence in their lives. This seemingly intractable level of gender based violence is being addressed through legal and policy instruments that seek to promote human rights, gender equity and empowerment. A number of specialist services have emerged over the past fifteen years, but both mainstream and specialist services are weakened by a range of structural governance constraints. The mainstay of women’s strategies and responses to violence remain their own informal coping strategies. A fine-grained understanding of how women cope in situations of domestic violence, the structural and personal constraints that affect their help-seeking; and the likely sources of intervention and protection is therefore necessary. The session on gender-based violence will focus on four in-depth qualitative research projects in Melanesia that have directly asked and discussed with women and other key stakeholders their experiences of domestic violence and their perspectives on all forms of assistance and support they have received. In addition to short overviews of the projects, there will be a panel discussion based on the research findings.

Chair:Judy Putt, Research Fellow, Department of Pacific Affairs, ANU

Speakers:Mary Aisi, Deputy Head of Department, Department of Communication & Development Studies. University of Technology

Miranda Forsyth, Associate Professor, Centre for Restorative Justice, RegNet, ANU

Dora Kuir-Ayius, Lecturer in Social Work, School of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Papua New Guinea

Tracey Newbury, Director, Gender, Pacific and Capacity Support Section, Gender Equality Branch, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Anouk Ride, Solomon Islands-based researcher and writer

Michelle Rooney, Research Fellow, Development Policy Centre, ANU

Young People, the State and Development in Melanesia

While there is increasing recognition of the primacy of youth as a development issue across Melanesia surprisingly little focussed attention has been paid to young people as a collective, including within the literature. This panel proposes to examine contemporary youth development efforts focusing on Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea. State-youth interactions and participation will be assessed across the national, sub-national and local levels. The panel will explore the state-youth relationship, looking at how young people experience government and politics, the role that they play in decision-making and where entry-points for greater youth engagement might exist in formal and informal governance systems.

Speakers:Dan Evans (Chair), PhD Candidate, Department of Pacific Affairs, ANU

Anouk Ride, Solomon Islands-based researcher and writer

Barbra Thomas, PNG Projects Coordinator, Institute for Human Security and Social Change, La Trobe University

Women’s Economic Empowerment and Gender Equality in the Pacific

Women make a huge contribution to Pacific economies, through formal, informal, subsistence and domestic labour and activities. Yet many women are largely economically invisible and vulnerable. Across the Pacific region, women are less likely than men to be employed in the formal sector, and in general earn less money than men. Access to key resources, such as land, can be very limited for women. This panel will examine the challenges of women’s economic empowerment in the Pacific: efforts to ensure marketplaces in rural and urban areas are safe, productive and inclusive working environments for vendors, who are predominantly women, through the Markets for Changes – Fiji, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu Project; research into the link between women’s economic empowerment and violence against women, and how to improve women’s economic agency and economic security without compromising their personal safety; and how women’s economic empowerment issues intersect with other key gender equality challenges.

Chair: Kerryn Baker, Research Fellow, Department of Pacific Affairs, ANU

Speakers: Sandra Bernklau, Technical Specialist Markets for Change, UN Women Fiji Multi-Country Office

Richard Eves, Senior Fellow, Department of Pacific Affairs, ANU

Mele Fakatouato Mangisi, Crawford School of Public Policy, ANU

Writing the Pacific

“I am not a travel writer; I am a serious researcher” huffs one of the Australian characters in Regis Tove Stella’s Mata Sara (Crooked Eyes), his novel of dislocation and disconnection set amongst Papua New Guineans in the Sydney of the early 90s.

Much writing about the contemporary Pacific is of the ‘serious researcher’ variety, written for specialist audiences in academia and government.

But there are other ways of writing about the Pacific too. Novels, poetry and narrative non-fiction are among the other genres that offer different voices, perspectives and textures. Over the last few years there has been a mini-boom in Pacific writing that presents a dappled, identifiably human set of lived experiences. It is not all good news. Many publishers remain skittish about books and articles on the region out of concern that there is limited public interest.

This session will bring together novelists, poets and non-fiction writers to explore the many ways in which we can write the Pacific.

Chair: Gordon Peake, Visiting Fellow, School of Regulation and Global Governance (RegNet), ANU

Speakers: Drusilla Modjeska, Novelist and Writer

Michelle Rooney, Research Fellow, Development Policy Centre, ANU

Steven Winduo, Division of Literature and English Communication, UPNG

Reporting the Pacific

This session will bring together Pacific- and Australian-based journalists and editors to discuss the state of media in the Pacific and ask the question—what makes a good Pacific story? Australian-based journalists will address the challenge of securing support for Pacific stories from their bosses and the related problem of building greater knowledge of the Pacific among the Australian public. Pacific-based journalists will discuss the challenges posed by in country reporting, from censorship to the global shift away from traditional media to digital content. What opportunities do these changes open up for the Pacific to be reported on its own terms? The session will also explore how the media is increasingly seen as a component of soft power and public diplomacy, and whether such government-backed efforts are likely to be effective.

Chair: Graeme Smith, Fellow, Department of Pacific Affairs, ANU

Panellists: Stefan Armbruster, Brisbane-based correspondent, SBS World News

Jo Chandler, Melbourne-based journalist and writer, and Editor, Centre for Advancing Journalism, University of Melbourne

Dan Flitton, Managing Editor, The Interpreter, Lowy Institute

Jemima Garrett, Sydney-based freelance journalist

Patrick Matbob, Lecturer, Department of Communication Arts, Divine Word University

Dan McGarry, Media Director, Vanuatu Daily Post

National Politics and Development

Leadership at the Local Level: Women’s Participation in Local and Provincial Level Politics

Efforts to support women’s leadership and political representation in the Papua New Guinea have tended to focus on national politics and elections. While there is a large body of research on women’s participation in national-level politics, comparatively little is known about the experience of women in sub-national politics. This panel will consider the evidence regarding women’s leadership at the community level. It will hear women’s experiences of running for election to local government and their experiences in political office. What are the challenges women politicians and administrators face? How does local level politics differ from politics at the national level? What does this mean for development partners and activists seeking to support women’s political leadership at the local level?

Chair: Nicole Haley, Head of Department, Department of Pacific Affairs, ANU

Speakers: Almah Tararia, PhD Candidate, Department of Pacific Affairs, ANU

Councillor Carol Yawing, Ward 2, Lae Urban LLG, Morobe Province, Papua New Guinea

Managing Constituency Development Funds in Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea

Public funds allocated to Members of Parliament to spend in their electorates can be referred to as Constituency Development Funds (CDFs). In Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea, CDFs have risen to internationally unprecedented levels. However, there is very little publicly-available information on how CDFs are managed in practice and their impact on local development. This session brings together researchers and practitioners with considerable experience working directly with CDFs. Two researchers will present new findings from recent case study fieldwork in Solomon Islands on how CDFs are utilised on the ground and their impact on community development. Another presenter from Papua New Guinea will reflect on her experience as a women’s representative on prominent CDF committees at district and provincial levels. Speakers will offer different perspectives on how CDFs are managed, as well as their political and development implications.

Chair: James Batley, Distinguished Policy Fellow, Department of Pacific Affairs, ANU

Speakers: Tony Hiriasia, School of Government, Development and International Affairs, USP

Angela Nelson, Women’s Representative Milne Bay Provincial Assembly & Alotau District Development Authority, Papua New Guinea

Colin Wiltshire, Research Fellow, Department of Pacific Affairs, ANU

Referenda in the Pacific

The decolonisation of Melanesia, in the opinion of many in New Caledonia and Bougainville, is not yet over.

New Caledonia will go to the polls in an independence referendum due to take place on 4 November 2018. The electorate is limited to those with long standing ties to the territory, and the outcome of the referendum remains uncertain. The referendum question has been decided, but what will follow it (whatever the outcome) remains to be seen.

Bougainville confronts an uncertain future. The 2001 peace agreement between Bougainville and Papua New Guinea promised Bougainvilleans a say on their political status, and the independence referendum is due to take place in 2019. The PNG and Bougainville governments have reached agreement on arrangements for the referendum but divisive issues remain, above all on whether mining should resume at Panguna or not.

This session examines these two upcoming referenda on future political status in the Pacific Islands.

Chair: Stewart Firth, Fellow, Department of Pacific Affairs, ANU

Speakers:Denise Fisher, Europa Visiting Fellow, Centre for European Studies, ANU

Nic MacLellan, Journalist and Researcher in the Pacific Islands

Anthony Regan, Fellow, Department of Pacific Affairs, ANU

Papua New Guinea: the Economy and Decentralisation

This session presents research jointly undertaken by ANU and UPNG researchers as part of the ANU-UPNG partnership supported by the Australian aid program.

Every year a combined ANU-UPNG team of economists produces an annual PNG economic survey. This year’s survey focuses on trade policies and private sector perspectives of the economy, in the context of the ongoing economic slowdown. The survey will be presented by Mr Nelson Atip Nema, Lecturer in the Division of Economics in the UPNG School of Business and Public Policy, and Prof. Stephen Howes, Director of the Development Policy Centre in the ANU Crawford School of Public Policy.

The session will also feature research into decentralization and District Development Authorities (DDAs) undertaken by Mr Emmanuel Gorea, Head of the Public Policy Management Division, Dr Lawrence Sause, Deputy Dean of the School of Business and Public Policy, and Dr Lhawang Ugyel, Visiting Lecturer at UPNG and Visiting Fellow with the Development Policy Centre. The authors apply a “meta-governance” approach to the analysis of decentralization and DDAs.

Chair: Matthew Dornan, Deputy Director, Devpolicy Centre, ANU

Speakers: Stephen Howes, Director of the Development Policy Centre, Crawford School of Public Policy, ANU

Nelson Atip Nema, Lecturer in the Division of Economics, School of Business and Public Policy, UPNG Presentation on research by Mr Emmanuel Gorea, Head of the Public Policy Management Division,

Dr Lawrence Sause, Deputy Dean of the School of Business and Public Policy, and

Dr Lhawang Ugyel, Visiting Lecturer at UPNG and Visiting Fellow with the Development Policy Centre.

Updated:  30 November 2017/Responsible Officer:  Bell School Marketing Team/Page Contact:  CAP Web Team