PiPP Staff – Pacific Institute of Public Policy http://pacificpolicy.org Thinking for ourselves Tue, 31 May 2016 04:49:22 +0000 en-GB hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.4.3 Melanesian School Debate resources http://pacificpolicy.org/2016/04/melanesian-school-debate-resources/?&owa_medium=feed&owa_sid= Wed, 20 Apr 2016 22:35:05 +0000 http://pacificpolicy.org/?p=9452 The Melanesian School Debate is an innovative approach to supporting the growth of strong and accountable governments in Melanesia. The concept brings together the region’s future leaders to interpret and assess key regional issues, providing them with the space to explore new perspectives and present an informed exchange of ideas to their peers and community.

Topics push young minds to explore real world challenges, with debate motions closely aligned with those tabled in national governments including migration, globalisation, traditional custom, governing systems and regional diplomacy. Bringing students from around the region together provides a platform for young Melanesians to share and learn from each other, interpret motions in the context of their own country and culture, but also look more widely at regional and global issues and potential solutions. Through this process they will develop the skills to be an engaged and informed citizen with a voice in the future of their nation and region.

The event has run consecutively over the last two years, with the first competition hosted by the Institute of Business Studies (IBS) in Papua New Guinea and the second event hosted in Port Vila by the Pacific Institute of Public Policy (PiPP), in association with the Vanuatu Ministry of Education and Training.

Working together with IBS, the Vanuatu Ministry of Education and Training, the National Parliament of the Solomon Islands and Fiji’s Ministry of Education, PiPP has developed a range of resources for the Melanesian School Debate.

The competition rulebook, teacher and student guides have been shared here to support teachers, schools or organisations throughout the Pacific to set up competitions:

Teacher’s Handbook to Debate

Melanesian School Debate Rulebook

Debate it! Student’s Handbook to Debate

MSD Adjudicator’s Criteria Sheet

The Motion Analysis of each debate of the MSD 2015 can be supplied to students to provide an introduction to the topic, inform the research process and dive deeper into complex issues:

Motion Analysis 1: Kastom Governance

Motion Analysis 2: Climate Refugees

Motion Analysis 3: Poverty Indicators

Motion Analysis 4: Global Presence

Motion Analysis 5: Keeping the Peace

Motion Analysis 6: Regional Tactics

Motion Analysis 7: Moving Melanesia

National School Debate resources can be found here.

Vanuatu School Debate resources http://pacificpolicy.org/2016/04/vanuatu-school-debate-resources/?&owa_medium=feed&owa_sid= Tue, 19 Apr 2016 23:08:15 +0000 http://pacificpolicy.org/?p=9423 The Vanuatu School Debate (VSD) is an innovative new program working with schools across Vanuatu to introduce debate and build the skills of young future leaders. Students compete against teams from schools within their province, analysing topics around current events and government policy.

The VSD is designed to engage and challenge young minds. The fundamental aim of the program is to equip our younger generation with the skills they need to be successful leaders in the future; be it in the home, community, workplace or even representing government in years to come. Debate provides an opportunity for students to develop their team-work, negotiation, communication, public speaking, confidence, research and critical thinking.

A debate is an activity that invites students to think critically, to understand that each issue has a range of perspectives, and then form opinions and structured arguments based on the facts. Although students are assigned one side of the argument, the greatest benefits come from understanding the complexity of the issue. There is no right and wrong in debate, and there will always be correct arguments on both sides. Debate is about assessing your opponent’s ideas, understanding them, and coming up with rational and respectful arguments that challenge them.

For teachers, schools, civil society groups and organisations who are interested in debate, PiPP has developed a number of debate introductory activities that can be adopted, including a simplified classroom debate handbook that can be shared with students to introduce the concepts.

The activities focus on different skills used within a debate, and are designed to include full classes with no additional materials necessary:

Teacher’s Handbook to Debate

Debate it! Student’s Handbook to Debate

Class Plans: debate introductions

Sample debate motions

VSD Rulebook 2016

Judging Critera 2016

A deeper look at the Vanuatu election http://pacificpolicy.org/2016/02/vanuatu-election-timeline-1979-2016/?&owa_medium=feed&owa_sid= http://pacificpolicy.org/2016/02/vanuatu-election-timeline-1979-2016/#comments Tue, 02 Feb 2016 05:16:21 +0000 http://pacificpolicy.org/?p=9212 On 22 January 2016, the people of Vanuatu went to the polls to elect the eleventh National Parliament. The total number of candidates dropped significantly (23%) but the number of parties (35) and independents (61) held relatively stable from the last election. As the dominance of the major independence-era parties and their off-shoot parties continues to be challenged, the increasingly diverse make up of each successive parliament is characterised by more independents and candidates from newer, and often single-member, parties.

Recent history also shows that the level of representation has decreased alarmingly, with the total vote of winning candidates dropping to a low of 36 per cent in 2012. This figure rebounded slightly this year (41%) partly because fewer candidates ran. However, it still means more people voted for candidates who did not get elected than those who did.

Vanuatu election timeline 1979-2016

With the number of parties contesting the 2016 election (35) at an all time high, it is interesting to note that since independence a total of 33 political groupings (plus independents) have been represented in the national legislature. Of those, 19 have been represented in two or more parliaments. Previous analysis has shown remarkable similarities in the policy platforms of parties, especially those that formed as break away factions of the established independence-era parties.

Share of parliamentary seats


Democracy in Vanuatu is seemingly delivering a kind of micro federalisation. While this is reflective of the reality on the ground, it does not bode well for nation building and presents a significant challenge for parties to consolidate or grow their share of the popular vote. In the most recent election, only four parties secured over five per cent of the popular vote (i.e. total vote for all of their candidates) and most saw their vote share decline from the previous election. Some countries set a minimum threshold of five percent for a party to take a seat in parliament.

Share of popular vote


There seems to be widespread acceptance that the electoral roll is inaccurate and needs updating. The state of the roll means the turn out figures are unreliable. However, when we look at the number of votes cast compared to the last election, it is evident that voter numbers were down across the board.

Votes by constituency


Throughout the campaign we heard many candidates and voters alike discuss the need for political reform. There is a clear need to re-set the system to address the representation and stability issues, and to give the government of the day a mandate to get on with the task of governing the country. The challenge for the political actors is to connect with what the people want, while building a national debate about the development needs of the country – and then for the parties to respond to these needs.

In the meantime, the country awaits the parliamentary vote next week to find out who will be the next prime minister.

Vanuatu Prime Ministers 1980-2016


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Melanesian School Debate, Port Vila 2015 http://pacificpolicy.org/2015/12/watch-the-2015-melanesian-school-debates/?&owa_medium=feed&owa_sid= Tue, 15 Dec 2015 00:56:18 +0000 http://pacificpolicy.org/?p=8952 In November 2015, the Pacific Institute of Public Policy, in association with the Vanuatu Ministry of Education and Training, hosted the second annual Melanesian School Debate, following the success of the inaugural competition hosted by the Institute of Business Studies in Port Moresby last year.

Students from Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea and Vanuatu were selected through national competitions. Fiji, a newcomer to the competition, was represented by students from Sangam Secondary College, Nadi. Unfortunately, at the last minute, the PNG team were unable to travel, but the gap was filled by a number of ‘All Star’ teams competing against the national representatives.

In a captivating series of debates, teams tackled a host of front-page issues including: governing systems, climate change, poverty, international diplomacy, and peacekeeping.

Motion:  Melanesia must globalise to succeed
Adjudicators:  Sofia Shah, Christina Bare-Karae, Talita Tu’ipulotu, Sarah Mecartney
Winner:  Vanuatu   Best Speaker : Jonathan Guyant (VUT)

Read the transcript of Jonathan Guyant’s presentation

Motion:  Melanesian countries should forge stronger ties with Asian Neighbours
Adjudicators:  Ralph Regenvanu, Wilson Toa, Linnes Tarianga, Francis Herman
Winner:  Fiji    Best Speaker:  Jesse Langonilakeba (USP)

Listen to the audio broadcast

Motion:  Poverty is increasing in Melanesia
Adjudicators:  Linnes Tarianga, Sarah Mecartney, Derek Brien
Winner:  Solomon Islands    Best Speaker:  Tanya Wickham (SLB)

Motion:   Melanesian countries benefit from sending peacekeepers to international conflict zones
Adjudicators:  Paul Nalau, Francis Herman, Josiana Jackson
Winner:  Vanuatu    Best Speaker:  Aleesha Kalsrap (VUT)

Motion: Melanesian countries should serve as non-permanent members of the UN Security Council
Adjudicators:  Linnes Tarianga, Jen Bowtell, Arthur Faerua
Winner:  Vanuatu    Best Speaker:  Patisha Wite (All Stars)

Motion:  Melanesian countries should accept climate refugees from other Pacific island countries
Adjudicators:  Derek Brien, Talita Tu’ipulotu, Lora Lini
Winner:  Fiji    Best Speaker:  Patrick Lal (FJI)

Motion:  The Westminster system of governance is incompatible with Melanesian kastom
Adjudicators:  Sarah Mecartney, Paul Nalau, Sofia Shah
Winner:  Solomon Islands    Best Speaker:  John Firbo (SBL)

Overall, it was Tanya Wickham of Solomon Islands who was presented with the competition Best Speaker award, with her ability to eloquently rebut any point put forward by her opposition. William Natiko of Vanuatu was awarded the Most Improved, showing significant progression over the course of the competition. Patrick Lal from Fiji came away with the People’s Choice award, thanks to his charming and dramatic style of presentation that never failed to entertain. All three prizes were kindly sponsored by Vanuatu Copra and Cocoa Exports who supported our young leaders with a new tablet to assist them in their future research and learning. The debates were streamed live (via You Tube) thanks to the Vanuatu Government’s Office of the Chief Information Officer. The venue was provided by the Vanuatu National Provident Fund.

The debates were not the only benefits of the competition. A series of activites were designed to promote fraternity and cultural exchange. Teams enjoyed Vanuatu’s international, big screen hit Tanna at Tana Cine, as well as visits to the Secret Garden, Mele Cascades, and the Mele Beach Bar where they witnessed the world famous Vanua Fire show. Asco Motors generously provided their community bus to transport teams to all the events.

Plans are unfolding to expand the event in future years, with the hope of including teams from the Melanesian territories of New Caledonia and West Papua. Sub-regional competitions for Polynesia and Micronesia are also being considered with the view to holding an annual Pacific final.

To stay in touch with all the latest, follow the Melanesian School Debate Facebook page.

Melanesian School Debate 2015 in pictures http://pacificpolicy.org/2015/12/melanesian-school-debate-2015-in-pictures/?&owa_medium=feed&owa_sid= Mon, 14 Dec 2015 04:26:37 +0000 http://pacificpolicy.org/?p=8963 MSD_solomons MSD_williamnatiko MSD_PVIS students MSD_crowd MSD_PatrickLal MSD_adjudictaors1 MSD_allstarsvanuatu MSD_allstars MSD_Kali Regenvanu MSD_team vanuatu rounds MSD_team Fiji rounds MSD_timekeeping MSD_team spirit MSD_Jessie Langonilakeba MSD_adjudicators runner up MSD_team solomons GF MSD_grand final crowd MSD_grand final best speaker MSD_adjudicators GF MSD_GF team solomons 2 MSD_Winning team MSD_presentation Fiji MSD_presentation Solomons MSD_champions MSD_most improved MSD_peoples choice MSD_best speaker overall MSD_trophies MSD_closing 1 MSD_closing 2 ]]> Must Melanesia globalise to succeed? http://pacificpolicy.org/2015/12/must-melanesia-globalise-to-succeed/?&owa_medium=feed&owa_sid= Sun, 06 Dec 2015 23:50:00 +0000 http://pacificpolicy.org/?p=8864 A closely contested grand final saw Vanuatu come away with the trophy for this year’s Melanesian School Debate, arguing against the motion that Melanesia must globalise to succeed.

The audience and esteemed panel of adjudicators were impressed by the high standard of debate, especially considering participants only had one day to prepare for the grand final topic. Jonathan Guyant of Vanuatu was particularly persuasive, putting a personal face to the topic and what it means to be ‘successful’ in Melanesia. He was awarded Best Speaker for the grand final debate.

Below is the transcript of his presentation.

The affirmative team quote Kofi Annan, and praise the effects globalisation may have on countries all around the world.

Now I could say I disagree – but don’t take my humble student word for this. Take this quote from the Nobel prize winning economist – yes an economist, we are talking about the economy here – and he states that ‘globalisation as it is, is not a force for good. People should govern markets – markets should not govern people. Globalisation and its drawbacks have led us to cross roads and it’s high time we changed direction’.

Distinguished guests, adjudicators, chairman, members of the opposing team, dear audience, a very good morning to you all. We would firstly like to thank PiPP for organising this debate competition. The motion for today’s final is that Melanesia must globalise to succeed.

My team and I find fault in this. We believe the Melanesian countries do not necessarily need to globalise in order to succeed.

do you wish to preserve the identity of your beloved Melanesia? Or do you want to be just another random face on the ever-expanding international body of this globalised world?

My name is Jonathan. I will define the key terms in the motion, introduce our team and the points we have come up with. I will also present our first point, concerning the economic setbacks that globalisation could bring to our Melanesian nations. Kali, our second speaker, will offer a rebuttal on the points given by the opposing side. She will look into the environmental impacts that accompany globalisation and will elaborate upon the fact that globalisation will be a threat to Melanesian culture and it’s custom. Aleesha, our third and final speaker will be the one to summarise all the points raised by our team and conclude our argumentation.


Jonathan Guyant presents his statement at the Grand Final of the 2015 Melanesian School Debate

Now let us take a closer look at the key terms in our motion. We feel that the affirmative team has overlooked these key terms in the motion; must, globalise and succeed. So starting with must. Must has a number of definitions, but the one that seems the most relevant to the motion, and most pertinent to us was the one stating that must describes an imperative need or duty that you are commanded to carry out. This would imply that globalisation is an imperative need or duty for Melanesia. But is it really?

Let us all reflect on Melanesia’s current status in different fields. Starting with the economy. We may refer to Melanesia’s economy as a ‘traditional economy’. This means that our countries suffer little from global financial crises’ that conversely greatly affect the wealthier globalised nations. Here in Vanuatu, 80% of the population live in rural areas. In the Solomon Islands, 78% live in rural areas. In Papua New Guinea the number goes up to 87%. And finally Fiji – yes Fiji – still has 47% of its population living in rural areas.

Ladies and gentlemen, this means that over half the population in Melanesia live in rural areas and rely on this traditional economy.

The next term is globalisation. The Financial Times define this as a process by which national and regional economies, societies and cultures have become integrated through the global network of trade, communication, immigration and transportation. This signifies that all of those things are facilitated though the opening of borders between countries. At first glance, one might think that it holds the answers to many of the worlds needs. But we would just like to clarify that the way you phrase a sentence can have different meaning and influence any given person’s opinion. What I mean by that is, opinions vary form one person to another, sometimes very drastically. It all depends on your perspective.

For instance, if you look at globalisation from the eyes of a money-crazed giant, trampling the forest beneath its feet, searching for ways to enrich itself at the expense of poorer countries, all the while totally disregarding their local culture and customs. Then of course you’ll jump on the globalisation bandwagon. What could the consequences possibly be? If you’re the giant that is.

What I’m trying to say is – globalisation is located in the giant superpowers of this world. The US, Western Europe and increasing emerging countries like China who are all main actors in this race to the bottom.

Consider what huge economic setbacks globalisation could bring to Melanesia. One of them is free trade. It’s supposed to eliminate unfair bias to newcomers and raise the economy in both developed and developing countries. But does it really do so?

Maybe for rich countries, just maybe. But not for us. Let us instead consider fair trade. When we open up markets without regulations our own key industries and businesses may suffer, for example sugar cane, copra or garment industries. Our livelihoods will suffer at the profit of a multi billion-dollar corporation. Also this lack of regulation leads to substandard working conditions and low pay. People, this happens when you cut costs at the expense of human rights.

The recent Trans-Pacific Trade Agreement and PACER-Plus are suppose to offer an opportunity to help Pacific countries benefit from enhanced regional trade and economic integration. But do they do this for Melanesia? They encourage competitiveness yes, but do not create a level playing field for the countries that are involved. These economic policies can also lead to labor migration. When there are fewer employment opportunities at home, people will move away in search of jobs. This decreases the labor force and can also lead to a brain drain of our young educated and talented people.

The third and final term that I will define is success. Once again, success can be defined in many ways. But success cannot be measured – you cannot rate success in any way shape or form. This term is defined by the Merriam Webster online dictionary as the correct or desired result of an attempt. Now see we disagree. Others may say that success is the absence of failure. Again we disagree. Today, my team and I want to win. If we loose will we have failed? I don’t know yet, because success is a feeling. Success is the love that you see in your family and friends eyes, and the love that you give back. Success is the smile on your lips as you shrug off the defeat. Success my dear friends is anything you want it to be, and is discarding Melanesian ways, customs and traditions the path to success? Do you think that in the future you will be able to buy success at the next KFC or Adidas store they open in town? Do you really want to sacrifice your Melanesian identify just for the sake of globalisation.

To conclude my team and I believe that Melanesia must not resort to globalisation. But ladies and gentleman, what do you think? Do you wish to preserve the identity of your beloved Melanesia? Or do you want to be just another random face on the ever-expanding international body of this globalised world.

Photo credit: National Geographic

Revitalising the Commonwealth http://pacificpolicy.org/2015/11/revitalising-the-commonwealth/?&owa_medium=feed&owa_sid= Fri, 27 Nov 2015 04:01:42 +0000 http://pacificpolicy.org/?p=8816 This week Commonwealth leaders are meeting in Malta for their biennial heads of government meeting. One of the first items of business will be the selection of the next Secretary General and with the field wide open, Pacific islands countries could be the king (or queen) maker.

The appointment process is rather opaque, with an unwritten convention that the post will be rotated through the regions. It’s the Caribbean’s turn, but their vote is split between two candidates. Africa has also put forward a candidate, so the field is wide open.

lack of strong leadership is one of the reasons that the Commonwealth has struggled to fulfil its charter and the selection of a new Secretary General is an opportunity remedy this

It is an interesting time for the Commonwealth, teetering as it does on the brink of irrelevance or renewal. Its main value has been as a force of liberal democracy and a platform for small states, but it has never really lived up to its potential, leading some commentators to write it off completely.

Lack of strong leadership is one of the reasons that the Commonwealth has struggled to fulfil its charter and the selection of a new Secretary General is an opportunity remedy this.

Among this group, both of the female candidates stand out.

Dominica’s candidate, Baroness Scotland, has a personal narrative that resonates and inspires.

Born in Dominica, Baroness Scotland migrated to the UK as a child, worked hard, became a QC, and then rose to be Britain’s first female Attorney General, having previously served as a Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Her politics are progressive, and she seems to be genuinely passionate about winning the post of Secretary General.

As Secretary General, I would immediately seek to build consensus on a revitalised Commonwealth that is focused on tangible and expanded delivery on its twin goals of democracy and development. Recognising that the Commonwealth isn’t simply about member States, but the people of those States, its work will always be deeply rooted on delivering cost-effective and measurable positive impact on the lives of the people of the Commonwealth.

Baroness Scotland’s main rival is Sir Ronald Sanders, currently Antigua and Barbuda’s Ambassador ‘Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary’ to the United States. He has the backing of a handful of Caribbean countries and was part of an eminent persons group in 2010 that reviewed the Commonwealth. However his campaign has been tainted by a report that he received $1.4m from an alleged fraud against Antigua’s government.

Mmasekgoa Masire-Mwamba, the third candidate, may be able to capitalise of the split in the Caribbean, by building on a base of support from African countries. She has served at the ministerial level and did two terms as Deputy Secretary-General of the Commonwealth Secretariat from 2008-2014, so would bring relevant experience to the job.

How will the selection play out?

Caribbean countries are conscious that they have a golden opportunity to win the selection. However their failure so far to unite behind a single candidate has compromised their campaign. In the final hours, they will also need to secure support from other member countries, and this is where the Pacific could play a critical role. The pragmatic approach for the Caribbean would be to unite behind the candidate that can attract sufficient support from other regions. The pragmatic approach for the Pacific would be to support the candidate that best reflects the interests of small island states.

In the event that there is no consensus, the process allows for last minute candidates to be put forward. In recent weeks Australia’s ex Foreign Minister Alexander Downer has been touted by the right-wing press as a ‘compromise’ candidate. Whether he is suitable and would garner sufficient support is debatable. He has a mixed record when it comes to the Pacific, and is not without his controversies. There are of course opportunities for further candidates to emerge.

From a Pacific perspective, Baroness Scotland would be a good Secretary General. She understands the needs and issues facing small island states – recently calling for a 1.5 degree target on climate change. Moreover she has the ability to lobby on our behalf, and would be a welcome and capable first female Secretary General of the Commonwealth.

Whoever emerges as Secretary General, they will face the challenging job of rebuilding the organisation’s relevance in our region and across the world.

Photo caption: Baroness Scotland – a contender for Secretary General of the Commonwealth


YOUR SAY: The new Global Goals http://pacificpolicy.org/2015/09/your-say-the-new-global-goals/?&owa_medium=feed&owa_sid= Mon, 28 Sep 2015 05:29:19 +0000 http://pacificpolicy.org/?p=8623 On 25 September, 2015 UN member states adopted a new set of  Global Goals to ‘end poverty, fix climate change and put us on the path towards sustainable development’. Will they?

We want to hear what people across the Pacific think about these new goals. This short survey explains the new goals and gives people across the Pacific the chance to rate their relevance and help track progress. The more we know about the goals, the more we can hold our leaders to account to implement them.

World leaders have had their say – now its your chance!

Your response will remain anonymous and will help assess where Pacific countries and territories currently stand in relation to the goals, and provide feedback to our leaders and policy makers as progress is made – or not as the case may be.

We aim to keep the survey running (online and offline) over the next couple of years and will periodically report on results. These reports will be made public and shared with national governments and regional organisations.

This survey is an initiative of the Pacific Institute of Public Policy in association with RMIT University, and has been approved by the RMIT Human Research Ethics Committee. More information about the survey is available in the Participant Information Sheet.

If you are 16 years or older, from a Pacific country or territory, and happy to participate you can have your say by starting the survey here.



Vanuatu school debate competition 2015 http://pacificpolicy.org/2015/07/vanuatu-school-debating-competition-begins-again/?&owa_medium=feed&owa_sid= Thu, 16 Jul 2015 04:10:55 +0000 http://pacificpolicy.org/?p=8200 The first round of the second annual Vanuatu School Debate Competition was held today at Wan Smolbag Theatre.

Four teams from Efate battled it out on stage with compelling arguments for and against the set topic. The schools participating included Vila North, Ecole Francaise, Centreville, NTM and Central School. The first motion debated was “That kava bars should be banned from urban residential areas”, while the second debate topic was “That government has a responsibility to create jobs for unemployed youth in Vanuatu.”

Ecole Francaise won its round on the first topic while Vila North won the second and NTM won its place in the next round due to forfeiture since its opposing team couldn’t show up.

This is the second year of the national debating competition, whose ultimate winners will then go on to represent Vanuatu in the Melanesian Cup. Last year a mixture of outstanding speakers from various schools represented Vanuatu at the regional competition held in PNG, where the PNG team ended up winning the Melanesian Cup for 2014.

The debate competition is an initiative by the Pacific Institute of Public Policy (PiPP) in co-operation with the Ministry of Education and Training.

PiPP’s Communications Director Ben Bohane, who chaired the first debates, said:

“PiPP is proud to support this important initiative which encourages our school students to develop critical thinking, public speaking and research skills, plus build the confidence of students to creatively structure persuasive arguments on any topic. These are really important skills for life and help us to create an atmosphere of tolerance for other people’s views and opinions in society.”

He thanked Mr John Niroa, representing the Director of Education services for their partnership, Wan Smol Bag and all the teachers and students who worked hard to make the debates exciting and informative.

Mr Niroa said “On behalf of the Ministry of Education I want to thank PiPP and the schools involved for creating this great competition which will give our students so many skills. I was very impressed with the students performances today and our Ministry will continue to support this program into the future”.

Students will be pushed to think critically about issues presented to them.

The next round for Efate schools happens next Thursday, 23 July, from 9am – 12am at the Wan Smol Bag theatre. The debates are open to the public and the finals and semi-finals will be aired live on radio.

Next week schools on Santo will also begin their first rounds. The final winners of the Santo and Efate competitions will face each other in the grand final. Unfortunately, schools on Tanna which were going to be part of the competition this year have had to withdraw due to cyclone Pam damage and disruption.

To prepare teachers new to the activity, PiPP hosted workshops in Luganville and Port Vila in late May. The workshops aimed to provide teachers with the skills to develop an ongoing internal debate competition within their schools. Teachers came together to learn the basics of debating, understanding the individual roles, debate rules, structure and importantly the dissection of the judging criteria.

The workshops came together with a final mock debate between teachers, who scrutinized the 2014 Semi Final motion that “Tertiary Scholarships are the best way to provide employment opportunities for youth in Vanuatu.” The process was a success one, allowing teachers to put into practice the theories and rules that had been discussed the previous day, and provide insight into the challenges but also great rewards of debating.

Now equipped with sound understanding of debate process, teachers have the foundations to initiate debate competitions within their school, providing increased opportunity for student engagement. It will allow teachers to design their own motions for a debate, which could be based on themes they are studying already, or current issues that arise in the community or national news.

Through the debating process, students will be pushed to think critically about issues presented to them, using research and evidence to support their arguments. The skills learned can assist them in many future situations, including simple conflict resolution in the home, through to analysis and understanding of problems at a community or even national level.

Schools will select their best and brightest to compete against other school teams, to debate topics around education, employment, the environment and natural disasters as well as independence.

Caption: Gavika Viduka from Ecole Centreville arguing his case in support of the motion: ‘The government has a responsibility to create jobs for unemployed youth in Vanuatu’

Cyclone Pam – Anatomy of a disaster http://pacificpolicy.org/2015/07/cyclone-pam-anatomy-of-a-disaster/?&owa_medium=feed&owa_sid= Wed, 01 Jul 2015 04:35:31 +0000 http://pacificpolicy.org/?p=8036 The Pacific Institute of Public Policy is proud to unveil a precedent-setting new approach to recording and viewing history. Its interactive multimedia timeline of the devastation wrought by cyclone Pam in Vanuatu allows people to relive the event moment by moment.

Once the fear and the hype subside, the world’s attention moves on to the next disaster. We often forget to look back. Without the opportunity to reflect, we fail to understand how such events unfold.

Cyclone Pam struck Vanuatu’s islands with unprecedented force. When the accounting was complete, an estimated 110,000 people on 22 islands were severely affected. Now, months later, reconstruction and recovery continue. The cost to the nation is still being calculated, and a policy response is being formulated.

Simply put, Vanuatu is paying the penalty for the sins of the developed world. It is well established that weather events become more severe as climate change advances. Although this country is one of the most vulnerable in the world to severe weather, no cyclone in recorded history has reached the intensity of Pam. Miraculously, few people died. But when all is said and done, the cost of cyclone Pam will run into the hundreds of millions of dollars.

In the lead-up to the global climate conference in Paris at the end of this year and in light of the World Summit Humanitarian Pacific consultations currently underway in Auckland, PiPP has undertaken an investigation of how developing countries can respond to such devastation, and how the developed world can shoulder its responsibilities in the years to come.

But before that can happen, it’s necessary to understand the nature of the event itself. We have therefore compiled a timeline of events before, during and after Pam made landfall in Vanuatu. It provides a comprehensive, blow-by-blow account of the disaster.

The timeline (which starts with a short video intro) can be found here.

This project is ongoing. As new information comes to light it will be added. If you have a link, a document, image or video you would like to see included, please don’t hesitate to contact us at pipp@pacificpolicy.org.