Partnerships – Pacific Institute of Public Policy Thinking for ourselves Thu, 11 Apr 2019 10:48:07 -0700 en-GB hourly 1 YOUR SAY: The new Global Goals Mon, 28 Sep 2015 05:29:19 +0000 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.



Deep sea mining – starting a dialogue Fri, 13 Feb 2015 01:25:19 +0000 DEEP SEA MINING: Starting a dialogue – a report on the Vanuatu Government’s consultation workshop [PDF 240KB]

A report on the Vanuatu Government’s consultation on deep sea mining (DSM) has been presented to the Vanuatu Lands and Natural Resources Minister, Ralph Regenvanu, and other government officials by the Pacific Institute of Public Policy (PiPP).

The report urges wider community consultation and analysis, and invokes the ‘precautionary principle’ when dealing with such a new and little understood mining business. It highlights the many conversations and concerns raised during an initial public consultation held at the Chief’s Nakamal in October 2014. Vanuatu has had little experience of mining compared to other Pacific nations, so there is a need to learn from the experience of others in the region and develop a whole of government response to fully weigh the costs and benefits.

There are currently 154 underwater exploration licences in Vanuatu at a time when many countries in the Pacific are being courted by mining companies to harvest rich undersea minerals. The report asks whether governments and communities are ready to handle the many associated issues ranging from consultation processes, to legislation, environmental protection, tax policy, kastom, maritime boundaries and capacity constraints.

The Vanuatu government requested PiPP to be an independent observer at the first consultation and provide a report outlining many of the issues involved so that Vanuatu can develop good public policy around this contentious issue.

PiPP’s acting executive director Dulciana Somare-Brash and senior analyst and economist Mark Evans prepared the report.

Dulciana Somare-Brash said after the report handover:

‘I am delighted to present this report which is appropriately called “Starting a dialogue”. Vanuatu has the benefit of navigating its overarching strategy to match the sentiments of its people who are right now saying they want to find out more about deep sea mining and what it might mean to their kastom and livelihoods into the future.’

‘We suggest the need for wide community consultation and for government to carefully identify all the policy areas involved so it gets a good deal if mining proceeds and the national interest is protected.’

Mr Regenvanu thanked PiPP for its report and said government was developing a framework for further public consultations.

Supporting Timor-Leste and the Pacific in UN negotiations Wed, 28 Jan 2015 03:22:46 +0000 Following on from its advisory support to the Permanent Mission of the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste to the United Nations during its participation in the UN Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals over the course of 2014, PiPP will continue its strategic partnership with the Government of Timor-Leste as the intergovernmental negotiations enter their final phase, ahead of a global summit to launch the new agenda in September 2015.

Additionally, PiPP has extended its support services to other Pacific delegations as they navigate this extraordinarily inclusive, global multi-stakeholder process. The OWG has proposed a set of 17 sustainable development goals and targets, drawing on inspiration from a number of sources, including the Rio+20 outcome, the UN Secretary General’s High Level Panel of Eminent Persons on the Post 2015 Development Agenda, and a raft of contributions from academia, business and civil society.

In the end, however, the proposed SDGs were agreed by UN member states. That means there had to be political trade offs and compromises made. But it must be recognised that development is inherently political at the local, regional and global levels. There remains some pressure to reduce the number of goals and targets or to tighten the proposed language. But that would risk of omitting important issues just for the sake of easing communication, or risking a good political outcome in the search of technical perfection. It is very clear that amongst UN member states there is little desire to re-open what was an exhaustive and exhausting negotiation. Delegates recognise the political sensitivities of altering the agreed goals and the issues they address, which together form a comprehensive and mutually reinforcing development agenda. Add, remove or significantly change one goal, and the whole package is compromised.

The new agenda has more depth than the MDGs – and rightly so. This shouldn’t be seen as a problem. The general public will accept that any exercise that drives national, regional and global efforts toward coordinated, sustainable development is necessarily wide-ranging and complex. It will be up to governments, think tanks and other civil society stakeholders to distil the information such that citizens can to use the new agenda to hold their governments and international actors to account when undertaking development activities in their name.

Timor-Leste and Pacific island countries have especially welcomed new goals addressing climate change, oceans and marine resources, inclusive economic growth, ensuring peaceful and inclusive societies, and building capable and responsive institutions that are based on the rule of law. They will no doubt also welcome the shift in focus from quantitative measurements under the MDGs to metrics designed to improve the quality of outcomes, notably in health and education.

The core of the new agenda, the implementation mechanism, has yet to be finalised. There is a pressing need to rationalise and integrate many of the parallel processes that collectively set the global framework for development. Many small island countries struggle to deal with the multitude of international agreements, policy commitments and related reporting requirements. The new agenda should seek to streamline these, and not add to the bureaucratic burden. This, along with crafting a political narrative will be the focus of deliberations that will continue in New York over the next six months.

ADB-Asian Think Tank Forum Fri, 31 Oct 2014 05:05:48 +0000 PiPP is a founding member of the ADB–Asian Think Tanks Network which is an informal group of think tanks working on the areas of sustainable economic growth and inclusive development in the Asia-Pacific region. Founded in October 2013 during the 1st ADB–Asian Think Tank Development Forum, the network aims to enhance systematic knowledge sharing among member think tanks, specifically on development experiences and policy lessons strengthen the think tank’s capacity to generate knowledge or provide policy advice on its domain raise the region’s voice in the international arena on issues related to economic growth and inclusive development.

Currently, the network has 47 members from 26 countries in Asia and the Pacific region. The annual forum is designed to promote knowledge sharing on development practices and policy lessons; foster collaboration among network members; stimulate strong interest and commitment among network members in creating a self-sustaining knowledge network; and explore new, trending, and forecasted topics relevant to sustainable economic development. The knowledge sharing among the think tanks, which covers North–South or South–South, is particularly useful since many of them face similar challenges and circumstances. They bring together senior officials/staff of think tanks closely associated with central ministries of finance, economy, and planning are the targeted participants of the forum as they play a critical role in providing policy advice and sharing knowledge. Many of them are involved in supporting their governments in preparing medium- and long-term development plans, addressing emerging policy issues, and in cross-country knowledge sharing.

For PiPP this forum provides a useful platform to connect with some of Asia’s leading think tanks to share experiences and knowledge, both in terms of research topics and also in how to position as a think tank operating in emerging economies.

Events are sponsored by the Asian Development Bank under its regional technical assistance, Provision of Knowledge Products and Services to Developing Member Countries through Systematic Knowledge Sharing, funded by the Poverty Reduction and Regional Cooperation Fund of the People’s Republic of China.

PiPP board member, Odo Tevi, and executive director, Derek Brien, are forum alumni.

Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies (APCSS) Fri, 08 Aug 2014 23:06:12 +0000 PiPP continues to work in close collaboration with the Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies (APCSS) on areas of shared interest.

In 2012, PiPP communications director, Ben Bohane, delivered a presentation on the security implications of climate change to the APCSS workshop on Environment, Security in the Pacific Islands Region. More than 45 government and non-government organisation officials attended the five-day workshop in Honolulu, which identified a number of key challenges, including: land degradation, pollution, resource extraction, reef destruction, loss of bio-diversity, cultural degradation, and more. Participants recommended a shift in thinking or viewing the Pacific islands region through a climate change lens and to shift from terms like vulnerability to value. Other recommendations coming out of the workshop included:

  • Improving cooperation, collaboration and coordination by improving the effectiveness of regional institutions;
  • Improving access to resources to improve research, education and awareness;
  • Promoting investment in sustainable developments and green economies; and
  • Engaging other countries on the Pacific Rim on common issues.

Following the workshop, PiPP consolidated the issues into its discussion paper CLIMATE SECURITY which presents a holisitc approach to climate change, security and development.

In 2014, PiPP again partnered with APCSS to co-host a conference Advancing Pacific Islands Regional Security Cooperation, which brought together over 48 security practitioners and subject matter experts from 21 nations and territories and six regional international organisations in Port Vila to examine the effectiveness of regional security cooperation and the broader regional security architectures that exist in the Pacific Islands region. The conference was opened by Hon. Joe Natuman, Vanuatu Prime Minister and, via video, U.S. Ambassador to Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu, H.E. Walter North.

PiPP executive director, Derek Brien and communications director, Ben Bohane are members of the APCSS alumni.

Sustainable Solutions Development Network Sun, 06 Jul 2014 02:52:30 +0000 PiPP is a member of the Australia/Pacific Regional Network of the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN), which brings together academic and technical expertise to develop and promote solutions, policies and public education for sustainable development.

The SDSN was launched in August 2012 under the auspices of the UN Secretary-General. It is led by Professor Jeffrey Sachs and its secretariat is housed at Columbia University, New York.

It was established to mobilise scientific and technical expertise from academia, civil society, and the private sector in support of sustainable development problem solving at local, national, and global scales. It engages scientists, engineers, business and civil society leaders, and development practitioners and promotes solutions initiatives that demonstrate the potential of technical and business innovation to support sustainable development. In addition it:

  • Provides expert advice and support to the post-2015 development agenda
  • Organises Thematic Groups that mobilise global expertise in priority areas
  • Identifies and promotes solutions that can significantly accelerate progress towards sustainable development
  • Builds a global network involving universities, civil society and companies to accelerate practical problem solving for sustainable development.

The Australia/Pacific Regional Centre is hosted by hosted by Monash University in Melbourne, and fosters global SDSN activities within the region by developing and promoting solutions, policies and public education.

PiPP is collaborating through the regional network, while also seeking to expand its Pacific base, to input into the global deliberations on the post-2015 development agenda. As we approach 2016, we will shift our focus on how this regional body of expertise can be used to support the implementation of the new sustainable development agenda.

Pacific and PNG update by the Development Policy Centre Mon, 16 Jun 2014 01:26:28 +0000 PiPP has actively participated in the annual Development Policy Centre (Devpolicy) flagship event for the Pacifc region – the Pacific and PNG Updates. The updates provide a forum for the discussion of the latest economic, social and political developments in the region. The first event in September 2012 brought together leading thinkers and policy makers from the region and consisted of three panel discussions on PNG and Timor-Leste; Vanuatu, Tonga and Samoa; and on Solomon Islands and Fiji. Panelists included:

  • Nikunj Soni, PiPP board chair
  • Odo Tevi, Governor of the Reserve Bank, Vanuatu and PiPP board member
  • Rick Hounipwela, Minister of Finance and Treasury, Solomon Islands and PiPP board member
  • Siosi (Joyce) C. Mafi, Governor of the National Reserve Bank, Tonga
  • Biman Prasad, University of the South Pacific, Fiji
  • Bart Philemon, Fomer Minister for the Public Service, Papua New Guinea
  • Serena Sasingian, Executive Director, ‘The Voice’, PNG
  • Kolone Vaai, Co-Managing Director, KVA Consult Ltd, Samoa

At the 2013 event, PiPP deputy executive director, Dulciana Somare-Brash chaired a panel discussion Gender-based violence with panel members: Jo Chandler, Journalist and Honorary Fellow, Alfred Deakin Research Institute; Kamalini Lokuge, Fellow, National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health, ANU; and Cathy Rimbao, Sargeant, Lae Police.

Dulciana was again invited in 2014 to chair a session on ‘Large and resource rich economies: managing the resource curse for inclusive growth’ with presentations by Helder Lopes, Coordinator and Advisor, National Directorate for Economic Policy, Ministry of Finance, Timor Lest and Professor Stephen Howes, director of the Development Policy Centre. Professor Howes was on the PiPP board from 2008-2012.

The 2014 Pacific Update was presented by the Development Policy Centre at Crawford School of Public Policy, The Australian National University, and supported by the Asian Development Bank’s Pacific Economic Management Technical Assistance and Asia and the Pacific Policy Studies Society.

Oceania Development Network Wed, 11 Sep 2013 05:06:39 +0000 At its fourth biennial conference at the University of the South Pacific’s Laucala Campus, the Oceania Development Network (ODN) focused on ‘Addressing Inequality and Promoting Inclusive and Sustainable Development‘.

Opening remarks were made by ODN’s present chair, Professor Biman Prasad, who introduced the conference theme and its relevance to the Pacific’s development challenges.

Derek Brien, PiPP executive director and member of the ODN executive committee, delivered a keynote speech the Post 2015 Development agenda for the Pacific and its implications for public policy.

The Oceania Development Network was formed in 2003 as a regional initiative to address issues surrounding development in the Pacific. Initially based at The University of the South Pacific, ODN then moved to the University of PNG (UPNG) and Samoa and returned to Fiji in 2010. The Executive Committee has been meeting to discuss a way forward for its next Strategic Plan for 2015-2017 in light of post-2015 Development priorities for the Pacific.

ODN is one of 11 regional networks affiliated with the Global Development Network, of which PiPP is also a participating member, and aims to build research capacity amongst the young and emerging researchers on issues of policy relevant to the Oceania region.

The work of the ODN has received significant support from the Australian Government. Acting High Commissioner to Fiji, His Excellency Mr Glen Miles joined other panelists including USP’s Pro Vice Chancellor, Professor John Bythell, Professor Hurriyet Babacan, Professor of Development at the University of New England and Former Director of the Cairns Institute at the JCU, Professor Paresh Narayan, Alfred Deakin Professor of Finance at the Deakin University and Professor Vijay Naidu, Professor of Development Studies and Head of the School of Governance, Development and International Affairs at USP, at the opening session on Wednesday 11th September.

Victoria University – Pacific islands public policy project Mon, 11 Feb 2013 04:14:42 +0000 This project, initiated by Associate Graham Hassall, director of Pacific island programmes at the School of Government at the Victoria University of Wellington, focuses on improving policy practices through dialogue with a range of partners in the academic, public and private sectors, and civil society, within both New Zealand and the small island states of the Pacific.

PiPP has actively supported the development and implementation of this project, attending the case-study meeting on public policy leadership (1-2 November 2012) which brought together together leaders of policy practice from Pacific states to engage with a set of core questions about current practices and constraints on leadership. Many issues were canvassed, some relating to to the operation of institutions (parliamentary practice, public sector scope, size and performance) and the scope of local government and mechanisms for intergovernmental relations). Others focused on fostering economic growth (policy articulation in agriculture, tourism, fishing, mining, etc.), trade relations essential to improving access to regional and global markets. A myriad other issues demand the attention of Pacific governments: water supply and waste management options; mechanisms to enhance accountability and transparency; infrastructural development, land tenure, titling and leasing arrangements; options for regional integration; and urbanization issues, including forward planning, managing migration, and raising revenue. Despite limited resources and capability, governments have to provide the total range of services across sparsely populated islands. The Pacific islands public policy project seeks to focus on the policy practices that can address such issues.

The project is primarily delivered through a series of e-seminars and in doing so seeks to exploit the advances in technology to bridge geographical, costs and information gaps. PiPP has also contributed to the development of the project to maximise technology advances and knowledge management for policy practitioners.

Supporting the UN High Level Panel on post-2015 agenda Sun, 06 Jan 2013 02:45:56 +0000 PiPP executive director, Derek Brien, served as an advisor to H.E. Emilia Pires, Timor-Leste finance minister and g7+ chair, in her role as a member of the UN Secretary General’s High Level Panel of Eminent Persons on the Post-2015 Development Agenda.

The 26 member panel was co-chaired by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono of Indonesia, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia, and Prime Minister David Cameron of the United Kingdom, and included acclaimed leaders from civil society, private sector and government.

The Panel was part of the Secretary General’s post-2015 initiative mandated by the 2010 MDG Summit. UN Member States have called for open, inclusive consultations involving civil society, the private sector, academia and research institutions from all regions, in addition to the UN system, to advance the development framework beyond 2015. The work of the Panel reflected new development challenges while also drawing on experience gained in implementing the MDGs, both in terms of results achieved and areas for improvement.

The Panel’s work was closely coordinated with that of the intergovernmental working group tasked to design Sustainable Development Goals, as agreed at the Rio +20 conference.

The report [PDF 3.6MB] of the panel was informed by an extensive consultative process, the views of the scientific and academic community as conveyed through the Sustainable Development Solutions Network and through passionate and vigorous debate. It outlines five transformational shifts applicable to both developed and developing countries alike:

  • First, to leave no one behind. To keep faith with the original promise of the MDGs, and finish the job – by ensuring that by 2030, the world has ended extreme poverty in all its forms.
  • Second, to put sustainable development at the core. To realize the integration of social, economic, and environmental sustainability that has eluded every country in the two decades since the Earth Summit in Rio.
  • Third, to transform economies for jobs and inclusive growth. Achieving a quantum leap in economic opportunities, spurring rapid and equitable growth while moving to sustainable consumption and production patterns.
  • Fourth, to build peace and effective, open and accountable institutions for all. Freedom from fear and violence is the most basic human entitlement, and people demand peace and good governance as a core component of their well-being, not an optional extra.
  • And finally, and as an overarching principle, to forge a new global partnership based upon a new spirit of solidarity, mutual benefit and mutual accountability, involving not just governments but also all other stakeholders, from civil society and the private sector to academia and faith communities.

The report also includes a set of illustrative goals and measurable targets to replace the MDGs.

Following on from our involvement in the HLP process, PiPP continues to support Timor- Leste, the g7+ and a number of Pacific island governments through the inter-governmental process to determine the post-2015 agenda.