COP28 Begins

Amongst much by way of controversy, the 28th Conference of the Parties (COP28) is now underway in the United Arab Emirates. This global forum is of prime importance to Pacific island countries given the leadership their negotiators have provided over many years. It is also the focus of several civil society and activist groups. However, some within the region have decided to boycott the event this year.

Whilst there was what looked like early success with the agreement on the operationalisation of a Loss and Damage Fund, this has not meant all is progressing smoothly. Pacific leaders, including Vanuatu’s Minister for Climate Change have been quick to point out that supporting a fund of this type does not change the fact that what is needed is an accelerated transition away from fossil fuels. This has put him and others at odds with the President of the COP, Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber.

Pacific Games Wrap Up

The Pacific games have come to an end in Honiara. This edition was the largest ever and has generally been hailed as a success. Around 5,000 athletes participated across a wide range of disciplines.

Despite the lead up being plagued by concerns that the facilities would not be ready or that Solomon Islands would not be able to manage such a large event, the Games went off very smoothly and everyone who took part has had very positive things to say about the experience. The experience for spectators was a little more mixed, with the ticket prices for high profile events being beyond the means of many in Honiara.

New Caledonia claimed the title with 82 golds and 197 medals overall. Solomon Islands achieved their best results in the Games, securing a total of 80 medals, including 12 golds.

The Pacific Games will be held next in French Polynesia.

Other Pacific News:

The South Pacific Defence Ministers Meeting is being held in New Caledonia. https://www.miragenews.com/defence-ministers-convene-in-new-caledonia-for-1136134/

In Fiji, authorities are considering the introduction of laws to allow production of medicinal cannabis. This follows recent changes to the law in Vanuatu and the registration of businesses looking to develop the crop as a new economic activity.

In Papua New Guinea the Treasurer, Ian Ling-Stuckey has handed down the country’s biggest ever budget. Whilst the country will run a deficit of US$1 billion, this is a reduction on the current status. 

Members of Fiji’s Great Council of Chiefs have been invited to undertake an official visit to China. This follows a similar invitation that was extended to – and taken up by – members of Malvatumauri (National Council of Chiefs) in Vanuatu

The former President of the Federated States of Micronesia has expressed strong concerns about the delay in Congressional approval for the funding for the renewal of the Compact agreements with his country, Marshall Islands, and Palau.  


Tess Newton Cain is a Senior Research Fellow at the Griffith Asia Institute and project lead for the Griffith Pacific Hub.