10 Sep 2021

In brief: News from around the Pacific

12:24 pm on 10 September 2021
Factory smoke and winter smog above Christchurch. IPCC scientists say greenhouse gas emissions must be virtually eliminated.

Factory smoke and winter smog above Christchurch. IPCC scientists say emissions must be virtually eliminated. Photo: AFP

Eight Pacific nations agree on recommendations to address climate change.

Eight Pacific nations have agreed to a raft of recommendations to address the regions' most urgent climate change policy priorities.

This came in the communique from the Pacific Regional Dialogue of the Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF), held last week.

The dialogue was the third in a series of regional to global conversations that aims to build momentum ahead of the crucial United Nations Climate Change Conference in Glasgow in November.

It said the need for action has never been greater following the latest assessment of the IPCC, which indicated global heating was occurring faster than the body had concluded in 2018.

The CVF said the "the world must act. In particular, we need to see action on the climate emergency at COP26 with a clear pact for ambition and finance delivery in global solidarity."

Among the recommendations is a call for an end to the international financing of coal plants and a shift in finance and investment to renewable energy projects.

As well they call for the establishment of a dedicated Special Rapporteur on human rights and climate change to the Human Rights Council.

The communique was endorsed by Fiji, Kiribati, the Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, Palau, Samoa, the Solomon Islands, and Vanuatu.

Samoa's new Attorney General is sworn in

Samoa's new Attorney General, Su'a Helene Wallwork, has been sworn in by the Head of State, Tuimalealiifano Vaaletoa Sualauvi.

Su'a has stepped aside from her position as President of the Samoa Law Society to concentrate on the new role.

Prime Minister Fiame Naomi Mata'afa said the appointment was temporary and will be between three and six months while they go through the process of finding a permanent Attorney-General.

Samoa's new Attorney General, Su'a Helene Wallwork

Samoa's new Attorney General, Su'a Helene Wallwork has been sworn in by the Head of State. Photo: Samoa Government

Su'a is a graduate of Auckland University with more than 20 years' experience as a lawyer.

She told TV1Samoa she hasn't considered taking the position on permanently.

She replaces sacked former Attorney-General Savalenoa Mareva Betham Annandale.

Kiribati plans opening, calls for haste on second jabs

Kiribati intends opening its borders in January next year.

The announcement was made in a national address this week by the Kiribati President, Taneti Maamau, on Radio Kiribati.

He has urged those unvaccinated against Covid-19 to start getting their jabs and complete their doses before January.

Mr Maamau said vaccination of Kiribati nationals stranded in Fiji awaiting repatriation, including students continues.

According to the Kiribati High Commission in Fiji says all Kiribati seafarers in Fiji had been fully vaccinated by August 26th.

And, 87 percent of the 520 Kiribati students in Fiji have received their first jab with 18 percent being fully vaccinated.

Only a small percentage of other Kiribati nationals in Fiji have their second jab.

Salvage operation for Samoa police boat underway

An operation to salvage the Nafanua II patrol boat that ran aground on a Samoan reef has begun.

The Samoa Observer reports a salvage team from Australia and a guard boat are in Savai'i to remove the badly damaged vessel from the reef and to transport it to Australia for further assessment and repair.

Deputy Police Commissioner, Auapaau Logoitino Filipo said if the operation, which started yesterday, goes as planned the 30 million dollar boat will likely leave Samoan waters by next week.

He said a barge will be used to test if it can tow the Nafanua II to Australia.

The National Emergency Operation Centre had issued a public notice this week restricting public access to the northern part of the Salelologa wharf.

Some 43,000 litres of oil of fuel were pumped out of the boat to prevent any environmental disaster.

CNMI intercepts invasive frog

An invasive species of frog native to Puerto Rico was intercepted by Northern Marianas authorities at the airport.

The Department of Land and Natural Resources' Division of Fish and Wildlife said the coqui frog hopped onto a Micronesia Air Cargo Services plane and was detected by a dog detector handler at the weekend.

The frog, which was introduced to Guam and Hawaii in early 2000, has since been contained and preserved in a jar and will be used by the Department for sampling and research.

The coqui frog is marked as invasive species due to the very loud "ko-kee" calls males make at night and the severe effects the species can have on a native ecosystem's insect and bug populations.

The Hawaii Invasive Species Council said the frog has no natural predators or competitors to keep populations in check.

It says the local population has reached 55,000 frogs per hectare in some areas, which is about double the numbers in their native Puerto Rico.

The council said due to a disclosure requirement for real estate transactions, this has resulted in decreased property values in some locations