• When welcoming the Indonesian President Joko Widodo to Papua New Guinea, Prime Minister Peter O'Neill expressed his desire to work with the Indonesian Government and other Melanesian countries to help their 'Melanesian brothers and sisters in the Papuan provinces build better lives for themselves.'
  • O’Neill also announced PNG’s support for Indonesia to become an associate member of the Melanesian Spearhead Group, raising doubts over the United Liberation Movement for West Papua’s bid to join the MSG.  
  • The Pacific is largely unaffected by cuts to the Australian aid budget. There was a 10% decrease in support to regional initiatives in the Pacific and a 5% decrease in bilateral aid to PNG. However, cuts to the Indonesian aid program now mean that PNG is the largest recipient of Australian aid. 
  • If you have any thoughts on how to reshape international aid to the Pacific you can share them in this online forum from the World Humanitarian Summit. 
  • On Monday, elections began in the Autonomous Region of Bougainville to elect the government which will lead the region to the referendum on independence from Papua New Guinea.  
  • Matthew Dornan explains the likely economic impact of Cyclone Pam in Vanuatu over the medium-term.  
  • After the latest round of PACER plus negotiations were held in Vanuatu last week, the Pacific Private Sector Organisation has advocated for wider consultation with businesses in the region as most don’t understand the PACER plus trade deal.  
  • I spoke to Papua New Guinean agribusiness expert Allan Bird about the challenges facing young people in PNG and the potential opportunities for them in the agriculture sector: