• Leaders or delegations from 79 countries have converged on Port Moresby this week for the 8th summit of the African, Caribbean and Pacific countries. The most controversial participant is Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe. Pacific beat’s Joy Kisselpar discusses the expected focus of the summit. The event is seen as a critical precursor in the lead-up to the hosting of APEC in 2018.
  • Student protests continue in Papua New Guinea. Arrests have been reported in provincial areas as students commit to their pledge of returning to their communities to spread the protests beyond tertiary institutions. Students also staged a peaceful rally outside of the PNG Parliament.
  • For more about why the students are protesting, see Bal Kama’s recent post on The Interpreter.

Student protesters at the University of PNG (Photo courtesy of ABC: Eric Tlozek)

  • Meanwhile, Prime Minister O’Neill has been referred by the public prosecutor to a Leadership Tribunal over the controversial US$1.2 billion UBS loan he took out on behalf of the state. It is unlikely that he will step aside.
  • It has been reported that Vanuatu has recently supported China’s position on the South China Sea issue. Tess Newton Cain has argued this decision shouldn’t come as a surprise given China’s level of engagement with Vanuatu, while Robert Ayson discusses why it was a ‘well-timed’ decision.
  • Stakeholders throughout the Pacific are expressing concern over the future of Paclii, the most comprehensive free and public database of Pacific Island legal documents and court decisions, as its funding from the Australian aid program wraps up at the end of this year. Foreign Minister Bishop, whose government is currently in caretaker mode, has assured stakeholders that Paclii has not been cut.
  • As tensions over who will helm the Secretariat continue, Melanesian Spearhead Group members still cannot agree as to where and when the next leaders summit will be held.
  • Vlad Sokhin, famous for his photo series Crying Meri on Gender Based violence in PNG, has teased his latest piece of work, Warm Waters, a three year photography project tracking Pacific Island communities facing the reality of climate change. Watch the trailer here.
  • On a more cheerful note, Festpac, the Festival of Pacific Arts, is into its second week in Guam. The festival, which has been held every four years since 1972, brings together 27 countries so Pacific people can 'unite to enhance their respect and appreciation for one another'.
  • And finally the Lowy Institute, including our GE PNG Emerging Leader Visiting Fellow Jessica Siriosi, met with female Bougainvillean MPs this morning who are in Sydney as guests of the Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians group. Josephine Getsi, the first woman to win an open seat in Bougainville spoke to RNZ about the trip.