Category Archives: Devpolicy

Blog of the Development Policy Centre at the Australian National University (http://devpolicy.org)

Mid-year at the Melanesian Spearhead Group

This year, as predicted, is shaping up to be one of great significance for the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) and its constituent members. The silver jubilee celebrations have been continuing, and today (20 June) sees the annual leaders’ summit in Noumea, at which point the chairmanship will transfer from Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama of Fiji to Victor Tutugoro, the spokesperson for the Front de Libération et Socialiste (FLNKS) of New Caledonia. […] Continue reading

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Vale Helen Hughes (1928-2013)

Helen came to The Australian National University in 1983, a whirlwind of ideas and action. She was on a mission to create the university’s first graduate school and to anchor it in the economics of development with a primary focus on the Asia Pacific region, and with a strong contingent of overseas students. I met her then. Initially the university was not impressed – not about the idea of a […] Continue reading

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Time for coordinated action on equity funding for Pacific SMEs

When it comes to equity funding in the Pacific, there has never been a lack of anecdotal evidence of some success and many failures. Many businesses are stuck in a “vicious circle”. They are starved of much needed investment and unable to raise funds to invest in quality management skills and capital equipment. Lack of management know-how is in turn cited by fund managers as the single most inhibiting risk […] Continue reading

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Reminder: State of the Pacific Conference (SOTP 2013) and Pacific & PNG Update 2013

Pacific and PNG Update 2013 June 27-28 Hedley Bull Lecture Theatre 1, Ground Floor, Hedley Bull Centre, Building 130 Last year we revived the Pacific Update tradition with a one-day event. This year, the Update returns as a two-day conference. June 27th is on the Pacific island region, and June 28th on PNG. This is an event not to be missed for anyone working on the region. The keynote speech […] Continue reading

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SWEDOW cows and rotting apricots: bad food aid proposals gaining support of MPs

Just as the US is pushing to reform its long criticised food aid program, Queensland graziers and Victorian stonefruit growers are calling on the Australian government to purchase and send surplus livestock and agricultural products to developing countries in the name of ‘helping’ – and their idea is being backed by some federal MPs. The Australian Financial Review (May 8 2013, Page 7) reported on calls for the Australian government […] Continue reading

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Resource development and peace building in Melanesia

Given the long history of conflict associated with resource development in many parts of the world, I have been looking at whether resource development companies see a role for themselves in peace building. How do executives of multi-national resource companies think about their responsibilities in this area? As a starting point I began my research talking with corporate executives in Europe, Asia, North America and Australia about what role they […] Continue reading

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Managing fiscal risks amid resource booms: lessons from Papua New Guinea and Timor-Leste

The two largest developing member countries in the Asian Development Bank’s (ADB’s) Pacific region – Papua New Guinea (PNG) and Timor-Leste – also continue to be the region’s fastest growing economies. PNG has now recorded 11 consecutive years of economic growth averaging around 6% per annum, while Timor-Leste has been growing at around double digit rates since 2007. A major driver of the rapid growth in both countries has been […] Continue reading

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Final Report of the Solomon Islands Truth & Reconciliation Commission unofficially released

At the height of the ethnic tensions in Solomon Islands, in 2000, the Solomon Islands Christian Association requested that a Truth and Reconciliation Commission be established. Further to the passage of an Act of Parliament in 2008, this came about in 2009. In February of 2012 the Commission presented its five-volume report to Prime Minister Gordon Darcy Lilo. Under the terms of the governing Act, ‘The Prime Minister on receiving […] Continue reading

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Would an Independent Service Delivery Authority accelerate service delivery in Solomon Islands?

In my previous blog I considered the peace and stability service delivery dividend that RAMSI has contributed to in Solomon Islands since 2003 against recent evidence that service delivery gains may be slowing down. I asked whether the slowdown is due to questions of political governance, and what could be done about it. In this blog I consider whether an idea from Paul Collier about a dedicated state / non-state […] Continue reading

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Service delivery in Solomon Islands: a good start, but where to from here?

Delivery of public goods such as roads, schools and health services lies at the core of AusAID’s poverty reduction goals in Solomon Islands (SI). The logic that supports this approach is compelling: developmental change and poverty reduction is driven by ordinary people having access to public goods that expand their life options and horizons. RAMSI/AusAID are by far the largest donor in SI, contributing about AUD$222 million in FY12/13 (about […] Continue reading

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When Monsoon Asia met Melanesia (and Dutch Hollandia became Asian Jayapura)

My recently-published paper, Monsoon Asia and Melanesia presents a comparison between two ‘stylised’ historical entities. ‘Monsoon Asia’ represents Southeast Asia and particularly the Malay Archipelago – present-day Malaysia and Indonesia. ‘Melanesia’ is representative of the island of New Guinea, though the discussion revolves mostly around west New Guinea (in modern Indonesia). The Indonesian provinces of Papua and West Papua are seen as the historic meeting ground, or zone of transition, […] Continue reading

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In conversation with Sir Mekere Morauta

Tess Newton Cain got a chance to meet up with Sir Mekere Morauta whilst he was in Port Vila recently. You can listen to the podcast of their conversation here and read the full transcript here. For a summary of what they discussed, read on… The main topic of conversation was the ongoing review of the Pacific Plan – Sir Mekere is the eminent person leading the review team. The […] Continue reading

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Another Port Moresby community bulldozed

On Tuesday March 12, 2013 a Papua New Guinea (PNG) daily newspaper, The National, carried an article titled ‘NCD settlement bulldozed’. According to the article, over 4000 people’s homes were affected. On that same day, I made one of my regular visits to the Oro/ATS (Air Transport Squadron) settlement in Port Moresby where I have been undertaking field work for the past three months. As I approached the area where […] Continue reading

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Reflections on the PNG Budget Forum: Can devolved funding be effectively utilised

One of the major talking points of the recent PNG Budget Forum was the huge increase in devolved funding to provinces, districts and local level governments. Both Finance and Treasury Ministers speaking at the forum seemed cautiously optimistic and nervous in justifying these funding allocations. On paper, it seems like a large increase to subnational levels of government, up from 5% of the budget in 2012 to 15% in 2013. […] Continue reading

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Lifting skills in the Pacific: using infrastructure procurement for skills transfer

If it was good enough for the London Olympics in 2012, why not use large infrastructure projects in the Pacific region to do more than merely build a new facility? Why not also aim, as the UK’s Olympic Delivery Authority did, to get people into jobs, develop their skills and help them gain top-rate qualifications? The Authority followed EU procurement requirements. However, it also wanted to give young people better […] Continue reading

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