Development must come before trade facilitation in WTO

Our World Is Not For SalePANG wrote to all Pacific Island members of the World Trade Organization to express our concerns, and those of over 200 other organisations, about the need to ensure that the Trade Facilitation Agreement only enters into force once at the conclusion of the Doha round of negotiations. PANG’s concerns about the WTO remain but see current moves as undermining any leverage that PICs have in the global institution.


International civil society urges that development must come before Trade Facilitation in WTO

Delivery date:

18 July, 2014

Updated on 22 July 2014

Dear Trade Ministers and Ambassadors to the WTO,

We are writing today to urge WTO Members to condition the entry into force of the Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) to the conclusion and fulfillment of the Development mandate under the Doha negotiations.

As members of  217* civil society organizations and trade unions from over 150 countries of the global North and South, we have long advocated for a sustainable and socially just global trade framework. Since the inception of the WTO, developing countries have made positive proposals seeking to improve the rules of the global trade system in favor of development. Lamentably, throughout the Doha Round, we have witnessed the often successful efforts by developed countries to push aside key development–oriented proposals put forth by developing countries and Least Developed Countries (LDCs) in favor of market access demands that benefit developed-country exporting and importing corporations.

Unfortunately, the outcomes of the 9th Ministerial Conference in Bali were similarly imbalanced. The issues of urgency for developing countries, such as the G33 proposal to allow developing countries to invest in Food Security, were sidelined, and the LDC proposals were concluded only in “best endeavor” language. However, the developed country agenda, reflected in the Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA),was concluded with binding rules that carry extensive regulatory, capital and recurring cost implications, which, could divert limited resources away from priority development needs such as health, education, and domestic infrastructure investments in LDCs and developing countries. At the same time, there has been a gaping lack of enforceable commitment from the developed countries in terms of concrete additional and long-term financial contributions to support implementation of the Agreement, although this was promised at the onset of the trade facilitation negotiations. Thus, if allowed to enter into force as a stand-alone agreement irrespective of the rest of the issues of concern to developing countries and LDCs, the TFA would severely tilt the trade rules in the WTO even more in favor of developed countries and their multi-national corporations.

Developing country and LDC members of the WTO are correct to demand that the TFA only enters into force upon completion of the single undertaking under the Doha Work Programme, and particularly the fulfillment of its Development mandate. It must be recalled that developing countries only agreed to initiate the Doha Round on the basis that Development issues would form the core of the mandate. It would be unconscionable for the liberalization demands of the developed countries to form an “Early Harvest” at the expense of concluding binding rules on Food Security, LDCs issues, and other urgent development-focused proposals which require the full and immediate attention of WTO members.

Developing countries and LDCs have made concrete proposals regarding the Development mandate, including implementation issues, strengthening and operationalizing Special and Differential Treatment (SDT), agriculture, and LDCs issues, and it is these issues which must be re-prioritized in the agenda. In particular, agriculture rules must be changed to ensure that developing countries have the policy space to invest in increasing agricultural production, particularly among small farmers, to achieve Food Security. Many of these proposals are similar to the demands of civil society for a transformation of the current trade regime, which are detailed in the Turnaround Statement endorsed by hundreds of organizations working through the Our World Is Not for Sale (OWINFS) network. Thus, we urge WTO Members to condition the entry into force of the TFA to the conclusion and fulfillment of the Development mandate and further negotiations necessary for the transformation of the global trade regime.

In addition, we have been extremely dismayed to witness the pressuring discourse adopted by the WTO’s new Director General, Roberto Azevêdo, in his address to Members in regard to the TFA, specifically witnessed in his speech to the latest Trade Negotiations Committee meeting on 25 June 2014. We strongly urge WTO members to ensure a proper functioning of the WTO secretariat in a manner that respects the member-driven nature of the organization.

*The original version sent on July 18 included 156 signatories.


International and Regional organizations and Networks

1 ACP Civil Society Forum The Forum is a coalition of 80 not-for-profit organisations working on issues relating to ACP-EU development cooperation. It seeks to cater for the diverse range civil society development issues within the wide geographic coverage of the ACP group.
2 ActionAid International ActionAid is an international organisation, working with over 15 million people in 45 countries for a world free from poverty and injustice.
3 African Forum and Network on Debt and Development (AFRODAD) AFRODAD aspires for equitable and sustainable development leading to a prosperous Africa. It contribute towards influencing policy change that redress and avert Africa’s debt and development challenges based on a human rights value system
4 Arab NGO Network for Development (ANND) ANND is a regional network, working in 12 Arab countries with seven national networks (with an extended membership of 200 CSOs from different backgrounds) and 23 NGO members.
5 Association for Women’s Rights in Development (AWID) AWID is an international, feminist, membership organization committed to achieving gender equality, sustainable development and women’s human rights. AWID members are researchers, academics, students, educators, activists, business people, policy-makers, development practitioners, funders, and more.
6 Consejo Sindical Unitario de Amèrica Central y el Caribe (CSU) CSU representa 30 y confederaciones centrales de la subregión. CSU tienen las organizaciones en Guatemala, Belice, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panamá y República Dominicana.
7 IBFAN-GIFA (International Baby Food Action Network / Geneva Infant Feeding Association) IBFAN – GIFA is the international liaison office for the IBFAN network, a 35-year old coalition working on the nutrition of infants and young children. It serves as an interface between the network of more than 273 not-for-profit non-governmental organisations in more than 168 countries, and the UN organizations, human treaty bodies and Geneva-based international NGOs.
8 IUF-UITA-IUL – International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco and Allied Workers’ Associations (IUF) IUF is an international federation is currently composed of 387 trade unions in 125 countries representing a combined representational membership of over 12 million workers.
9 LDC Watch LDC Watch is a global alliance of national, regional and international civil society organisations (CSOs), networks and movements based in the Least Developed Countries (LDCs).
10 LDC Watch-Africa LDC WATCH-AFRICA LDC WATCH est le réseau international des organisations de la société civile et des mouvements sociaux des pays les moins avancés (PMA) dont l’objectif est de faire entendre la voix des populations de ces pays au niveau international, au sein des Nations-Unies et dans les organisations internationales afin de faire respecter les engagements en faveur de ces populations contenus dans les programmes d’action pour les PMA.
11 Pacific Network on Globalization (PANG) PANG is a Pacific regional network promoting economic justice in globalisation with specific attention to:1) Accountability and transparency in economic and trade policy processes, 2) Poverty eradication, 3) Equitable development and sustainable livelihoods (opportunity, access, impact) and 4) Food sovereignty and environmental sustainability.
12 Plataforma Interamericana de Derechos humanos, Democracia y Desarrollo (PIDHDD) La PIDHDD es un actor político, conformado por Capítulos Nacionales que articulan organizaciones sociales e instituciones de la sociedad civil, que promueve la plena vigencia y realización de los derechos humanos; Actualmente, se cuenta con capítulos nacionales constituidos y en funcionamiento en 16 países del continente americano: Argentina, Bolivia, Brasil, Chile, Colombia, Dominicana, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, México, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Perú, Uruguay y Venezuela.
13 Public Services International (PSI) Public Services International (PSI) is a global trade union federation dedicated to promoting quality public services in every part of the world. PSI brings together more than 20 million workers, represented by 650 unions in 150 countries and territories.
14 Social Watch Social Watch is an international network of citizens’ organizations struggling to eradicate poverty and the causes of poverty, to ensure an equitable distribution of wealth and the realization of human rights. Social Watch is committed to social, economic and gender justice, and emphasizes the right of all people not to be poor.
15 Southern and Eastern African Trade Information and Negotiations Institute (SEATINI) An African initiative to strengthen Africa’s capacity to take a more effective part in the emerging global trading system and to better manage the process of Globalization.
16 The Fair Trade Advocacy Office (FTAO) FTAO works to improve the livelihoods of marginalised producers and workers in the South. It is a joint initiative of Fairtrade International, the European Fair Trade Association and the World Fair Trade Organization-Europe. Through these three networks it represents an estimate of 2.5 million Fair Trade producers and workers from 70 countries, 24 labelling initiatives, over 500 specialised Fair Trade importers, 4,000 World Shops and more than 100,000 volunteers.
17 The Society for International Development (SID) The SID is an international network of individuals and organizations founded in 1957 to promote economic and social justice and foster democratic participation in the development process”
18 Third World Network (TWN) Third World Network (TWN) is an independent non-profit international network of organisations and individuals involved in issues relating to development, developing countries and North-South affairs.

National Organizations

19 Confederación de Trabajadores Municipales (CTM) Argentina
20 Fórum das Organizações Não Governamentais Angolanas (FONGA) Angola
21 Gilbert Agricultural and Rural Development Centre (GARDC) Antigua and Barbuda
22 Australian Fair Trade and Investment Network Australia
23 New South Wales Nurses and Midwives’ Association Australia
24 Australian Services Union (ASU) Australia
25 SEARCH Foundation Australia
26  Informationsgruppe Lateinamerika – IGLA Austria
27 Civil Society Bahamas Bahamas
28 Bahrain Transparency Society Bahrain
29 Equity and Justice Working Group Bangladesh (EquityBD) Bangladesh
30 Bangladesh Krishok Federation Bangladesh
31 Center for Participatory Research and Development (CPRD) Bangladesh
32 PGCB Sramik Karmachari Union (PGCBSKU) Bangladesh
33 VOICE Bangladesh
34 Barbados Association of Non Governmental Organizations Barbados
35 Belize Enterprise for Sustainable Technology Belize
36 Dynamique OSCAF (Organisations de la Société Civile d’Afrique Francophone) Benin Republic
37 Plateforme des Acteurs de la Sociiété Civile au Bénin (PASCIB) Benin Republic
38 Groupe de Recherche et d’Action pour la Promotion de l’Agriculture et du Développement (GRAPAD) Benin Republic
39  Agence Afrique Performance (AfriPerf) Benin Republic
40 Justicia, Salud & Desarrollo Bolivia
41 Botswana Council of Non Governmental Organisations (BOCONGO) Botswana
42 Rede Brasileira Pela Integração dos Povos (REBRIP) Brazil
43 Instituto Justiça Fiscal Brazil
44 Cadre de concertation des OSC pour le suivi du CSLP (CdC/CSLP) Burkina Faso
45 Civil Society Organization Network for Development (RESOCIDE) Burkina Faso
46 Action Développement et Intégration Régionale (ADIR) Burundi
47 Independent Civil-Servants Association (CICA) Cambodia
48 Conseil des ONG Agrees du Cameroun (CONGAC ) Cameroon
49 Africa Development Interchange Network (ADIN) Cameroon
50 The National Union of Public and General Employees Canada
51 Syndicat de la fonction publique et parapublique du Québec Canada
52 Global Compliance Research Project Canada
53 Association Commerciale, Agricole, Industriel et du Service (ACAISA) Cape Verde
54 Conseil Inter ONG En Centrafrique (CIONGCA) Central African Rep.
55 Centre d’Information et de Liaison des ONG (CILONG) Chad
56 Asociacion Ambiente y Sociedad Colombia
57 Central Unitaria de Trabajadores (CUT) Colombia
58 La Asociación de Servidores Públicos Departamentales y Municipales Colombia
59 Conseil de Concertation des ONGs de Développement (CCOD) Congo
60 Cook Islands Association of Non-Governmental Organisations (CIANGO) Cook Islands
61 Comision Nacional de Enlace (CNE) Costa Rica
62 Sociedad Económica de Amigos del País Cuba
63 Conseil National des ONG de Développement (CNONGD) D.R. Congo
64 Kalingo Carib Council Dominica
65 Alianza ONG Dominican Republic
66 Dominican Republic Trade union (CNUS) Dominican Republic
67 Centro de Documentación en Derechos Humanos “Segundo Montes Mozo S.J.” (CSMM) Ecuador
68 Red Mujeres Transformando la Economia (REMTE) Ecuador
69 Egyptian Center for Economic and Social Rights Egypt
70 Red De Accion Ciudadana Frente Al Libre Comercio E Inversion Sinti Techan El Salvador
71 Forum des ONG pour le Développement Durable (FONGDD) Eq. Guinea
72 Cotonou Task Force Ethiopia
73 Poverty Action Network in Ethiopia (PANE) Ethiopia
74 Solidarité France
75 Concertation Nationale Des Organisations paysannes et des Producteurs (CNOP) Gabon
76 Worldview Gambia
77 Agricultural Workers Union of TUC Ghana
78 Public Services Workers’ Union of TUC Ghana
79 Inter Agency Group of Development Organizations (IAGDO) Grenada
80 Alianza Política Sector de Mujeres Guatemala
81 Federation de Femmes Enterpreneurs et Affairs de la CEDEAO (FEFA) Guinea
82 Instituto Nacional de Estudos e Pesquisa (INEI) Guinea-Bissau
83 Women Across Differences (WAD) Guyana
84 Plateforme Haïtienne de Plaidoyer pour un Développement Alternatif (PAPDA) Haiti
85 Programme de Plaidoyer Pour une Intégration Alternative (PPIA) Haïti
86 Wemos Holland
87 CNS Vote For Health campaign India
88 Asha Parivar India
89 National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM) India
90 All India Union of Forest Working People (AIUFWP) India
91 All India National Life Insurance Employees Federation (AINLIEF) India
92 Right to Food Campaign India
93 Karnataka Government Employees Union (KSGEU) India
94 Jagriti – The Awareness India
95 Bharatiya Krishak Samaj India
96 Institute for Global Justice (IGJ) Indonesia
97 SP PDAM (Unions Regional Water Company Jakarta) Indonesia
98 Union of Engineering and Technical Professions South Electricity Sector (UETPSES) Iraq
99 Comhlámh Ireland
100 Confederazione Generale Italiana del Lavoro (CGIL) Italy
101 FairWatch Italy
102 Alliance Pour la Reconstruction et le Developpement Post-Conflit (ARDPC) Ivory Coast
103 Jamaica Civil Service Association Jamaica
104 Lawyers’ for Defending Human Right Society Jordan
105 Kenya Debt Relief Network (KENDREN) Kenya
106 National Council of NGOs Kenya
107 Economic News Africa (Econews Africa) Kenya
108 Union of Kenya Civil Servants Kenya
109 Kenya Union Of Commercial Food And Allied Workers (KUKFAW) Kenya
110 Kiribati Association of Non-Governmental Organisation (KANGO) Kiribati
111 Syndicate of Kadischa Lebanon
112 la syndicat des ouvriers et d’employer de l’établissement des eaux de Liban nord Lebanon
113 Consumers Protection Association (CPA) Lesotho
114 Lesotho Council of NGOs (LCN) Lesotho
115 Policy Analysis and Research Institute of Lesotho (PARIL) Lesotho
116 West African Women Association (WAWA) Liberia
117 Plate-Forme Nationale des Organisations de la Societe Civile de Madagascar Madagascar
118 Malawi Economic Justice Network Malawi
119 Amalgamated Union of Employees in Government Clerical and Allied Services (AUEGCAS) Malaysia
120 Appui Solidaire Pour Le Renforcement De L’aide Au Developpement (ASRAD) Mali
121 Foundation pour le Developpment au Sahel (FDS) Mali
122 Oeuvre Malienne d’Aide a L’Enfance du Sahel (OMAES) Mali
123 Marshall Islands Council of NGOs (MICNGOS) Marshall Islands
124 Association pour le developpement et de la promotion des droits humains Mauritania
125 Mauritius Council of Social Service (MACOSS) Mauritius
126 Unión Popular Valle Gómez Mexico
127 Grupo Tacuba Mexico
128 Asesoría e Investigación Mexico
129 Jóvenes frente al G20 Mexico
130 Foro Social México Global Mexico
131 Red Nacional Genero Y Economia Mexico
132 Asociación Nacional de Industriales de Transformación Mexico
133 Centro de Estudios Sociales y Culturales Mexico
134 Centro de Promoción y Educación Profesional Vasco de Quiroga, A. C. Mexico
135 Grupo de Trabajo G8/G20 Mexico
136 FSM Alliance of NGOs (FANGO) Micronesia
137 National Forum for Mozambiquan NGOs and CBOs (TEIA) Mozambique
138 Namibia Non-Governmental Organisations Forum Trust Namibia
139 Nauru Island Association of NGOs (NIANGO) Nauru
140 Union of Public Services in Nepal (UPSIN) Nepal
141 All Nepal Peasants Federation Nepal
142 Nepal Film Workers Union Nepal
143 Abvakabo FNV Netherlands
144 Platform Aarde Boer Consument Netherlands
145 National du Réseau des Ong de Développement et Associations de Défense des Droits de l’Homme et de la Démocratie (RODADDHD) Niger
146 Labour,Health and Human Rights Development Centre Nigeria
147 Nigeria Civil Service Union Nigeria
148 National Association of Nigerian Traders (NANTS) Nigeria
149 Nigerian Union of Local Government Employees Nigeria
150 Amalgamated Union (AUPCTRE ) Affiliate of Nigeria Labour Congress Nigeria
151 Niger Delta Women’s movement for Peace and Development  (NDWPD) Nigeria
152 Niue Island (Umbrella) Association of NGOs (NIUANGO) Niue
153 Baluchistan Rural Development & Research Society (BRDRS) Pakistan
154 Public Sector Employees Federation of Pakistan (PSEFP) Pakistan
155 Dharti Development Foundation Pakistan
156 Roots for Equity Pakistan
157 All Pakistan Wapda Hydro Electric Workers Union (CBA) Pakistan
158 Federación Nacional de Asociaciones y Organizaciones de Empleados Públicos (FENASEP) Panama
159 Grupo de Agroecología y Soberanía Alimentaria (GASA) Panama
160 Melanesian NGO Centre for Leadership (MNCL) Papua New Guinea
161 Federación Nacional de Trabajadores del Agua Potable del Perú FENTAP Peru
162 Initiatives for Dialogue and Empowerment through Alternative Legal Services (IDEALS) Philippines
163 WomanHealth Philippines Philippines
164 Campaign for a Life of Dignity for All (KAMP) Philippines
165 Mission for Victims of Human Trafficking Overseas Filipino Workers and their Families Board of Women’s Work – The United Methodist Church Philippines
166 Rwanda Civil Society Platform Rwanda
167 Samoa Umbrella for Non Governmental Organisation (SUNGO) Samoa
168 Ole Siosiomaga Society Incorporated (OLSSI) Samoa
169 Forum das Ong de São Tomé e Principe (FONG-STP) Sao Tomé and Principe
170 Plate-forme des acteurs non étatiques pour le suivi de l’Accord de Cotonou au Sénégal Senegal
171 ARCADE Sénégal
172 Forum Africain des Alternatives Sénégal
173 Panafricaine pour l’Education au Développement durable Sénégal
174 Forum social sénégalais ( FSS) Sénégal
175 Liaison Unit of the non-governmental organisations of Seychelles -(LUNGOS) Seychelles
176 Africa Youth Coalition  Against Hunger Sierra Leone Sierra Leone
177 Economic Justice Netowrk Sierra Leone Sierra Leone
178 Civil Society Movement of Sierra Leone Sierra Leone
179 Development Service Exchange (DSE) Solomon Islands
180 Congress of South African Trade Union (COSATU) South Africa
181 South African NGO Council (SANGOCO) South Africa
182 Centre for Civil Society Economic Justice Project South Africa
183 Cooperative and Policy Alternative Center South Africa
184 Community Empowerment for Progress Organization (CEPO) South Sudan
185 Association pour la Taxation des Transactions financière et l’Aide aux Citoyens (ATTAC) Spain
186 Confederation of Public Services Independent Trade Unions Sri Lanka
187 Iyanola (St.Lucia) Council for the Advancement of Rastafari Incorperated (ICAR) St. Lucia
188 Windward Islands Farmers’ Association (WINFA) St. Vincent and the Grenadines
189 Stichting Projekta Suriname
190 Council for NGOs (CANGO) Swaziland
191 Berne Declaration Switzerland
192 Health Innovation in Practice Switzerland
193 Governance Links Tanzania Tanzania
194 Tanzania Association of NGOs Tanzania
195 The Asia Foundation Timor-Leste
196 La’o Hamutuk (The Timor-Leste Institute for Development Monitoring and Analysis) Timor-Leste
197 Groupe d’Action et de Reflexion sur l’Environnement et le Développement (GARED) Togo
198 Civil Society Forum of Tonga (CSFT) Tonga
199 Grassroots Organisations of Trinidad & Tobago (GOTT) Trinidad & Tobago
200 Tuvalu Association of NGOs (TANGO) Tuvalu
201 Centre for Health Human Rights and Development (CEHURD) Uganda



Dr Webster on PNG’s Special Agriculture and Business Lease (SABL) scheme

National Research Institute

Dr Thomas Webster, the Director of the PNG National Research Institute, gives his views on the Special Agriculture and Business Lease (SABL) scheme in Papua New Guinea in this interview.

Download by clicking on the link below (8.3Mb/MPEG):

Dr Thomas Webster on Special Agriculture and Business Lease (SABL) scheme in Papua New Guinea.


Legal opinion obtained on deep sea mining decree

Undersea mining
Undersea mining is an entirely new area of exploitation, the pitfalls of which are not fully known. Photo: subseaworldnews.com

A legal opinion by New Zealand lawyer Duncan Currie on a draft decree to legalise undersea mining has been obtained by PANG.

The opinion addresses International Seabed Mineral Management Decree 2013 draft of 13 February 2013. It only addresses the text of the draft decree on its face and does not attempt a ‘root and branch’ analysis of the draft decree.

For instance, it does not analyse the extent to which the draft decree should govern the conduct of environmental impact assessments, the implementation of marine protected areas, measures and response to events and impacts, details of recovery of costs compensation and redress in the case of environmental damage, public participation and regulatory mechanisms.

Download the legal opinion here (64KB PDF): Legal opinion on draft undersea mining decree

Download the legal opinion on the precautionary principleELAW_dsm_opinion


PACER Plus Bad for Business


By Pacific Network on Globalisation

3rd December 2015

New brief says Regional trade agreement bad for business

A new briefing paper released today states that Pacific businesses will pay too high a price from the current proposals in the regional trade agreement, known as PACER-Plus. The paper, released by the Pacific Network on Globalisation (PANG), details the dangers posed by PACER-Plus for Pacific livelihoods and how out of touch with the Pacific reality such free trade agreements are.

“PACER-Plus is sold as a great economic outcome for the Pacific but what we’re seeing is an agreement that is not being designed to support a dynamic Pacific economy. Rather it is one that will allow the bigger companies from Australia and New Zealand to further their already significant interest in the markets of the region” commented Adam Wolfenden, Campaigner with the Pacific Network on Globalisation.

The briefing paper, titled “Bad for Business: How PACER-Plus is a price too high for Pacific livelihoods and businesses” warns that an agreement in its current form will see weak safeguards unable to best protect local industries, significant loss of revenue for Pacific governments, and a shrinking ability to support domestic producers.

“Safeguarding local and infant industries is crucial to creating vibrant economies that support domestic producers yet the mechanisms proposed by the Office of the Chief Trade Advisor under PACER-Plus are too narrow in their scope, response and trigger to be of best use to protect Pacific businesses. Even the contentious interim Economic Partnership Agreements, something Papua New Guinea and Fiji only reluctantly signed has a broader safeguard mechanism than what is contained in PACER +,” added Mr Wolfenden.

“Australia and New Zealand already have a permanent, strong safeguard mechanism yet they are arguing against offering the same thing for the Pacific Islands. We keep hearing how this is a development agreement but there can be no development for the Pacific if their industries are wiped out,” continued Mr Wolfenden.

PACER-Plus will see Pacific Island Countries making binding commitments on their import taxes, placing a ceiling on them all as well as planning their lowering over a number of years.

“Governments have an important role to play in supporting Pacific businesses but PACER-Plus will undermine their ability to do so. Binding all import taxes, undermining the ability to ensure local content is used in any investment, and limiting the use of export subsidies robs the Pacific of the policy tools, used by almost all countries to develop, needed to create a supporting business environment in the Pacific. The result will be less opportunities for Pacific enterprises,” stated Mr Wolfenden.

The recent Forum Economic and Trade Ministers Meeting in the Cook Islands set mid-2016 as the deadline for concluding the negotiations on PACER-Plus.

“The Pacific is set to lose significant government funding from cutting out taxes from trade, this impacts the ability to fund those activities the support business like infrastructure, health care and education. We urgently need a suspension of the negotiations, the release of the text and an independent impact assessment of the proposals under PACER-Plus. Only then can we get the full picture about just what PACER-Plus will mean for Pacific livelihoods” concluded Mr Wolfenden.

The next round of negotiations for PACER-Plus will take place in Nadi, Fiji on December 7-11.

Read Brief – PACERPLUS Bad for Business and

MEDIA RELEASE – New brief says Regional trade agreement bad for business

ULMWP acknowledges Pacific leaders for supporting West Papua aspirations at the UN

Solomon Islandsimage: facebook
Solomon Islandsimage: facebook


07TH October 2015

The United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP) has commended the Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Tonga, Hon. Akilisi Pohiva, and the Prime Minister of the Solomon Islands, Hon. Manasseh Sogavare, for supporting West Papua at the recent 70th United Nations General Assembly in New York.

ULMWP spokesperson, Benny Wenda, expressed his deepest gratitude to the Pacific leaders and their people, saying, “on behalf of the people of West Papua, we the United Liberation Movement for West Papua would like to convey all our deepest and most sincere gratitude to our Pacific leaders for being the sole moral voices on West Papua at the United Nations.”

“We the people of West Papua listened to your historic speeches at the UN, which have brought great hope, emotion and positivity, which has displayed true Pacific solidarity for our people..we always feel a strong and unbreakable connection to our fellow Pacific family, and the bold statements by prime ministers from the Pacific have confirmed real Pacific solidarity.”

Wenda said the lead taken by Tonga and the Solomon Islands is promising, and is calling on other Pacific leaders to support the call by our Pacific leaders to hold talks with Indonesia for a fact finding mission to West Papua.

“We acknowledge and thank our Pacific leaders and people for assisting us to be recognized at the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG). The tremendous support has taken the issue of West Papua to the agenda of the PIF leaders, and we welcome the call for a fact finding mission and will work closely with our Pacific leaders on this mission.”

The ULMWP recognize the support of PIF Leaders and note other significant historical efforts by Pacific Island nations notably Vanuatu, Nauru and Tuvalu to support the right to self determination of West Papua at the United Nations and regionally.

Indonesia in its right to reply both Tonga and the Solomon Islands at the UNGA strongly rejects the references to human rights issues in West Papua and have labelled them dangerously misleading. While Indonesia denied these human right abuses, violations continued in Papua.

At 7:00pm on the 28th of September, two high school students were shot at the market in Timika town. One of the student died the other one was taken to hospital.

Wenda added that  contradiction between official denial and reality indeed calls for a fact finding mission as requested by the both Prime Ministers.

“We support the PIF leaders’ decision for an independent fact finding mission as the only way to verify independently the human rights situation on the ground. We urge the UN to support PIFL to set up a human rights fact finding mission.”

Since the Prime Ministers Pohiva and Sogavare respective addresses at the UN, there have been jubilant responses and positivity from West Papuans globally despite the ongoing military assault on West Papuan including the most recent death of two youths.

“We desperately need the help of our Pacific family for the people of West Papua continue to suffer under the illegal Indonesian occupation.”

The human rights situation is deteriorating and it estimated that over 500,000 West Papuan people have been killed ever since the territory was occupied in 1961.

Read press release: ULMWP acknowledges Pacific leaders for supporting West Papua aspirations at the United Nations (UN).

Trade Justice for Pacific Island Nations

APHEDA 160ACTU 160Logo

06th of October, 2015

Civil society groups from Australia and the Pacific are concerned about the rush to conclude talks on the regional free trade agreement known as PACER-Plus.

The Australian Fair Trade and Investment Network (AFTINET), Union Aid Abroad-APHEDA, the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU), Friends of the Earth, and Pacific Network on Globalisation (PANG) are holding a rally to coincide with the latest round of talks in Melbourne to call for trade justice for Pacific Islanders.

Kate Lee, Executive Officer of Union Aid Abroad – APHEDA commented that “Australia and New Zealand have a great deal of influence in the region because of their much greater size, wealth and position as aid donors. We are concerned that any agreement will suit the interests of Australia and New Zealand at the expense of the Pacific Island countries. Any agreement must ensure Pacific-centred development that ensures rights for workers, protection of the environment and culture, and respect for human rights.”

PACER-Plus talks were controversially launched in 2009 and are considered the most important trade agreement that the Pacific will negotiate in a decade. The talks are unique in their inclusion of Labour Mobility and Development Assistance in the negotiations.

Ged Kearney, the President of the ACTU added that “we have supported the Seasonal Worker Program because it is a well-regulated program where the workers that come to Australia have to be employed appropriately, they have to be paid appropriate wages, and they have to have an understanding of their rights. We would like to see that the PACER Plus negotiations continue that situation. We don’t want a lessening of the regulation around the program, to ensure that those workers who come here are not going to be subject to exploitation when they arrive.”

Pat Ranald from the AFTINET stated that “the threat of rising sea levels from climate change is more urgent than a free trade agreement, and Australia should heed the calls of Pacific Islanders to take a lead in reducing carbon emissions.”

There are concerns for what the outcome of PACER-Plus will mean for Pacific livelihoods, government revenue, access to essential services and ability to determine their own development.

Union Aid Abroad – APHEDA, AFTINET, the Pacific Network for Globalisation (PANG), Friends of the Earth, and the ACTU are calling for the immediate suspension of the negotiations, the release of the negotiating texts to undertake a human rights impact assessment and respect for the rights of Pacific workers.

The rally will take place at 12:00 noon, Wednesday 7th October, outside the Hotel Grand Chancellor 131 Lonsdale St, Melbourne.


Media contact:
Phone: +61401045
Adam Wolfenden,
Pacific Network for Globalisation

Text shows PACER-Plus letting Pacific down on development

aidwatch_logo 116 PANG Logo


Joint Press Release

23rd September 2019

Civil Society Organisations have had their fears about the impacts that regional trade talks will have on development prospects for the Pacific, confirmed with the leaking another chapter of the agreement. The chapter, titled “Development Assistance and Economic Cooperation”, considered one of the two most crucial areas of negotiations for Forum Island Countries (FICs), outlines the framework for assistance to be provided to FICs if they agree to conclude the regional free trade negotiations, known as PACER-Plus by 2016.

Controversially launched in 2009, PACER-Plus is seen as one of the most important trade negotiations for the Pacific in a decade. As part of including a ‘development’ component the Pacific have insisted on the inclusion of labour mobility and development assistance in the talks, the two areas of most interest to the Pacific Countries.

For seven years, negotiations have crawled along, buoyed only by the aggressive instance of Australia and New Zealand to lock down a legally binding agreement. Forum Island Countries have been reluctant with Papua New Guinea threatening to exit negotiations citing few, if any, benefits to them. Whilst Fiji having just rejoined is considering in detail whether the current text will hold any benefits for Fiji.

“This chapter was seen by Pacific countries as one of the key areas of benefit under PACER-Plus yet this chapter confirms that the Pacific are having to forgo their ability to determine their economic future in exchange for voluntary commitments from Australia and New Zealand to help implement the agreement plus some extra bilateral aid” commented Adam Wolfenden, Campaigner from the Pacific Network on Globalisation (PANG).

“This agreement is a Trojan horse to increase access to Pacific markets despite the fact that Australia and NZ already disproportionately benefit from current trade flows. It is a well known fact that ‘national interest’ is a key part of Australia’s aid program and the proposals made by Australia in this text just show how determined they are to control how the Pacific makes decisions about its development,” stated Thulsi Narayanasamy, Director of AID/WATCH, Australia’s independent watchdog on its aid program.

The text contains a Pacific proposal calling for a dedicated “Aid for Trade” fund to be administered through the bilateral aid programs of Australia and New Zealand. Aid for Trade encompasses a large number of activities including infrastructure initiatives, upgrading customs procedures, training for officials, and regulatory reform.

“Australia and New Zealand have existing Aid for Trade programs and Australia has already stated its targets for increasing this type of aid. It appears that the FICs are in the position of having to sign a trade agreement, an agreement that undermines their ability to develop, just to get a few extra aid dollars. That’s not development by anyone’s definition,” added Ms Narayanasamy.

One contentious proposal under the chapter is that Pacific nations would need to provide a contribution to any projects funded under the Aid for Trade fund. This allows the possibility of projects to not be funded by Australia and New Zealand if FICs can’t afford to also contribute.

“It is shameful see Australia foisting this agreement on the Pacific and to then turn around and keep attempting to limit the ways it should contribute. The text shows Australia trying to leave any future support to only being possible if there are ‘available resources’. Asking the Pacific nations to contribute to any additional projects funded throws away the veil that this was a development agreement” continued Ms Narayanasamy.

There has been a groundswell of opposition to the proposed agreement with Pacific Islanders and Civil Society groups rallying behind the Tabu PACER-Plus campaign. The next round of PACER-Plus negotiations will be taking place in Melbourne on October 7-9 with demonstrations expected.

“We know that this chapter has now been agreed upon but we don’t know how these issues have been resolved. We continue to demand that the negotiations be suspended, all chapters made public and a human rights impact assessment undertaken,” concluded Mr Wolfenden.

The leaked text can be accessed at: PacNEWS

For more information:
Adam Wolfenden
Campaigner, PANG
Ph: +61 401 045 536
E: campaigner@pang.org.fj

Thulsi Narayanasamy
Director, AID/WATCH
Ph: +61 405 801 943
E: Thulsi@aidwatch.org.au

Media Release – Text shows PACER-Plus letting Pacific down on development

Draft text of the Chapter on Development and Economic Co-operation – PACER Plus

Draft text of the Chapter on Development and Economic Co-operation – PACER Plus

By Online Editor
20/09/2015, Fiji


Article 1

Scope and Objectives

1.    The Parties reaffirm the importance of ongoing development and economic cooperation between them, including existing bilateral and regional cooperation [NZ: through the Australian and New Zealand Aid Programmes that supports the expansion and diversification of export of the Forum Island Countries and their increased participation in international trade.]

2.    [NZ: The Parties agree to improve trade and investment related assistance through their existing development and economic cooperation programmes, taking into account the priorities of the Forum Island Countries including in the following areas:


i.        Supply-side constraints to strengthen market access opportunities for the Forum Island Countries under this Agreement;

ii.        trade development, including strengthening domestic services capacity; and

iii.        trade and investment related regulatory capacity building.]

[AU: The Parties agree to improve and complement their existing development and economic cooperative partnership in trade and investment related areas where they have mutual interests, taking into account areas of utmost importance to the developing country Parties] [PICs: with a view to assisting them to enhance their participation in international trade and achieve economic growth and sustainable development]. In elaborating areas of partnership, account shall be taken of the different levels of development and capacities of the Parties.

3.    The parties take due note of the provisions in various Chapters of this Agreement that [AU/NZ: encourage and facilitate cooperation and consultation] PICs: highlight the capacity constraints of the developing country Parties and agree to adopt effective measures to address them comprehensively within a reasonable period of time].


Taking into account the capacity constraints of the developing country Parties and the provisions in the various Chapter that encourage and facilitate cooperation and consultation, the Parties agree to adopt targeted measures to address the capacity gaps in the developing country Parties’.

4.    Development and economic cooperation under this Chapter shall support implementation of this Agreement [AU/NZ: through trade and investment related activities specified in the Work Programme] [PICs: and facilitate the greater participation of the PICs in international trade.
The Work Program established within the framework of this Chapter shall assist the developing country Parties to implement their obligations under this Agreement.

Broader trade-related support to assist the PICs to enhance their participation in international trade shall be provided through the aid programmes of Australia and New Zealand. To that end, new and additional funding, to be channelled through a dedicated Aid for Trade fund in the aid programmes of Australia and New Zealand, shall be agreed bilaterally between Australia and New Zealand and individual Pacific Island Countries. The range of activities to be implemented to support the greater participation of the PICs in international trade shall include the following:


i.        promoting trade development through targeted measures in response to the need identified by the developing country Parties;

ii.        addressing supply-side constraints to strengthen the trade-related infrastructure of the developing country Parties; and

iii.        assistance to develop and strengthen regulatory capacity building.

iv.        adjustment assistance to adapt to the new condition of competition;]

Article 2


For the purpose of this Chapter:

a.     Implementing Party or implement parties meansfor each component of the Work Programme, the Party or Parties primarily responsible for the implementation of that component; and

b.    Work Program means, the programme of development and economic co-operation activities[AU/NZ: organised into components, mutually determined by the Parties [NZ/PICs:and based on the needs specified by the PICs] prior to the entry into force of this Agreement and revised by the Parties by mutual agreement pursuant to the mechanism in Article 7 after entry into force.

c.     Development assistance coordination agency means the agency of a Party with primary responsibility for the coordination and management of Official Development Assistance within that Party.

Article 3

Resources For the Work Program

1.    Recognising the development gaps between the Parties, [AU: the Parties shall contribute appropriately to the implementation of the Work Program.] [PICs/NZ: the developed country Parties shall devote adequate financial resources to ensure effective implementation of the Work Program which would assist the developing country Parties with the implementation of their obligations under the Agreement. Developing country Parties, in a position to do so, may contribute financially or in-kind to the implementation of the Work Program].

2.    In determining the appropriate level of contribution to the Work Programme, the Parties shall take into account:

[PICs: (a) the nature of the development priorities of the Forum Island Countries

a.     different levels of development and capacities of the Parties;

b.    any in-kind contributions that Parties are able to make to Work Program components;

c.     any contributions that non-Parties are able to make to Work Program components, directly and indirectly; and

d.    that the appropriate level of contribution enhances the relevance and sustainability of cooperation, strengthens partnerships between Parties and builds Parties shared commitment to the effective implementation and oversight of Work Program components.

Article 4

Development and Economic Cooperation Work Program

1.    Each Work Program component shall:

(a) be trade-or investment-related and support the implementation of this Agreement,

(b) be specified in the Work Program;

(c) [PICs: Wherever possible] [AU: involve a minimum of two Forum Island Country Parties, Australia and/or New Zealand] ;

(d) address the [AU: mutual priorities of the participating Parties; and [NZ/PICs: needs of the Forum Island countries as mutually prioritised by the participating countries];

(e) Wherever possible, avoid duplication in relation to, and build on and complement existing economic cooperation activities and delivery mechanisms.

2.    The description of each Work Program component shall specify the details necessary to provide clarity to the Parties regarding the scope and purpose of such component.



Article 5

Focal Points for Implementation

1.    Each Party shall designate a focal point for all matters relating to the implementation of the Work Program and shall keep all Parties updated on its focal point’s details.

2.    The focal points shall be responsible for overseeing and reporting on the implemention of the Work Program in accordance with Article 6 (Implementation and Evaluation of Work Program Components) and Article 7 (Review of Work Program), and for responding to enquiries from any Party regarding the Work Program.

3.    The focal point of a Party shall coordinate on the Work Program with the development assistance coordination agency of that Party.

Article 6

Implementation and Evaluation of Work Program Components

1.    Prior to the commencement of each Work Program component, the implementing Party or Parties, in consultation with relevant participating Parties, shall develop an implemention plan for that Work Program component and provide that plan to each Party.

2.    The implementing Party or Parties for a Work Program component shall use existing mechanisms for the implementation of that component, unless otherwise agreed by those Parties.

3.    Until the completion of a Work Program component, the implementing Party or Parties shall regularly monitor and evaluate the relevant component and provide periodic reports to each Party including a final component completion report.

Article 7

Review and Modification of Work Program

1.    At the direction of theJoint Committee, the Work Program shall be reviewed within [PICs: two] [AU: three] years after its implementation and thereafter at regular intervals to assess its overall effectiveness [PICs: in terms of assisting the Forum Island Country Parties to implement their PACER Plus obligations in support of the Agreements broader objectives].

2.    The Joint Committee [AU/NZ: may] [PICs: shall, where appropriate] modify the Work Program taking into account outcomes of reviews [AU:,] [PICs: and] priorities

 [PICs: of the Forum Island Countries].

[AU: and available resources].

Article 8

Non-Application of Chapter [..] (Consultations and Dispute settlement)

Chapter [..] (Consultation and Dispute settlement) shall not apply to any matter arising under this Chapter.

10th Intersessional Meeting

Discussions on Development Assistance


This paper contains clean copy draft text incorporating outcomes of the 9th Intercessional Meeting of PACER Plus officials.

Text that is not agreed is in square brackets and attributed as follows:

  • “AU:”for text tabled by Australia;
  • “FIC:” for text tabled by OCTA/FICs; and
  • “NZ:”for text tabled by New Zealand.

Tex that is not agreed is as follows:

  • Blue for text tabled by Australia;
  • Red for text tabled by OCTA/FICs; and
  • Olive green for text tabled by New Zealand.

Source: PacNEWS

Leaders must urge Trade Ministers to act on trade impact assessment


1 September 2015

Leaders must urge Trade Ministers to act on trade impact assessment

Civil society organisations from across the Pacific welcome the recommendation by the Special Sub- Committee on Regionalism (SSCR) and endorsed by the Forum Officials Committee (FOC) for the immediate release of negotiating text of regional free trade talks, known as PACER-Plus to allow for comprehensive input by civil society organisations and to properly fund social, cultural, environmental, and human rights impact assessment to determine the impacts of any proposed outcome.

“We are calling on Forum Leaders to direct their trade ministers to intervene and undertake a human rights assessment of PACER-Plus as early as the next intersessional, scheduled for the first week of October in Melbourne, Australia, where negotiations will be further progressed. This agreement will impose limits on what governments can do in the name of development yet we haven’t seen any discussion about what the impacts will be for people, the environment, health, culture, and jobs.” commented Maureen Penjueli, Coordinator of the Pacific Network on Globalisation (PANG).

An open letter released in May targeting trade ministers has largely been ignored both by the Office of the Chief Trade Advisor (OCTA) as well as trade ministers from the respective countries. The open letter signed by over 30 Pacific civil society organisations and hundreds of individuals from across 24 island countries and territories represents a significant percentage of people who have expressed serious concern at the direction, pace, content and process for consultation.

The signatories have called for the immediate suspension of negotiations for PACER-Plus, the release of the negotiating text and a human rights impact assessment on that text. The endorsement by Forum leaders will give political impetus and direction to the negotiating machinery of PACER-Plus.

“The open letter continues to resonate today and gain support from people across the region and that indicates that this is a sentiment that is not going to go away. People want to know and people deserve to know what this secret deal is going to mean for them. In addition CSOs are concerned that the democratic processes of decision making by our respective parliaments have also been kept out by the secrecy of negotiations” added Ms Penjueli.

“Releasing the text is not without precedence. The World Trade Organisation does it regularly on negotiating issues and the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) had the text released three times. The FTAA was successfully stopped because people didn’t like what they saw. According to the free trade supporters such as the OCTA we have nothing to fear from PACER-PLUS, if so then they have nothing to hide,” continued Ms Penjueli.

A recent UN expert panel, including amongst others the special rapporteurs on right to food, rights of indigenous peoples, and cultural rights, recommended that all draft treaty texts be published for people to consider and human rights impact assessments undertaken for all existing and proposed trade agreements.

Noelene Nabulivou of Diverse Voices and Action for Equality and Pacific Partnerships on Gender, Climate Change and Sustainable Development (PPGCCSD) noted that “we need gender, social equity and economic justice as clear and consistent policy framework within which to pursue sustainable production, consumption, and distribution patterns, and to adequately deal with the challenges ahead of our region. For just and effective policy, this requires strong ex-ante and other human rights, environmental and social impact assessments applied to all trade and development agreements, including the proposed PACER-Plus.”

Dr Hugh Govan who works with a network of communities and NGOs that manage coastal fisheries resources around the region (LMMA Network) says “hasty moves towards free trade agreements are of grave concern and could seriously affect livelihoods and health of island communities. It is a priority for donors and island governments to invest much more in stronger environment and fisheries departments with much more emphasis on sustainable management of inshore fisheries and checks and balances on development, in particular Environmental Impact Assessments and the monitoring of these to ensure sustainable development.”

Launched amid controversy in 2009, the PACER-Plus negotiations are scheduled to be completed by July 2016.

“The time for Leaders to act on this is now. We keep hearing about how much progress is being made in the talks and the plan to wrap up text-based negotiations by the end of the year. We really can’t wait any longer as it will soon be too late to make any difference,” concluded Ms Penjueli.

The next round of PACER-Plus negotiations is scheduled to take place on October 7-9 in Melbourne.


Media Release – Leaders must urge Trade Ministers to act on trade impact assessment

The full open letter can be viewed at www.pang.org.fj

For more information:

Maureen Penjueli
Pacific Network on Globalisation
Ph: +679 331 6722
Email: coordinator@pang.org.fj

Dr Hugh Govan
LMMA Network
Ph: +64 992 1224
Email: hgovan@gmail.com

Noelene Nabulivou
Diverse Voices and Action for Equality (DIVA)
Pacific Partnerships on Gender, Climate Change and Sustainable Development (PPGCCSD)
Ph: + 679 9809006
Email: noelenen@gmail.com

Free Trade Benefits Unconvincing


By Pacific Network on Globalisation

03rd August 2015

Free Trade Benefits Remain Unconvincing

A Pacific regional trade network remains unconvinced of the benefits of the free trade agreement – known as PACER-Plus – as the latest round of negotiations begin today.

The Pacific Network on Globalisation (PANG) says that the despite being sold as a ‘development agreement’ it is the Pacific that is shouldering the burden of legal commitments in the talks whilst Australia and NZ offer voluntary commitments.

“The Pacific have agreed to make binding legal commitments on their sovereignty, limiting their ability to determine how and what type of investment comes into their countries, undercutting policies that maximise the benefits for local workers are just some of the examples of how bad this deal is for Pacific Island countries. Australia and New Zealand on the other hand offering only voluntary commitments can opt out on their promises of access for Pacific workers and extra aid money at will” commented PANG Campaigner Adam Wolfenden.

The recent announcement by Australia of the removal of the cap on its Seasonal Worker Program has been sold by the Office of the Chief Trade Advisor (OCTA) as a positive sign in the context of the PACER-Plus negotiations and have “re-enegised” the talks.

“The claims by the OCTA that there is more energy back in the talks and possible momentum to conclude a deal are forgetting one crucial factor – they aren’t bringing the people along with it and perhaps even some governments remain unconvinced. Churches, environment groups, gender rights activists, trade unions, farmers, academics, indigenous groups, youth groups and more have all called for the immediate suspension of the talks and the releasing of the negotiation texts so that impact assessments can be undertaken to determine the real value of PACER-Plus” added Mr Wolfenden.

Prior to the last round of negotiations on PACER-Plus an open letter signed by over 30 civil society organisations representing a major part of Pacific people voices was released and sent to all Forum Countries calling for the immediate suspension of the talks, the release of the text and a human rights impact assessment of what is proposed under PACER-Plus.

The Chief Trade Advisor to the Forum Island Countries, Dr Kessie, has recently stated that if PACERPlus was to increase the Pacific’s share of global trade from its current amount of 0.05% to 0.5% in would result in a US$50 billion increase in annual income. No research was release to explain how PACER-Plus could increase Pacific trade by 1000% and whether or not that increase would be for the Pacific’s benefit.

Mr Wolfenden continued “it is clear that the people don’t want PACER-Plus and that is why we’re seeing the proponents of the agreement make ridiculous assertions of the proposed benefits without providing any evidence or research that supports their figures. They hope that if they repeat their numbers often enough people will accept them but that isn’t the way to have a discussion about the future of the Pacific’s economic development”.

The PACER-Plus negotiations were controversially launched in 2009 and include the 14 Forum Islands
Countries including Australia and New Zealand. The talks are aimed to be concluded by the end of

For more information:
Adam Wolfenden
Email: campaigner@pang.org.fj
Twitter: tabupacerplus
Facebook: Tabu PACER Plus

Joey Tau
Media Officer
Ph: +679 3316 722

Pacific CSOs support global moratorium call on ESM


29th July 2015

 Pacific CSOs support global call for moratorium on ESM.

 Citizens from all around the world including civil society organizations in the Pacific have joined the global call on the International Seabed Authority (ISA) to halt issuing further exploration licenses and to establish a moratorium on experimental deep sea mining.

 The Pacific coalition inclusive of partners with the Bismarck Ramu Group (BRG) in Madang, Papua New Guinea, and regional NGO, Pacific Network on Globalisation (PANG) supports the international call.

 PANG’s Media and Campaigns Officer, Joey Tau says it is risky for the Pacific region as work on this experimental process of mining our seafloor is progressing faster than the science can catch up.

 “Over 1.5 million square kilometres of ocean floor within Pacific EEZ’s is already under exploration leasehold in the Pacific Ocean alone and the ISA has approved 27 exploration licenses for deep sea mining in international waters,” said Tau.

 Hey say it is disappointing that exploration in the Pacific has taken place with no proper understanding of the environmental impacts of exploration, let alone full scale exploitation of resources. In addition the free and prior informed consent of customary land owners have not been considered in the rush to mine minerals on the seafloor.

 BRG coordinator, John Chitoa, shared similar views, adding that terrestrial mining in PNG and the region have proven disastrous, thus we should not touch the sea which is our heritage, our identity, and our existence.

“The risks and impacts of this experimental mining are still unknown and Pacific people must be properly consulted before any work is carried including exploration,” said Chitoa.

New Zealand has rejected two marine applications to mine the seabed while the Northern Territory of Australia has extended the imposed moratoriums (which have later led to respective bans).

All of these decisions based on the lack of clear scientific understanding of the impact of seabed mining and therefore the strictest application of the precautionary principle, as well as the potential impact of livelihoods and customary practices of indigenous communities who are custodians of these resources.

Chitoa argues that both cases from New Zealand and Australia should be precedent cases for the Pacific, especially PNG to follow.

The coalition adds that the issue of deep sea mining is not just for scientists and mining companies. The debate has to be much broader and completely transparent.

There is insufficient scientific data about the impacts of experimental deep sea mining, no regulatory frameworks in place to govern mining operations and the capacity to enforce such frameworks does not yet exist.


You can download the press release here

 For more information:

 John Chitoa


Bismarck Ramu Group

Phone: +675 423 3011

 Joey Tau

Media and Campaigns Officer

Pacific Network on Globalisation

Phone: +675 331 6722

ULMWP acknowledges solidarity in Melanesia


19th of June, 2015

ULMWP acknowledges solidarity in Melanesia

Honiara, Solomon Islands – The United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP) today welcomed the decision by the Solomon Islands Government to endorse West Papua’s observer status of the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG).

Solomon Islands Prime Minister, Manasseh Sogavare said his government will endorse West Papua to be an Observer of the MSG and this Observer Status is given only to one united group.

Secretary General of the ULMWP, Octovianus Mote, thanked Prime Minister, Manasseh Sogavare, and his Cabinet, in exercising its decision making mandate on behalf of the people of Solomon Islands.

“We from the ULMWP would like to personally thank the Government and the people of the Solomon Islands for paving the path to bring West Papua back to the Melanesian family. This is a courageous decision and an important step towards resolving the conflict,” said Mr Mote.

Mote said the Solomon Islands has a history of supporting West Papua. In 1996 former Prime Minister the late Solomon Mamaloni met with the late Seth Rumkorem of the Organisasi Papua Merderka. Mamaloni pledged to Mr Rumkorem saying, “your struggle is my struggle…if our generation doesn’t do anything about it, forever future generations will condemn us.”

“Prime Minister Sogavare’s endorsement displays firm Melanesian solidarity, and I would like to attribute this decision to the energetic efforts of the solidarity movement here in the Solomon Islands, especially the civil society groups, churches, youth, women’s groupings,” said Mr Mote.

The General Secretary also thanked the Governments of Vanuatu and FLNKS (Kanaky) for their long term support for West Papua.

“Vanuatu is a long term supporter of West Papua, and I want to acknowledge successive leaders who have brought the issue of West Papua to the UN and for also initiating the Wantoks Blo Yumi Bill for West Papua,” he added. As a result self-determination in West Papua is not just the concern of a supportive government, it has become the nation’s responsibility.

The ULMWP also thanked the solidarity movements in Fiji and Papua New Guinea, and continues to appeal to both governments. Fiji has in the past has expressed concern about the growing human rights violations in West Papua. While PNG Prime Minister Peter O’Neill this year made a bold statement about PNG needing to do more on the human rights violations in West Papua. He went on further to add that PNG had a moral obligation “to be the eyes for those that are blindfolded”.

“The solidarity movements through Melanesian and the Pacific is growing, and it is the people, civil societies, churches, the chiefs, women’s groups and youth that continue to support us. You are our kin and we feel that you are part of our family.”

The decision by the Solomon Islands comes timely as MSG leaders prepare to meet on the 26th of this month.


For more information:
Joey Tau
Acting ULMWP Media Advisor
Email: jtaurakava@gmail.com
Mobile: +6777364058

Octovianus Yoakim Mote

Secretary General of United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP)
33 Nassau Ave, 2nd floor unit 87, Brooklyn, New York, 11222. Phone: + 1 917 7203641. Mobile: + 1 203 520 3055. email: tuarek61@gmail.com

Benny Wenda, Jacob Rumbiak,

Leoni Tanggahma

Rex Rumakiek

Spokesperson Executive Officer Executive Officer Executive Officer


Solomon Islands Endorses Observer Status to West Papua at the MSG


Office of the Prime Minister

19 June 2015


I hereby make this official announcement on behalf of the Sovereign State of Solomon Islands on the application by the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP) for Membership of the Melanesia Spearhead Group (MSG).

The Cabinet, in exercising its decision-making mandate on behalf of the people of Solomon Islands, agreed that:
1. Solomon Islands Government will endorse West Papua to be an Observer of the MSG and this Observer Status is given only to one united group.

2. Solomon Islands Government will agree that any submission for full membership to the MSG by a group representing Melanesians in Indonesia must be united and done in consultation with Indonesia as agreed by MSG Leaders in 2013 and 2014 respectively.

3. Solomon Islands Government will encourage MSG to continue to explore avenues for Indonesia in its interest to be an Associated Member of MSG within the guidelines approved by Leaders in 2012.

4. Solomon Islands Government will engage with all MSG stakeholders in communicating the above positions.

The above mentioned positions had been made in light of the need to enhance Melanesian solidarity, values, continuity and maintain good neighborliness.

Geopolitics and international commerce aside, these resolutions are founded on Christian principles which form the bedrock of our National Constitution.

They also recognize the need to create international space for Melanesians seeking the inalienable rights and freedoms they sought to achieve through peaceful co-existence.

Read Official Announcement by Prime Minister