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Wednesday, 20 September

06:30

Rebuilding education and peace in Mindanao Devpolicy Blog from the Development Policy Centre

Ella, not her real name, was allegedly caught as an amazon or woman fighter for the MNLF [Moro National Liberation Front] during the Zamboanga siege in September 2013. Her family is poor and she supported herself through vocational school by selling in the market. She was forced to leave her studies to help raise funds for a big amount of dowry that her brother needs to pay for his brides family. To prevent rido or clan feuding, the brother had to get married even if they were too young to settle down. Ella and her younger siblings stopped going to school to help in paying for the familys debts and in earning a living for the family.

The education sector in the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) exists within a complex and multi-layered social, political, economic and conflict environment. There are an estimated more than 10,000 displaced children from the recent Marawi conflict who will be unable to attend school this year. Both government troops and local residents have reported that child soldiers are fighting for the Maute/ISIS group in Marawi City. There is genuine fear that out-of-school children are vulnerable and at risk of being recruited by extremist groups. According to a joint DFAT and World Bank study in 2014, the education deficit in ARMM is so serious that only one in ten students will complete high school.

Ellas story, and what has happened in Marawi, illustrate how education poverty perpetuates conflict and the poverty trap in Mindanao. Thus, education is a vital component of peacebuilding in Mindanao. Our own research, based on a Justice User Survey with 540 respondents administered over six areas in ARMM in June-July 2016, confirms that next to health services, education is the Philippine government service most desired by people in ARMM. Peace and security, employment, and basic utilities are also urgently needed in the region.

Yet, past peace settlement efforts have glossed over this critical dimension of addressing the cycle of conflict and poverty. Most initiatives were geared towards showcasing immediate and short-term peace dividends rather than cultivating gradual and long-term solutions to structural drivers of conflict. The poor state of education in the ARMM reflects a long history of funding neglect from government, poor institutional arrangements and coordinati...

06:00

3MAP: ideas for improving Australian aid and development policy Devpolicy Blog from the Development Policy Centre

3MAP: the Three-Minute Aid Pitch will take place for the second time at the fifth annual Australasian Aid Conference (AAC) on February 13 and 14, 2018, following its great success at the 2017 AAC.

3MAP was first introduced at the 2017 AAC, and is an interactive plenary session to discuss ideas for improving Australian aid and international development policy. Speakers will present and discuss their proposals for no more than 3 minutes each, followed by rapid-fire audience reaction, and a vote. Last year, we had a host of great ideas brilliantly communicated, ranging from better aid PR to a new aid agency to expanded Pacific labour mobility check out the video from the 2017 AAC here.

Were looking for keen minds with a great idea for improving Australian aid and international development policy. If this is you and youre interested in promoting your idea, this is an opportunity to present your idea to an audience of researchers and practitioners from around Australia and the region. Please submit a short paragraph outlining your pitch to devpolicy@anu.edu.au (with 3MAP in the subject line) no later than Friday December 8. The authors of the top 10 most promising submissions will be invited to pitch their ideas at the 2018 AAC.

(Please note that if you are selected, your registration fee will be waived, but you will be required to register for and attend the conference; registration details can be found here.)

The post 3MAP: ideas for improving Australian aid and development policy appeared first on Devpolicy Blog from the Development Policy Centre.

05:04

Govt removes critical powers from proposed corruption watchdog Act Now! blogs

The government has amended draft legislation for an Independent Commission Against Corruption to remove some of its most critical powers and open the doors to political interference. This watering down of the powers of the ICAC means the government will be creating exactly the kind of 'toothless monster' the Secretary for Justice warned about in his letter to the media published on the 18th of September.

The governments changes were announced at a UPNG Seminar last week, by the Minister for Justice, Davis Stevens. He said, the government has removed the ICACs powers of arrest and prosecution and placed the Prime Minister in charge of the appointments process for the Commissioners.

ACT NOW! has been leading the campaign for the ICAC to be established with the governments first 100 days, and has collected more than 2,000 signatures on its petition, but is dismayed at the governments changes.

Denying the ICAC full powers of arrest and prosecution means it will not be able to act independently and effectively to investigate, prosecute and ensure those guilty of corruption are punished.

Instead the ICAC investigators will be dependent on other agencies like the police and public prosecutor to ensure their findings are acted upon. This has been one of the weaknesses in the existing anti-corruption bodies as police and public prosecutor are already overwhelmed, under funded and subject to political interference.

Over the past twenty years there have been numerous Commissions of Inquiry that have recommended dozens of people be prosecuted for misusing and stealing public funds, but time and again the police and public prosector have failed to follow up. The new ICAC should not be adopting this failed system.

The governments proposed ICAC will be as toothless as the Commissions of Inquiry it is supposed to improve on!

It is essential the ICAC is fully independent of other government agencies and full funded to investigate, charge and prosecute those accused of corruption.

ACT NOW! is also critical of the governments failure to publish a full copy of the draft legislation and its intention to put the Prime Minister in charge of the panel appointing the Commissioners.

The people of PNG deserve and demand better!

Tuesday, 19 September

10:58

Australia tries to deport Rohingya to persecution "IndyWatch Feed Politics.au"

Myanmar is currently waging a campaign of ethnic cleansing against its Rohingya minority. So naturally, the racist Australian government is trying to force Rohingya detained in its concentration camps to return to persecution:

Australia is promising thousands of dollars to Rohingya refugees who agree to return to Myanmar, a country that has been accused of ethnic cleansing against the Muslim minority.

Asylum seekers in the Australian-run detention centre on Papua New Guineas Manus Island, have been pressured by officials to return to their home countries, even if they face violence.

[...]

Returning Rohingya to their country could put their lives at risk. Myanmar does not recognise the ethnic minority and has conducted military operations in Rohingya villages that the United Nations top human rights official branded a textbook example of ethnic cleansing.

Close to 400,000 Rohingya have fled to neighbouring Bangladesh, many with bullet wounds and stories of mass killings, as their villages burn.


This is simply monstrous. But its the ultimate endpoint of Australia's racist, anti-refugee policies: sending people back to be murdered. And the parallels with the shameful treatment of Jews fleeing Nazi Germany - treatment which the Refugee Convention was created to prevent any repeat of - couldn't be any clearer.

10:00

The Internal Demand Side of Oil & Gas Is Critical For Economic Development In PNG! PNGBLOGS

PNG has recently joined the few elite and prestige club of oil and gas producing countries in the world comprising of both developed ( US) and developing (South American & Arab Countries) as a significant producer of oil and gas and we as a nation should be proud of the achievement and classification of our country as such.
With the very first discovery, production and export of Kutubu and Gobe Oil and the very recent production and export of the multi-billion Kina LNG and two new LNG ( Papua and Elk & Antelope) Projects in the pipeline to be developed soon, PNG is held in high regard by both petroleum investors as well as consumers of oil and gas the world over, making it one of the best and viable hydrocarbon investment destinations in the world.
One determining factor that makes hydrocarbon investment and for that matter mineral investment in PNG more attractive is the legislative regime that governs these sectors which favors foreign investors more over the reso...

09:09

CELEBRATING INDEPENDENCE TIME TO LOOK FOR A $US6 BILLION BIRTHDAY PRESENT? PNGBLOGS

by PAUL FLANAGAN

16 September 2017 marks PNGs 42nd anniversary of Independence. How have things been going?
A good benchmark for measuring progress is PNGs Vision 2050 document. This sets out a blueprint for making PNG a Smart, Wise, Happy and Fair Society by 2050. The Visions primary measurement indicator is We will be ranked in the top 50 in the United Nations Human Development Index by 2050.

So how is PNG going towards meeting this goal? The following graph shows PNGs progress in improving its Human Development Index (this is a composite index of factors such as life expectancy, education, and incomes).

Since the 2050 Vision document was released in 2010, PNG had its lowest rate of improvement since 1990. After doing well in the early 90s and during the 2000s, PNG has gone back to even worst rates of development than in the disastrous late 1990s.

To meet the goal of being in the top 50, PNG needs to move from its 154th ranking of 188 countries in 2010 and jump forward by at least two places every year.  So from 2011 to 2015, did PNG jump some 10 positions? No, it stayed exactly in 154th position by 2015 (the latest available data).  Indeed, it is now in equal 154th position as Zimbabwe has moved forward and it now ranked exactly the same at PNG.  PNG is in the bottom 20 per cent of countries and not moving forward.  This is not good news.

Vision 2050 also focuses on measuring changes in household disposable income a good measure of economic progress according to Sarkozy/Stiglitz Commission.  The best available proxy for this is tracking changes in real non-resource GDP per capita see here and here. As shown in the graph below, this has actually fallen by over 40 per cent since 1980.
...

06:30

Why Australia must restore shortwave radio to the Pacific Devpolicy Blog from the Development Policy Centre

On our Australian doorstep is an amazing place, Papua New Guinea. Seven of us were there for the month of August, exploring a remote region of islands and atolls in the Massim district of Milne Bay Province by boat, visiting places most people would not think of seeing.

The incredible opportunity we experienced was matched with a grateful appreciation and response form the communities we meet at each of the 30 islands we stopped at. There was mutual respect. We werent there just as tourists, we were interested in their culture and in particular their many different, traditional types of single outrigger canoe. They responded with information, introduced elders who talked of the past, let us look over the craft in detail and even took us sailing.

Harry Beran discussing traditional canoes at Wabanum village, Muyuw (Woodlark) Island (image: John Greenshields)

Harry Beran discussing traditional canoes at Wabanum village, Muyuw (Woodlark) Island

As Australians we were warmly received everywhere. Australia was the PNG administrator for decades and has left many good things in place. The Australian influence was there in diverse ways, including an inspired wooden Hills Hoist and outdoor bench setting at Boagis village, way out at the extreme end of PNG territory.

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