Friday, March 7, 2008

Dawn of A New Era for Papua New Guinea and Australia

Papua New Guinea and Australia have come a long way. There is a lot of history between these two countries and I see this first official visit by the new Australian PM Rudd to Port Moresby this week as a significant boost towards a better working relationship between Port Moresby and Canberra. The front page of the Post Courier Newspaper in Papua New Guinea captivated a light moment between the two Prime Ministers. See below.

Below is also an article from the Post Courier Newspaper [March 7, 2008]

Somare and Rudd sign greenhouse gas deal

Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare yesterday signed an agreement with Australian colleague Kevin Rudd to lay the groundwork for the two nations to work towards reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
The agreement would enable the creation of a framework aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions in PNG from deforestation and forest degradation, improve the livelihoods of forest-dependent communities, and promote the protection of Papua New Guinea’s biodiversity.
“If you look at the overall challenge of climate change, the big source of emissions is coal-fired electricity generation around the world; a second big challenge for the overall climate change dynamic is what happens with deforestation and avoided deforestation. How do we best manage that into the future? And it is in this area where countries like Brazil, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea have such a significant role to play. That’s why in this Papua New Guinea-Australia forest carbon partnership, we’ve outlined a new framework to work together on this, a regular dialogue on how we can advance this agenda within the international forums of the world,” said Mr Rudd, after signing the PNG-Australia Forest Carbon Partnership Agreement with Sir Michael.
As part of the agreement, PNG and Australia will engage in policy dialogue on climate change issues, mainly focusing on how emissions from deforestation and forest degradation can be reduced using provisions of the Kyoto Protocol and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
Mr Rudd said a private carbon market scheme could be created as part of the agreement, which would enable PNG to make revenue from such a scheme.
“On the basis of them (PNG) engaging in programs to reduce deforestation,” he added.
A recently released report on climate change, produced by Mr Rudd’s climate change advisor Professor Ross Garnaut, recommended that Australia signed partnership agreements on greenhouse gas emissions with Indonesia and PNG.
Prof Garnaut said such an agreement, if built around a framework utilising large revenue flows for the sale of emissions permits for development purposes (including cash and development opportunities for village communities currently enjoying cash and services from forestry operations), could be advantageous for PNG.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Australian Prime Minister Rudd Official Visit To Papua New Guinea

The new Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd's official visit to Papua New Guinea today can be viewed positively as a means to mend strained relationship with Australia. Papua New Guinea's relationship with Canberra over the last few years was not good at all and most of the blame is on the previous Australian government under John Howard and its poor handling of issues affecting Papua New Guinea.

Below is a report [March 6, 2008] from the Papua New Guinea Post Courier

Red carpet rolled out for Aust PM Rudd

AUSTRALIAN Prime Minister Kevin Rudd will receive red carpet treatment when he arrives in Port Moresby this morning. Mr Rudd, who has visited the country and walked the Kokoda Track three years ago, is arriving for the first time as the new Australian Prime Minister. The colourful reception includes huge banners with his picture and traditional dancers from the four regions of the country. Mr Rudd arrives at the Jackson’s International Airport on an Australian Defence Force jet accompanied by a 20-member delegation.
The delegation will be welcomed by both leaders including the Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare, ministers and the singsing groups. A similar reception is planned
for Mr Rudd and his delegation when he visits the Highlands town of Goroka tomorrow where he will visit two Australia-funded projects.
He will meet his counterpart, Sir Michael today after making a courtesy call on the Governor-General Sir Paulias Matane at Government House. He will also meet with the Opposition Leader Sir Mekere Morauta and his deputy Bart Philemon. The Prime Minister who is here for a three-day tour, will visit Bomana War Memorial and lay a wreath before returning to the hotel awaiting the dinner at Parliament House hosted by Sir Michael. Mr Rudd is visiting on an invitation by Sir Michael at the Bali climate change forum late last year.
He was then newly appointed Prime Minister after defeating John Howard. His visit is expected to boost bilateral relations between the two countries which had been on a sour note before he became the Prime Minister.


Below is another report [March 6, 2008] from The National Newspaper

Welcome to PNG, Mr Rudd

AUSTRALIAN prime minister Kevin Rudd arrives today on an official visit, and is expected to discuss a wide range of issues with his PNG counterpart Sir Michael Somare.

Foreign Affairs, Trade and Immigration Minister Sam Abal said told The National yesterday that this is the first such visit in 11 years, and it underlines the importance of the relationship between the two countries.
“The visit is an important statement by the Rudd government in terms of our relationship,” Mr Abal said. “It shows PNG is right back on the radar.”
Mr Rudd will land at the Jackson Airport at 10am on an Australian defence force jet. He will be welcomed by Mr Abal and singsing groups, and inspect a guard of honour before heading to Government House to meet the Governor-General.
A planned protest to be staged by 500 Koiari landowners over the Kokoda Track issue was aborted when the National Security Advisory Committee warned them against it, the president of the Koiari local level government Willie Wavi said yesterday.
Intelligence sources reported a foreigner was involved in instigating the protest, but the situation has been contained.
Mr Wavi said the landowners were to protest over the plan to block a proposed mine and move to list the area on the World Heritage listing.
Mr Rudd may also be presented with a petition from news organisations in PNG and other Pacific Islands regarding the deportation of Fiji Sun publisher Russell Hunter.
The news organisations are expected to press Mr Rudd to oust members of the Fiji military from Ramsi duties in the Solomon Islands.
As of last night, discussions were still underway among news organisation from the Solomon Islands, Samoa and PNG to finalise the petition.
PINA president and NBC managing director Joseph Ealadona is expected to present the petition or make known the position of the Pacific media if given the chance to speak to Mr Rudd.
Meanwhile, the Australian media reported yesterday that Mr Rudd would canvass support from PNG and the Solomon Islands to impose further sanctions against the Fijian military government including sports boycott to force rugby obsessed military leader Commodore Frank Bainamara to respect human rights and return the country to democratic rule.
After paying a courtesy call on the Sir Paulias Matane, Mr Rudd will meet Sir Michael and his cabinet ministers in a conference and later will meet Opposition leader Sir Mekere Morauta and his deputy Bart Philemon.
In the afternoon he will visit the Bomana War Cemetery to lay wreaths on the Cross of Sacrifice, and later attend a State dinner in his honour hosted by Sir Michael.
Tomorrow, Mr Rudd will attend a breakfast co-hosted by the Australian-PNG Business Council and the PNG Business Council in association with the Australian Alumni Association, before flying to Goroka to tour the Institute of Medical Research and meet with NGO’s including Save the Children and Appropriate Technology Projects.
Mr Rudd will later be escorted by the CEO of the Coffee Industry Corporation Ricky Mitio through a coffee-tree-to-cup display, and to view a traditional mumu.
He then visits Goroka Base Hospital, the Eastern Highlands provincial administration headquarters and the Daulo district administration before returning to Port Moresby.
He leaves Port Moresby early on Saturday morning for the Solomon Islands.