Newsletter, News

CID Weekly: Trade, aid and vaccine roll outs, plus 'Tiff at PIF' continues

Posted on 23 February 2021

Development & Humanitarian News

+ 'Tiff at PIF' continues over election of new President

The Marshall Islands has joined FSM and Palau in initiating the process of leaving the Pacific Island Forum, after the election of former Cook Islands Prime Minister Henry Puna to the PIF Presidency. They claim the election of Henry Puna goes against a gentlemen's agreement to rotate leadership between Micronesia, Melanesia, and Polynesia.  Kiribati and Nauru are also expected to withdraw.

Fijian President Frank Bainimarama has urged the Micronesian states to reconsider, saying that "we are held fast together by thousands of years of shared culture, traditions and history, and now by shared political, strategic and economic interests"

The stoush is part of an ongoing debate about the membership of PIF - with Australia and New Zealand included while other territories such as New Caledonia, Hawaii, American Samoa, and Guam are not.  Palau President Surangel Whipps Jr has called the recent controversy a "tragedy" for Micronesia and the Pacific.

+ WTO's new chief highlights vaccine inequality

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala is the first woman and first African to lead the World Trade Organisation (WTO). 

Her first call-to-action was to encourage member countries to lift export restrictions on food and medical products during COVID, and  stimulate vaccine production. 

She is the former Nigerian finance minister and chairwoman of GAVI (the vaccine-finance agency getting vaccines to developing countries).

Fixing the WTO is not enough. She also wants it to help bring an end to the pandemic, too, because trade is needed to get vaccines to most of the world, she says.

Many have complained that the WTOs intellectual-property rules are too rigid, and protect pandemic profiteers over the poor.

"Médecins Sans Frontières has pointed to Italian producers of 3D-printed ventilator valves threatened with patent-infringement lawsuits, or South African producers struggling to access raw materials for Covid-19 tests. In emergencies the agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual-Property Rights (TRIPS) allows governments to issue “compulsory” licences to make health-related products without the permission of the patent holder. So far, though, none has," reports the Economist.

+ 130 countries remain unvaccinated

United Nation's Secretary General says 130 countries have not received a single dose of the COVID vaccine.  So far, 10 countries have used 75% of all vaccines, according to Antonio Guterres, Secretary General .

The global COVID vaccination programmes won't work unless all countries are immunised, as large unvaccinated populations create breeding grounds for new mutations.

He called for an urgent Global Vaccination Plan to bring together those with the power to ensure fair vaccine distribution – scientists, vaccine producers and those who can fund the effort – to ensure all people in every nation get inoculated as soon as possible, reports Al Jazeera.

He also called on the world’s leading economic powers in the Group of 20 to establish an emergency task force that should have the capacity to bring together “the pharmaceutical companies and key industry and logistics actors”.

While Western-made vaccines are being sold to African nations at astronomical prices, those same countries are being offered cheaper Chinese and Russian shots of uncertain efficacy against new variants of the virus.

The Biden administration has announced over $4 billion towards COVAX, the vaccine initiate for developing countries.

New Zealand has committed to $7 million to the GAVI fund, another vaccine initiative, to ensure vaccines are rolled out in the Pacific.  There is an acronym-soup of vaccine programmes for developing countries - from ACT to  COVAX, CEPI, GAVI, and it remains unclear which programme is delivering the most effective vaccine roll-out.

Meanwhile French President, Macron has promised 13 million doses -  direct  - to 6.5 million health workers in Africa. He is calling on OECD countries to allocate 4 to 5% of current vaccine supplies - quickly to developing nations “so that people on the ground see it happening.”

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Members Activities & Updates

+ Pacific children on the frontlines of the pandemic, according to Save the Children report

Nutrition Critical, a report launched last week by Save the Children, shows that the world is edging towards a nutrition crisis, with Pacific children among the most vulnerable.

The report found that 600 million children worldwide have not received the vital assistance needed throughout the Covid-19 pandemic and climate change crisis, and an average of 153 children a day could die over the next two years if action is not taken. 

Jacqui Southey of Save the Children NZ has recommended that governments ought to implement child benefits to assist families in hardship, saying that "It is vital for children to thrive, grow, develop and reach their full potential. And it's also a matter of survival. Good food keeps children alive."

Access the full report here.

+ Salvation Army State of the Nation report identifies growing inequality & child poverty in NZ

Salvation Army NZ recently released their annual State of the Nation report, which shows indications of the Covid-19 pandemic exacerbating 'unacceptable' levels of poverty and inequity in New Zealand. 

The report found that many indicators of Māori inequalities were not improving and in some cases worsening, especially regarding housing and imprisonment. It also outlined the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on food and financial security in New Zealand, with the number of food parcels distributed in 2020 doubling from 2019, and a worrying trend in social housing registrations. 

Salvation Army lawyer and policy analyst Ronji Tanielu urged the government to do more to help those who had been plunged into hardship by the pandemic.

"What we do call on the government to do is really ask them, urge them and challenge them to take some meaningful, courageous, brave policy action," Tanielu said.

The Salvation Army is a member of CID, and works with some of the poorest communities around the world, including across Africa, South East Asia and in the Pacific. 

Access the full report here.

+ 10 years since the war in Syria started - join the press release marking the anniversary

Tearfund is inviting CID members to put together a press release to acknowledge the 10 years that have passed since the start of the war in Syria.

Following on from the success of the last joint press release in July 2020, and the #NZisWatching video, this release would show the unity CID organisations have in wanting to remember and acknowledge the millions of people still haunted and affected by this ongoing crisis.  The release will also have a call to action.

As a secondary part to the release, Tearfund would also like to submit ten powerful images (collected amongst our INGO community) that helps capture the last ten years of the crisis. Do you have a great image/caption from your organisation that you could submit?  If your organisation is interested in taking part, please email Helen Manson  - by the end of the week. 

Next week the press release will be drafted and provided to you for feedback.  Estimated release date would be 2nd week of March (before Christchurch terrorist attack anniversary and before intense racing for the America’s Cup).

If you would like to share your organisation's jobs, events, or recent activities, please send an email to with an outline of the activity so it can be added to the next edition of the CID Weekly. 

Pacific News in Brief 

+ Travel bubble to open between Vanuatu and New Caledonia

The 'Tamtam' bubble between Vanuatu and New Caledonia will open in April, as the issue of Pacific travel remains in the headlines.  Fiji is continuing to push for a 'Bula bubble' between Fiji and New Zealand, though little concrete progress has been made.  Travel and tourism are key for the Pacific Islands' COVID-19 response, as the economic effect of grounded flights and empty hotels continues to bite.

Meanwhile, the one-way travel bubble allowing New Zealanders to enter Australia without the two-week quarantine has reopened, with some extra conditions in place.

+ Historic election in New Caledonia

New Caledonia has elected its pro-independence government, the first time since 1999, reports the Pacific Cooperation Foundation (PCF).

'The historic election comes ahead of its third and final independence referendum set for November 2022, the previous two referenda in 2018 and 2020 saw a 'remain' vote slip from 56.7 per cent to 53.3 per cent, after heavy campaigning by the pro-independence parties secured a strong youth turnout. The French Territory is expected to decide on its President this week.'

+ 'Bula bubble?'

In Fiji, the government has not given up on its ‘Bula Bubble’, reports PCF. 

'The country is continuing to push for a travel bubble between New Zealand and Australia, two of its major tourist markets. Fiji’s borders have been closed since March 2020 and with New Zealand and Australia still dealing with COVID-19 cases, high-level discussions of the bubble are delayed. Prior to the global pandemic, it was reported that Fiji had almost one million tourists.'

+ PNG COVID cases jump

Papua New Guinea's Covid-19 cases have jumped to well over 1000, including the National Pandemic Controller and members of his family, reports RNZ.


Useful Links, Webinars & Podcasts

+ Register now for CID Talk: 'What is Pacific Development, as defined by Pacific people?'

Register here

"What is Pacific development, as defined by Pacific people? Is Pacific development happening in Aotearoa New Zealand? What can traditional Pacific voyaging on waka hourua, double-hulled ocean-going sailing canoes, teach us about addressing modern humanitarian issues in a relevant and sustainable way?"

Natia Tucker will give a lunchtime virtual CID Talk on Wednesday 24 February (12pm-1pm).

Natia has 20 years experience in development across both her home countries, Samoa and Aotearoa New Zealand. She recently completed her MPhil at AUT where she explored Pacific development. She has taken a year's leave from community development work at Auckland Council to put her learnings into practice.

This lunchtime talk will be a collection of stories and songs.

It will present six key elements of Pacific development and then demonstrate how learning traditional voyaging delivers on all six elements, while also delivering on international development objectives.

+ Podcast: Good Will Hunters Summer series

In the last of this six-part series, ACFID's Bridi Rice speaks with Serena Sasingian on local leadership and Australian/Papua New Guinean roots.

Serena Sasingian is a lawyer by profession and co-founder of The Voice Inc., a leading youth development organisation she co-founded whilst attending the University of Papua New Guinea. Currently, Serena is CEO of Digicel Foundation, and prior to this, Head of Gender and Leadership Programs with the Oil Search Foundation. 

+ Leadership Coaching Programme Opportunity 

CID members have been invited to partake in a Leadership Coaching programme run by the Global Enterprise Experience. The programme aims to grow your skills in order to hold coaching conversations with staff, colleagues, clients, and stakeholders to help them think for themselves, foster creative problem solving and work with diverse cultures, all while impacting the UN SDGs.

Cost: NZ$ 1,300 + GST

  • March 22: Enrolment due
  • April 6 – 20: Interactive coaching training with skilled trainers via Zoom, 2 hours twice weekly for 3 weeks (12 hours).
  • April 21 – May 17: Coaching practice with Global Enterprise Experience participants (Minimum of 9 one-hour sessions - doing more is your choice) Peer-group sessions via Zoom with other coaches 7 x 2 hours (14 hours)
  • June 23: Award ceremony in New Zealand’s parliament

+ Introduction to governance for Pacific people

Four senior directors from the Pacific community will share their journey and insights on steps to starting in governance.  Caren Rangi, Mele Wendt, Michael Jones, and Peter Fa'afiu will feature in a panel discussion about Pacific governance.

Cost: $20
Date: March 30, 5:30-8:00pm
Location: AUT South Campus, Auckland