Category Archives: Solomon Islands

APJC 2015

  • Fellows and Fasilitators of APJC Training (Photo courtesy of APJC)

    Fellows and Fasilitators of APJC Training (Photo courtesy of APJC)

    I am here in Melbourne with 16 other colleagues from Indonesia, Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea, Tonga, Timor Leste and my own country Solomon Islands for the Asia Pacific Journalism training 2015. It has been quite an experience learning new information, meeting new people and adapting slowly to the cold weather. For the past two weeks we’ve been getting to know from our very expert presenters about leadership, reporting on the economy, and now mobile journalism! We’ve been learning from each other as well. It’s been exciting! We are heading to Canberra this Sunday so there’s more to come! I am certainly looking forward to it. Bring it on APJC!! Tagio tumas! 👍👍👍


People who gets travel a lot will have a lot to tell, especially about their experiences, travelling abroad. Ask someone who travels a abroad and he or she will tell you about it. You can also hear them referring to those experiences, for instance in debates or forums on certain topics of interest.

What I am about to tell you are my own experiences, more especially the lessons I’ve learned since being in Australia for the past two weeks. I am focusing specifically on infrastructure.

Arriving at the Brisbane International Airport on Friday 23rd August, 2013, I checked into one of the Pullman Hotels.

I was supposed to have a Brisbane-Melbourne connection flight that evening but none was available since we arrived late into the evening. The lateness was a result of a technical problem developed by the Solomon Airlines aircraft we boarded at the Honiara International Airport, Solomon Islands.

However, cutting the story short, a well advanced infrastructural system is vital for the development of any country.

Waking up to see the streets of Brisbane, the tall buildings, the sealed roads and rail ways makes me think of the dusty streets of Honiara, where sealed roads could only go far enough and where dirt rough roads are all over.

This teaches me the lesson that an advanced infrastructure system of roads, bridges, airport runways, rail ways, sub-ways and other transport infrastructures are a vital part of development for a country.

Solomon Islands gained its independent state since 1978, but up to now there hasn’t been much work done to improve its transport infrastructural system, and to make things worse, less restriction on transport imports into the country has led to traffic jam problems, unlike in Australia, where both pedestrians, transport owners and providers follow traffic lights.

However, with all these amazing infrastructure, I would be interested in getting to know whether there are also related implications, and what’s the transport laws in Australia like regarding the importation of cars, buses and others.

Below is an example of infrastructure in Australia.


My APJC Training Experience

APJC Fellows with The Age Senior Environment Journalist Adam Morton at the University of Tasmania

The Climate Change Reporting Fellowship carried out by the Asia Pacific Journalism Centre, APJC, in Melbourne and Hobart in the last five weeks have been a fruitful and informative one for me as a pacific journalist. It was also a memorable trip with visits to some of Australia’s famous locations such as the Mona Museum and Port Arthur in Tasmania.

I also particularly found the personal leadership skills workshop with Torry Orton, the Psychologist and Leadership specialist in the first week of the training very valuable as it made me know more about what kind of person I was and the stress levels I had. It also helped me understand myself more.

The various presentations of how stories could be generated from climate change issues were also helpful with The Age Senior Writer, Jo Chandler really driving the nail home with her suggestions of getting stories from rural areas but also verifying if the effects they were suffering from were from climate change or caused by man- made activities not related to climate change.  She also emphasized the importance of humanizing and simplifying stories.

Professional visits to the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation,  CSIRO Aspendale Office also were very informative with new information and data collected from their observations in the changing climate in pacific island countries, while the visit to Tasmania’s CSIRO centre -also known as Australia’s gate-way to Antarctica was also an exciting one with us having a video conference with one of their Scientists at the Casey Station.

Sessions with Phil Chubb were also very helpful and it made me understand more Australia’s debate on Carbon Tax – we were here when it was passed – and also what it meant for big companies, the Australian government and the public.

From this workshop – I take with me better skills to report properly on climate change in Solomon Islands, a better understanding of myself,  more knowledge of the Australian debate on climate change and how it actually determines the nation’s prime minister , an understanding of how climate change is a complex issue that involves the biggest international organisations such the United Nations right to the people on the remote islands back at home. I have also established a network of professional people which include the Indonesian Reporters at the workshops, various journalism academics, Australian journalists and scientists whom I was privileged to meet, I know these connections will be useful to my work on environmental reporting in the future.

I would also like to thank the Asia Pacific Journalism Centre, the Australian Government and the Pacific Alliance for Developmental Journalists who have made this training possible!!! I have learnt a lot of new things and also established a new network!Thank you for the opportunity!! 🙂

Australia could do more to help Pacific Island countries deal with climate change

As small island developing states, including the pacific, gear up towards the Conference of the Parties meeting in Durban next week to once again reinforce the urgent plea of saving their people and countries from the effects of climate change, Tasmania Greens Senator says Australia could do more to help pacific island countries deal with climate change in funding a Secretariat for the Alliance of Small Island Developing States.

AOSIS is a non-governmental organization of low lying atolls and coastal countries established since 1990 to consolidate the voices of Small Island Developing States (SIDS) to address global warming. AOSIS has been very active from its inception and 15 out of the 42 members and observers from all around the world are pacific island countries.

Speaking to pacific journalists last Friday following a presentation at the 2011 Environmental Politics and Conflict in an Age of Digital Media Symposium at the University of Tasmania, in Australia, Greens Senator Christine Milne says the first thing Australia could do is to provide funding for  a Secretariat for AOSIS.

“ I understand that the pacific is being given the chair of the AOSIS and the first thing Australia could do is give a couple of million dollars to the pacific to provide a secretariat for AOSIS, because if AOSIS is to maintain a good profile and capacity in global climate talks it needs to have a secretariat support, so the first thing Australia could do is to get involved  and give more support at that level.”

Senator Milne adds that Australia also needs to separate climate finance from the aid budget for transparency purposes.

“Secondly they should be separating out climate finance faster and long term from the aid budget because what Australia has done is that is has put the aid budget and climate finance together and so Australian people are told constantly that we are doing the right thing with their climate funding plus the increase of the aid budget but actually if you separate them out, you’ll see that we are not.”

“So the next thing Australia needs to do is to make sure that it has transparency and it’s aid funding is separate from climate financing.”

The Tasmanian Greens Senator also spoke of the need to increase capacity building with pacific government departments by allowing people to come to work in Australian government departments such as the Great Barrier Reef Park Authority.

“I worked really hard to get the coral reefs of New Caledonia, for example, listed as world heritage and I worked very hard on that and am delighted that we succeeded in doing that a couple of years ago, but obviously there’s a huge amount that could be learnt from the management of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, PNG could learn from those fantastic coral reefs, but right through the pacific there’s a whole range of issues.

In terms of assistance with adaptation, certainly assisting with know-how and technology that enables people to be able to keep being able to produce food where they live in light of the rising sea levels and salt water incursion is really important as well, plus a whole range of things.”

“But also there has to be a long term plan and this is what nobody is talking about and it goes to what I mentioned hearing Tuvalu says in the global talks in Nairobi – who will take my people? – hearing a pacific leader stand up and say that if the world knew that six countries were going to disappear but didn’t know which six, maybe people would be a bit more focused in acting on climate change and I thought that was a really good way of putting it because even with all the adaptation that will occur in the pacific, there are going to be some places like Kiribati and Tuvalu, for example, where ultimately people are going to have to move and we need to be thinking about how people can move and maintain their cultural identity and communities when they do move.”

So I think there’s a lot we could be doing but the first thing we should be doing is acknowledging that climate change is real and already creating substantial problems and internal migration, loss of burial and cultural sites, agricultural capacity and fresh water right now.”

Meanwhile on the question of the lack of coverage of climate change issues in pacific island countries by the Australian media, Senator Milne says the Australian media does not cover in a factual way the existing impact of climate change on pacific island countries.

She says it is extremely rare to find a photograph prominently placed in the Australian print media or stories prominently placed in current affairs or news bulletins about the impacts of storm surge or of any of the extreme weather events or issues such as salt water incursion, loss of capacity to grow food and loss of fresh water.

“You just don’t see those photographs in the Australian media or the stories, and if you do, they are placed as the sort of stories as human interest not related to news coverage of why the world needs to take action of climate change so it’s more of a travel log story than a front page story saying these are the existing consequences of climate change, that’s why we have to take action.

And the reason they’re not there is because if you say that, it makes it much harder for people to argue that there is no such thing as climate change, it’s not happening and it won’t happen for another hundred years, it’s going to cost us too much therefore we don’t need to do much about it – so it completely contradicts the line of argument that the Murdoch Press in particular want to take and that’s why it’s an inconvenient story that doesn’t get covered.”

Senator Christine Milner was interviewed by Vere Raicola of the Fiji Times, Rozalee Nongebatu of the Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corporation and Rikamati Nare Kiribati’s Broadcasting Commission who are currently doing a Climate Change Reporting fellowship in Australia under the Australian Leadership Award Scheme.

The three pacific journalists are part of a group of 15 journalists from the Asia Pacific region who  are undertaking the training coordinated by the Asia Pacific Journalism Centre in Melbourne and Tasmania.


Sea Level Rise in the Solomon Islands

Traditional Dancers from Ontong Java photo by

Like most of it’s neigbouring countries, Solomon Islands, a small island developing state, has it’s share of problems on the issue of climate change.

The country is anticipating many impacts on society, the economy, the environment and human health, all of which are exacerbated by political instability, ongoing environmental degradation, and an isolated economy.

One of the adverse  effects is sea level rise on the Ontong Java atolls, of Malaita Province which is affecting the growth of  Swamp taro, one of the staple crops planted by the people on the atolls and the limited water sources on the atoll.

The government has also announced tentative plans of relocation in which they are looking at resettling the people from Ontong Java to two provinves, namely  Isabel and the Choiseul Province.

The Solomon Islands Government has various projects administered under the Ministry
of Environment, Climate Change, Disaster Management and Meteorology’s recenlty established Climate Change Division, that are currently helping communities adapt and also mitigate climate change in the country.


How important is our fishing industry?

Fisheries and the marine environment support the livelihood and aspirations of communities and national economies in the Pacific Islands.

The Solomon Islands is among the islands countries so rich with marine resources, and in particular fish.

Fishing is an important activity at 3 different levels of the community: subsistence production, small-scale cash fishing, and the large-scale offshore fishing industry.

photo by Raphael Bick

Small-scale cash fishing is most successful near urban markets, especially Honiara.

Since the early 1980s, 31 fishery centers providing refrigeration and marketing services have been established throughout the country.

Continue reading

Doing business in the Solomon Islands

The Solomon Islands moved up ten points to 96 out of 183 economies this year on the ease of starting a business in the country, according to the World Bank ranking.

Photo by metroflags

A higher ranking on the ease of doing business index means the regulatory environment is more conducive to the starting and operation of a local firm, based on 9 topics, made up of a variety of indicators.

These include starting a business, dealing with construction permits, registering property, getting credit, protecting investors, paying taxes, trading across borders, enforcing contracts and closing a business.

But while there is the 10 points upward movement on the ease of starting a business here, almost all topic rankings made negative moves in 2011.

According to the World Bank report, the only improvement on the nine topics was on the area of getting credit which shot up 78 points to 89 from 167 last year.

There was no movement in the enforcement of contracts.

In relations to procedures, it takes up to 17 days to get approval of a company name from the ministry of commerce and up to a month to register the name of company with the registrar of companies.

Other procedures take only a day or two.

The overall country performance in procedures is ranked 7, compared with other Melanesian Spearhead Group members.

Papua New Guinea sits on 6 and both Vanuatu and Fiji are on 8.

Source: (The World Bank)

Blogging in the Happy Isles

How effective is blogging in a country with scattered islands like the Solomon Islands?

Image by SEDACMaps

Solomon Islands is made up of nine provinces, each consisting of many islands, languages and cultural backgrounds.

Honiara, the capital city is situated on the biggest island of the country, Guadalcanal.

The other provinces and towns spread over a vast ocean, east of Papua New Guinea and west of Vanuatu.

With the huge area of seas separating the provinces and islands, means of communication can be quite difficult.

Use of mobile phone has just reached some of the communities living on the islands.

Internet access and use however is just something of a dream for so many people on the islands.

Even in the capital city, Honiara, not everyone who work in offices have access to internet.

It will therefore be some time before comments to bloggers from every section of the society is possible, possibly after five more years.

Solomon Telekom and other responsible organizations may wish to comment.