Thursday 26 Nov 2020 | 01:50 | SYDNEY
Thursday 26 Nov 2020 | 01:50 | SYDNEY

The Melanesia Program


Jenny Hayward-Jones


20 December 2007 10:26

In response to my post of Tuesday, Paul Cotton writes:

I note from your introduction that the Institute has a 'new Melanesia programme'. The new Government has appointed a Minister for Pacific Affairs. Could not the Institute establish a Pacific programme? The previous administration only saw the Pacific as Melanesia and a problem. There is a lot more going on in the vast reaches of Polynesia and Micronesia and its not all bad news. The Pacific Forum looks at the whole picture and it would be good if the Institute could do the same.

I very much appreciate the email notice of Interpreter articles. Thank you.

The Lowy Institute’s decision to establish a Melanesia Program was based on its assessment that the countries of Melanesia were facing serious socio-political challenges, that there is consensus in Australia that this matters to us and that Australia has the capacity and responsibility to assist.  The term 'Melanesia' (rather than 'Pacific') was selected because the population size, extent of the challenges and Australian investment (ODA and non-government) in Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands, and other Melanesian countries demands the Program’s strong focus. 

There was no intention to exclude other Pacific Islands, but merely to maintain a focus on countries and issues of most immediate relevance to Australia.  Indeed the Program will be examining developments in the wider Pacific region and highlight progress and challenges in other Pacific Island countries.