Small Island Developing (SIDS) and Pacific Island States April 2024-

Alliance of Small Island States AOSIS
International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea
Members and Observers
UNDP Support to Small Island Developing States
ODI – Overseas Development Institute

4th International Conference on Small Island Developing States
Charting the Course Toward Resilient Prosperity
27-30 May 2024; Antigua and Barbuda

13-14 May
NB Cleo advises”Since the piece came out, Suidani camp has lost the premiership in Malaita, making it a clean sweep for pro-PRC elements”.
How China is Winning the Solomon Islands
Since 2019, Beijing has spent a considerable amount of money and effort setting up its position in the Solomon Islands and openly assisting in the crushing of dissent.
Cleo Paskal and Grant Newsham
(National Interest) April 17 was election day in the Solomon Islands, a country of around 750,000 people northeast of Australia…. Solomon Islanders voted in two elections. They chose their representatives for the national and provincial parliaments.
The outcome of the vote is still being decided, but so far, it is shaping up as a coup for China against the will of the people—one that will have major strategic implications for the United States.
It is a case study of how Beijing is expanding its influence to the point of control throughout the world—and the West is not just watching it happen. It is helping.
Solomon Islanders voted overwhelmingly for change. At the national level, the government of former Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare is deeply unpopular. As Professor Anne-Marie Brady, Global Fellow at the Wilson Center and professor at the University of Canterbury, New Zealand, pointed out, “76 percent voted against Sogavare’s OUR Party in the 2024 election, and they only [won] fifteen seats” in the fifty-member national parliament.
…once Solomon Islanders voted, power moved from the people to the members of parliament. Members pick the prime minister (at the national level) and the premier (at the provincial level) from among their own
… Beijing doesn’t just back one horse. It fills its stables with as many docile rides as possible. The new prime minister, [Jeremiah] Manele, was foreign minister under Sogavare and was a key point person for much of the engagement with China, including the switch from Taiwan. Nor has Sogavare gone away. He is now the Finance and Treasury Minister. Indeed, much of the old gang never left.
In his first speech, Manele discussed prioritizing legislation to facilitate mining, logging, and the establishment of special economic zones (SEZs)—all PRC priorities. SEZs are a particular security concern as they can be used to bypass customs, immigration, employment, and environmental regulations.
As Professor Brady put it, in spite of Solomon Islanders voting for change, Sogavare’s party is “now back in power, in control of all the key portfolios. The voting process may have been relatively free and fair, but the voting negotiations after it were far from it.”

24 April-12 May
Can the law of the sea save island states from rising water?
Soon, a little-known international tribunal will release a precedent setting decision that could force developed nations to do more to protect small island states from the ravages of climate change. A Canadian lawyer represented those tiny countries at the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea. He shares what’s at stake, along with another member of the legal team – Naima Te Maile Fefita of Tuvalu.
24 April
International Tribunal Set To Issue Climate Change Opinion On May 21
The International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea has announced they will deliver their advisory opinion on the obligations of countries to prevent climate change on May 21. The opinion, while limited in scope and non-binding, could force action by member states and provide an important preview for how the International Court of Justice may rule on its pending advisory opinion on the Obligations of States in respect of Climate Change.
The International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea is an independent judicial body established by the Third United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea to adjudicate disputes arising out of the interpretation and application of the Convention
Request for an Advisory Opinion submitted by the Commission of Small Island States on Climate Change and International Law (Request for Advisory Opinion submitted to the Tribunal)

1 May
Solomon Islands picks China-friendly Manele as new prime minister
(Reuters) – Solomon Islands lawmakers selected a new prime minister on Thursday, choosing foreign minister Jeremiah Manele, who has pledged to continue the Pacific Island nation’s foreign policy that drew it closer to China.
Governor General Sir David Vunagi announced outside parliament house that Manele had won 31 votes, to Opposition leader Matthew Wales’ 18 votes.
Police boosted security in the capital Honiara as newly elected lawmakers arrived at parliament on Thursday to vote in a secret ballot.

17 April
Financing resilient prosperity in SIDS
(ODI) This event brings SIDS finance ministers together with International Finance Institutions and development partners to identify concrete actions needed to ensure this vulnerable group of countries can access the finance needed to cope with shocks, manage debt sustainably and advance towards resilient prosperity over the next decade.
Small Island Developing States (SIDS) have achieved remarkable levels of growth in the past but suffer disproportionately from external shocks. … SIDS will be affected more rapidly and severely by global warming than any other group of nations. Resolving these momentous challenges, in an increasingly inhospitable and perilous world for SIDS, is both vital and daunting.
When SIDS Heads of State and Government and high-level representatives meet in St. John’s, Antigua and Barbuda from 27 to 30 May 2024, at the fourth International Conference on Small Island Developing States, to agree an agenda for the next 10 years, they will set out reforms needed in the international finance and debt architecture for sustainable development and resilient prosperity.

14-17 April
Stakes are high for election in the Solomon Islands
(GZERO media) Voters in the Solomon Islands will vote in a parliamentary election on Wednesday that has repercussions for the Asia Pacific region due to the country’s close relationship with China.
After delaying the election a year to focus on hosting the 2024 Pacific Games — a move that raised eyebrows — Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavere is up for reelection. Best known for switching diplomatic recognition to Taiwan in 2019, he then alarmed neighboring Australia, New Zealand, and the US by signing a secret security pact with Beijing in 2022, raising fears that China could one day build a naval base there.
His primary opponent, Peter Kenilorea Jr., the son of the country’s first prime minister, has pledged to switch ties back to Taiwan.
But for most Solomon Islanders, the election is less about China and more about the economy. The 900 islands are rich in natural resources but rank just 155 out of 199 countries in the United Nations’s Human Development Index, which many blame on the government’s economic mismanagement and corruption.
Right now, polling shows Sogavare as the frontrunner. Still, he is challenged by several strong opposition figures who could undermine his chances if they are able to work together when it comes time to form a government in late April.
Solomon Islands’ elections could impact China’s influence in the South Pacific
(AP) — The country in which China has gained most influence in the South Pacific, Solomon Islands, goes to the polls on Wednesday in an election that could shape the region’s future.
… Even if [current Prime Minister Manasseh] Sogavare fails, observers suspect China will be backing more than one pro-Beijing candidate in the murky contest for the Solomons’ top job in an effort to cement Beijing’s growing influence.
There are also fears the electoral process could again ignite violence in a restive nation riven with inter-island and ethnic tensions, a perceived lack of sharing of resources, widespread poverty and high youth unemployment.
Cleo Paskal: PRC shadow looms as the Solomons head for election
PRC and its proxies in Solomons have been preparing for these elections for a long time. A lot of money, effort and intelligence have gone into ensuring an outcome that won’t compromise Beijing’s plans.
(The Sunday Guardian) On April 17th the Solomon Islands, a country of around 700,000 people in the South Western Pacific, will hold elections. Until recently, elections in the Pacific Islands generally passed unnoticed in world capitals. Not anymore. That lack of attention had resulted in too many “surprises”.

16 April
International Debt Is Strangling Developing Nations Vulnerable to Climate Change, a New Report Shows
Many small island nations which contributed little to climate change now must borrow money to rebuild after climate-induced storms. The debt service they’re carrying hinders their ability to invest in new adaptive infrastructure before the next storms hit.

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