Outlook 2022: The year ahead

Solomon Islands aftermath
Solomon Islands riot aftermath, Photo: Kaylab Fari

For the third year running, COVID-19 is defining and disrupting life, leadership and governance in the Pacific Islands. Compounded by climate change-related flooding and the devastating  Hunga-Tonga-Hunga-Ha’apai volcanic eruption, 2022 is off to a challenging start. Some Pacific nations are now grappling with their first cases of community transmission of COVID-19, regional meetings have been deferred, and schools opened, then closed in many places. In other Pacific nations, borders finally opened, giving much hope for economic  rebuilding, only to close again. Meanwhile, the rollout of vaccinations and boosters continues at a widely-varying pace.

Pacific nations go to the polls

Four Pacific island nations are scheduled to hold elections this year;  Cook Islands, Nauru, Papua New Guinea and Fiji. Australians will also go to the polls.  All are likely to be highly charged events, given COVID-19 management challenges and the subsequent hardships experienced in many countries. Sadhana Sen looks at these elections, and other geo-political issues for the region in 2022.

Tonga’s recovery efforts

“The volcanic ash has settled into every crevice our lives and we still sleep in fear of another eruption. Yet through the ash, panic and chaos, I saw hope.”

Those are the words of Hon. Frederica Tuita as all eyes are on Tonga and its efforts to rebuild after the Hunga-Ha’apai-Hunga-Tonga volcanic eruption.

 

We look at the early days of the recovery effort in the latest Islands Business.

Solomon Islands’ juggling act and PNG’s vax threat

In Solomon Islands, an outbreak of COVID-19, the hangover of December’s riots and the demands of hosting the next Pacific Games in 2023 mean the government of Manasseh Sogavare has to manage a juggling act writes Georgina Kekea.

And the continuance of low vaccination rates compounded by a lacklustre foreign investment climate continues to pose a threat to Papua New Guinea’s post COVID recovery as Kevin McQuillan reports.

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