Oct 20, 2017 Last Updated 8:27 AM, Oct 20, 2017

THE strategy adopted today is in line with the Europen Union Commission’s priority to make the EU a stronger global actor. Culture can play a crucial role in strengthening international partnerships.

The ‘Strategy for international cultural relations’ presented by the European Commission and the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy aims at encouraging cultural cooperation between the EU and its partner countries and promoting a global order based on peace, the rule of law, freedom of expression, mutual understanding and respect for fundamental values. EU High Representative and Vice President Federica Mogherini said: “Culture has to be part and parcel of our foreign policy. Culture is a powerful tool to build bridges between people, notably the youth, and reinforce mutual understanding.

It can also be an engine for economic and social development. And as we face common challenges, culture can help all of us, in Europe, Africa, Middle East, Asia, stand together, to fight radicalisation where needed and build an alliance of civilisations against those trying to divide us. This is why cultural diplomacy must be more and more at the core of our relationship with today’s world.” European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, Tibor Navracsics, said: “Culture is the hidden gem of our foreign policy.

It helps to promote dialogue and mutual understanding. Culture is therefore crucial in building long-term relationships with countries across the whole world: it has a great role to play in making the EU a stronger global actor.”

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RUSSIA’S arms deal with Fiji, breakdown in US fish treaty negotiations, ban of Facebook in Nauru, leaking of confidential embassy cables and growing Chinese influence in the region were the key issues of discussions when American Ambassador in Fiji, Judith Cefkin sat down with our Group editor-in-chief SAMISONI PARETI for an interview at the American Embassy in Suva last month.

Last month marks Ambassador Cefkin’s first 12 months in her posting as President Barack Obama’s chief diplomat in Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Tonga and Tuvalu. The full transcript of the interview can be found on www. islandsbusiness.ccom, but here are excerpts: Fiji’s FJ$19m (US$9m) deal to purchase arms from Russia: Of course we noted with interest those developments, but we really don’t want to comment and I think it’s best to refer those questions to the government of Fiji and the government of Russia.

Breakdown in multilateral fisheries treaty negotiations between the US and Pacific Island Forum members: We have an office in the US that comes under our environmental and science bureau that specialises in fisheries and they are the ones who are in the lead in terms of the talks, the negotiations. We are of course trying to make an effort to bring parties together, so we are having dialogue with the relevant authorities.

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AT the 1997 Forum leaders’ meeting in Rarotonga, Australian Prime Minister John Howard blocked a regional consensus on climate policy. Forum leaders were hoping for a strong, common position to take to Japan that year, for the talks that developed the Kyoto Protocol on climate change. For the next decade, the Howard government stood aside from its Pacific neighbours, refusing to ratify the Kyoto Protocol. It looks like we’re about to witness the same process, as leaders meet in Port Moresby this month for the Pacific Islands Forum.

The annual leaders’ meeting comes just months before the next summit of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), which is supposed to finalise a global climate agreement. Over the last two months, Australia, New Zealand and other countries have announced their targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions after 2020. These targets, known as the Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC), become the starting point for the UNFCCC talks in Paris next December.

Despite some advances, the current pledges set the globe on a path to 3 or 4 degrees of warming, a catastrophic failure of ambition that will devastate small island developing states. Forum host Peter O’Neill has quite a task to bridge the widening gap on climate policy between Australia, New Zealand and the Forum island countries.

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Less hui, lot more tui

Kiwi envoy speaks his mind about fishery and more

TALKS are into advanced stages about getting skilled fishermen from Kiribati and Tuvalu to work in New Zealand’s fishing industry. Ambassador Shane Jones, New Zealand’s envoy in economic development in the Pacific says once discussions are finalised, men from the two countries’ maritime and fishing schools will be recruited and flown down south. “Historically New Zealand has employed a growing number of foreigners and we have a small project to establish how graduates from the Tuvalu and Kiribati schools might be employed in our deep sea fishing industry especially in areas where young Kiwis are unable to take up those jobs.

“The challenge all the time is to encourage and make our own young people work but the industry has consistently used foreign labour and I’ve thought for a long time given that we make financial contributions to the maritime college and the fishing school that the graduates could be usefully employed filling the labour gaps in Aoetearoa.

“ A hold up Ambassador Jone says is the qualifications of the graduates; talks are now focussing on Kiwi employers accepting the Tuvalu and i-Kiribati graduates of their respective fishing schools. The former Labour MP also discounted suggestions that New Zealand may remove caps on quota of island workers that seek jobs in his country’s RSE, like what its neighbour across the Tasman has recently done.

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