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Meeting with Senators and Representatives of Pacific Island jurisdictions at the moment. We are in lock down while Typhoon Hagupit rolls through the Island of Yap.
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Welcome to our initiative - 'Connect the Blue Continent'

As the world moves into the digital era, nations and regions across the world are building the information super-highway infrastructure, skills and systems needed to support their societies’ economic and social well-being in this new age.

Nations are co-operating within and across continents to support this transformational change in economic and social development.

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The Pacific Ocean is host to numerous island nations and communities which are in danger of being left behind in this global process.

Pacific Island governments and regional organisations have been examining this risk and some valiant efforts are being made to address the issue. However, a more comprehensive master-plan and collaboration approach is needed to ensure this vibrant, often-forgotten 'Blue Continent' is properly empowered for digital age sustainability.

We are a group of volunteers based in Australia working with a number of Pacific Island communities to co-ordinate a call to 'Connect the Blue Continent'.

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Undersea fibre optic cable enabling digital inclusion for remote communities in northern Alaska and Canada.

"If ever an internet subsea cable could be said to have a life-changing impact, then that is surely an appropriate way to describe the new cable from Quintillio...n that brings much needed connectivity to the remote wilds of northern Alaska and Canada." - the same counts for the SAEx cable and St Helena.

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If ever an internet subsea cable could be said to have a life-changing impact, then that is surely an appropriate way to describe the new cable from Quintillion that brings much needed connectivity to the…
asia.blog.terrapinn.com
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Here is more undersea fibre-optic cable capacity planned for the Asian Pacific rim. I hope nations like PNG and communities across the Pacific such as the Solomon Islands and others that still have ZERO fibre-optic capacity are being pro-actively progressed. The growing digital divide risks a new wave of long term disadvantage for Pacific communities. An independent regional monitoring and masterplanning effort is needed to tackle this Pacific Digital Adaption Challenge. https://disruptive.asia/seven-telcos-facebook-sea-japan-c…/…

A new consortium comprising seven APAC telecoms players – plus Facebook – have signed a deal with NEC to build the Southeast Asia-Japan 2 (SJC2) submarine cable connecting nine countries across the region. The SJC2 – the sequel to the original SJC subsea cable system, which was completed in 20...
disruptive.asia

Sending best wishes to friends, colleagues and communities in Tonga and all affected by Cyclone Gita. http://www.smh.com.au/…/fiji-on-notice-after-cyclone-flatte…

​Tonga's neighbours are rushing to deliver emergency relief after Cyclone Gita tore across the Pacific island nation in the middle of the night, flattening the parliament, tearing roofs off homes and causing widespread flooding.
smh.com.au

UN Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development 2025 Targets:

By 2025, all countries should have a funded national broadband plan or strategy, or include broadband in their universal access and services definition.

By 2025, entry-level broadband services should be made affordable in developing countries, at less than 2% of monthly gross national income per capita.

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By 2025 broadband / Internet user penetration should reach: 75% worldwide, 65% in developing countries, and 35% in least developed countries.

By 2025, 60% of youth and adults should have achieved at least a minimum level of proficiency in sustainable digital skills.

By 2025, 40% of the world's population should be using digital financial services.

By 2025, unconnectedness of Micro-, Small- and Medium-sized Enterprises should be reduced by 50%, by sector.

By 2025, gender equality should be achieved across all targets.

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PNG and the Solomon Islands are two countries that desperately need improved internet infrastructure. The announcement by the Australian Government to support new fibre optic cable connectivity for these countries is most welcome...but perhaps we could better embrace collaboration with industry, including the Chinese? https://www.lowyinstitute.org/…/australia-makes-welcome-pac…

Funding a new high speed telecommunications cable is a rare win-win for anyone not working in Huawei’s Pacific branch.
lowyinstitute.org

This planned new submarine cable between Australian and the USA west coast, Southern Cross NEXT, will help improve connectivity for Fiji, Samoa, Tokelau and Kiribati (Kiritimati) - construction is due to start this year and finish by the end of 2019. https://www.southerncrosscables.com/…/southern-cross-next-m…

Southern Cross Cables Ltd completed Marine Survey for NEXT project
southerncrosscables.com
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Chris Sampson

Attending this historic moment as Palau’s first undersea fibre optic cable connection to the internet goes live. Congratulations to all involved - under budget and ahead of schedule.

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Chris Sampson added 2 new photos.

Discussing digital divide challenges in the Pacific and ways forward for harnessing the social and economic benefits of digital technologies for all the Island communities http://www.facebook.com/bluecontinent

Honoured to meet Senator Christopher Loeak, former President of the Republic of the Marshall Islands, here at the Systems Thinking Container in Tonsley, South Australia. I provided a short briefing on our Pacific initiative 'Connect the Blue Continent'.

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Good to see the incoming government of the Solomon Islands will prioritise the fibre optic cable connectivity needed to support affordable and inclusive internet access. Australian and other international assistance is vital to ensure these Pacific Island communities can survive and thrive into the future. http://www.solomonfreshbeat.com.sb/hou-assures-people-on-u…/

Prime Minister elect and Small Malaita MP Rick Hou assures people of Solomon Islands that the undersea cable project and Anti-corruption Bill among other issues are his coalition’s priorities. In h…
solomonfreshbeat.com.sb

Fibre optic cable support for PNG and (hopefully) the Solomon Islands at last... http://mobile.abc.net.au/…/png-to-get-new-australi…/9146570…

The Federal Government announces it will deliver a new undersea, high-speed telecommunications cable from Australia to PNG.
abc.net.au

Great to see this inclusive dialogue on the priorities for Pacific regionalism. The Pacific Islands Forum and the framework for regionalism need a digital age approach to implementing their ambitious and vital agendas.

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Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat

The case for Pacific Regionalism is as strong today as it has ever been.

The well-established fact is that our countries have achieved great things by facing s...ome of our biggest challenges together, rather than individually.

This was recognised by Pacific Islands Forum Leaders when they introduced The Framework for Pacific Regionalism in 2014. The Framework sees coordinated, collective action as a pathway towards a “region of peace, harmony, security, social inclusion, and prosperity, so that all Pacific people can lead free, healthy, and productive lives.”

During their meeting in September 2017 in Samoa, Forum Leaders deepened this commitment by endorsing The Blue Pacific as a new narrative for joint political action that calls for working together as one Blue Continent. The Blue Pacific aims to harness our shared ocean identity, geography and resources to develop policies that will drive positive change in our socio-cultural, political and economic development.

An aspect of the Blue Pacific that I particularly like, is its focus on “Pacific peoples, comprising our ocean of islands, who recognise their needs and potential, who plan and own their development agenda, and who can act collectively for the good of all, rather than a few.”

Success for regionalism and the Blue Pacific means ensuring that we are the architects of our own futures.

The Pacific Islands Forum is committed to a regional policy agenda that is inclusive, transparent, and owned by its constituents.

Earlier this week the Forum Chair and Prime Minster of Samoa, Hon. Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegoaoi, launched the 2017 Regional Policy Consultations and called on the “people, communities, and organisations of the region to come forward and share their insights and ideas.”

I would like to echo that sentiment and encourage everyone to become involved. The Forum Secretariat will be facilitating policy dialogues across the region over the coming months and, as we have done in the past, it is also possible to submit your ideas via letter, email, or our website.

So what are we looking for? Over the last few years the Secretariat has worked hard to facilitate dialogue with the Pacific that considers game changing regional initiatives across all aspects of our development.
To give you some examples, we have looked at options for bulk procurement of HPV vaccines to prevent cervical cancer, joint proposals for climate change related finance, and partnerships to increase the economic, environmental and social benefits for our pelagic and coastal fisheries.

In some instances, these issues may not have been part of the regional policy debate if they had not first been raised during our consultations. For this reason, we keep an open mind and an open agenda. We are interested in hearing your thoughts.

For those who wish to become more engaged in the regional policy discussions I would recommend taking a look at the recent State of Pacific Regionalism Report 2017 published by the Secretariat. The report is intended to provoke discussion around the potential for regional approaches to our many shared challenges.

This year we are also seeking input on a few important initiatives that Forum Leaders have asked us to explore. These relate to security, foreign policy, and sustainable development.

Forum Leaders agree on the value of collective action for regional security due to emerging threats to the region. They see the Biketawa Declaration and other Forum security related declarations as a strong foundation for strategic regional responses in future. They recognise the importance of an expanded concept of security, one that is inclusive of human security, humanitarian assistance, prioritising environmental security, and regional cooperation in building resilience to disasters and climate change. Therefore, the Secretariat will be consulting on the development of a comprehensive ‘Biketawa Plus’ Declaration that considers these issues.

The Blue Pacific recognises our region as a political resource, an economic resource, and a cultural resource. In considering a Forum Foreign Policy and strategy we are asking ourselves what the priority issues for securing the Blue Pacific might be, and how can Forum Foreign Ministers ensure the solidarity, security, sustainability and prosperity of the Blue Pacific? This is a complex piece of work and again one which we seek a variety of viewpoints on.

All the submissions and input we receive during the consultations will be consolidated by the Forum Secretariat in consultation with Forum members, relevant technical agencies from the Council of Regional Organisations in the Pacific (CROP), and where need be, with other partners of the Forum.

The key issues and themes that emerge will be used to inform regional policy development.

The Specialist Sub-Committee on Regionalism (SSCR) will support the prioritisation of regional policy priorities, specifically using a set of tests for Regional Action set out in the Framework for Pacific Regionalism. The Sub-Committee will then table a report on regional policy priorities at relevant regional meetings for discussion. The report will also be made available for public comment via the Forum Secretariat’s website.

Comments will be incorporated into the report by the Forum Secretariat before it is circulated to Forum Leaders for discussion and endorsement at their 2018 Meeting in Nauru.

The Pacific region is unique in offering this opportunity. A chance for all people to contribute to the development of regional policies that will help shape our future. Once again, I encourage you to be involved.
More information is available from the Forum Secretariat website: www.forumsec.org

- Dame Meg Taylor, Secretary General, Pacific Islands Forum.

#pacificregionalism #bluepacific #oceancontinent

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Good to see these new fibre-optic cables include branching units to give connectivity capacity options for Pacific Island communities - accessible and affordable high speed internet is vital for empowering communities to navigate a sustainable and prosperous future in the digital age.

TE SubCom's cable-laying ship is berthed in Sydney ahead of laying the Hawaiki subsea cable from Equinix's SY4 datacentre, with AWS signing on for capacity on the high-speed connectivity route across the Pacific.
zdnet.com

Interesting study with a different take on #digitaldivide - affordable access remains a key issue across the Pacific Islands but support from the World Bank and Asian Development Bank - ADB is improving the situation steadily. We need a masterplan to ensure all communities are reached and readiness / digital adaption funding to empower communities to harness the technology for their own culturally-intact journey to a sustainable, peaceful and prosperous future.

Poorer teenagers spend roughly the same time online as their wealthier classmates. But they're using this time differently, and it's counting against them.
weforum.org

Another remote island community fighting for a fibre optic cable connection for social & economic development.

Paul Mcginnety, St Helena Government's assistant Chief Secretary, explains how the island's submarine cable could be funded by the European Development Fund and operators of satellite ground stations.

Paul Mcginnety the assistant Chief Secretary talks about the draft digital strategy and the future for St Helena
saint.fm

Thanks to the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat team especially Albert for preparing this lovely overview of our work in bridging the digital divide.

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