Blog #8

My favorite guest lecture this semester was Karen Piper’s talk on environmentalism. I loved that she talked about water shortages, climate change, population growth, pollution, and many other topics as global problems that need to be addressed. Her lecture brought together many world problems dealing with human rights and the depletion of the environment into one big picture through one vital element for human life: water.

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Saving water one droplet at a time

Piper relayed how climate change, groundwater loss, and pollution are all contributing to a global water shortage. Water consumption, nutrient pollution through fertilizers and pesticides, along with a loss of biodiversity are problems that I could personally impact! It was interesting how means that had been used to enhance life were now depleting life like fertilizers and antibiotics from overuse. Before her lecture, I had not seriously considered the effects of my water consumption on the rest of the United States. There were so many elements and factors that affected water shortages that Piper wove together to create an action plan for reducing water consumption and adapting to climate change. By adapting to the environmental changes around us and avoiding overconsumption of resources, intense problems like water shortages can be minimized. It was astounding and overwhelming to me that many factors culminated into one huge issue. Thankfully, readings from the day before the lecture talked about ways to reduce water consumption like shorter showers and decreasing car emissions, so the huge issues of climate change, pollution, and less water did not seem totally unchangeable. Honestly, I thought it was very interesting how huge problems are not exclusive like water shortages, deforestation, wildfires, polluted water, and erosion are all interconnected and related. This mindset helps me understand that by attacking one problem like pollution, I can make a tiny impact in other issues too.

Before the beginning of the semester, I had not heard of Oceania and only recognized the name: Papua New Guinea. My research on Papua New Guinea definitely opened my eyes to an entirely unfamiliar world that is very different from my own. I had no idea that one place could contain more than 800 different languages, nor that the government could be very corrupt even under supervision from the United Nations and the United States. It was new that people would want to live in isolation from the rest of the world for the sake of keeping their culture and way of life just as it is without technology. The tropical and mountainous geography of PNG also helped remote tribes remain independent from other people. Yet, voluntary isolation also excludes opportunities for modern medicine and vaccines that could help save lives in the community. The way of life is old and education, gender equality, human rights, and the like are all behind as well. Even so, modern advances like mining, logging, and sex trafficking are all over PNG isolated or not.

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PNG copper mine

The logging industry works towards deforestation in PNG. Without as many trees, biodiversity depletes because there are not enough trees to absorb carbon dioxide. The carbon dioxide pollutes the atmosphere and creates a ripple effect on the environment. The mining industry brings polluted air and possible erosion to the ground. Mining and logging both bring job opportunities along with negative environmental effects.

Sex trafficking is pervasive since women are generally regarded as inferior to men due to traditions like the bride price, a payment a husband brings to his finance’s family for her hand in marriage. Divided gender roles like hunting for me and gardening or taking care of children for women help enforce the superiority of men.

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Port Moresby, PNG

It is still hard to imagine living in a tribal community in PNG after stopping by the urban areas like the capital, Port Moresby. Before the blog, I had no exposure to living in traditions and isolation, but PNG research helped broaden my scope. Like Karen Piper’s presentation on environmentalism, I was exposed to a variety of issue that were wrapped into one small country. The blog and presentations throughout the semester showed me that problems I thought could be solved with a little work were a lot more complex than I imagined. Gender inequality runs deep within societies especially in indigenous tribes like ones in Papua New Guinea. Climate change stems from humans polluting and taking advantage of the environment’s resources along with a myriad of other problems. The 30 United Nations Human Rights standards is the best picture of how humans should be living each day, but few know or live their full rights out. All of these problems are way more complex and broad than I ever thought. To reverse an issue, there will be a complementary set of complex steps towards a solution. These steps are similar to the actions it took to create the problem like human error and selfishness. A viable solution will take lots of errors and corrections to be made right along with a selfish desire to make the world better for one’s own sake.

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Blog #7

For a couple to marry in Papua New Guinea, it is traditional for the soon-to-be husband to pay a bride price to his betrothed’s family. This bride price is set by the bride’s family and can be paid in goods or cash. If the couple decide to divorce, the bride’s family must pay the entire payment back to the husband. This tradition is one aspect of the PNG culture that contributes to the objectification and abuse of women. With the high inflation of bride prices, women are often left in difficult and potentially abusive relationships, because they or their families unable to repay the bride price. The ingrained view of dominant husbands and submissive wives coupled with the high payment for marriage, men can become entitled and view women as a prize or object to command. This subservient view  contributes to PNG’s high rate of sex trafficking.

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Kina shells as seen above traditionally paid for the bride price in Papua New Guinea. 

Along with the bride price tradition, tribal leaders commonly exchange the servitude of girls or children to forge political relations. Parents have been reported to prostitute or sell their children to brothels to pay for family expenses.

“Children, including girls from tribal areas as young as 5 years old, are reportedly subjected to commercial sexual exploitation or forced labor by members of their immediate family or tribe.” 

If separated from their husband or forced to beg for family income, women and girls can also be lured into sex slavery by promises of work and income. Men and boys are also trafficked for slavery working in logging and mining camps. Altogether, the Papua New Guinean government has made small steps towards addressing and preventing the trafficking of its people and foreign visitors.

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Landowner Tusuwe Nekaiye of the Kapolasi clan sits in front of sign against logging in Bula, Middle Fly district Western Province

PNG enacted the Criminal Code Amendment of 2013 that outlaws human trafficking like sexual and labor forms including penalties of a maximum of 20 years imprisonment for adult trafficking and 25 years imprisonment for child trafficking. Yet, in 2016, the government of PNG did not prosecute any perpetrators of human trafficking as reported by the U.S. Department of State. This trend has been pervasive in PNG with sparse convictions of trafficking and cases of trafficking offenses dropped on the basis of little evidence. Trafficking cases in the criminal courts were referred to tribal courts where no perpetrators were imprisoned and traffickers were forced to pay only restitution to victims. In the 2016 Trafficking in Persons Report for PNG, the national government is not making efforts to meet minimum international standards for eradicating trafficking. Instead, international organizations are the ones identifying victims, yet the national government sentenced 12 of the 21 identified victims of trafficking to prison for illegal entry into PNG.

“A major barrier hindering PNG’s progress is the presence of trafficking-related corruption at high levels of government, for example through the acceptance of bribes to allow illegal migrants to enter the country or the trading of female trafficking victims for political favours and votes.” 

The government does not provide any services or support for trafficked victims nor has prosecuted any offenders. No investigations of government officials regarding sex slavery were enacted in 2016 either. With the government and culture of PNG behind human trafficking, the pervasive slavery climate has become the norm of the country. With further international regulation from the National Human Trafficking Committee and work with NGOs and international organizations, PNG should make continuous progress towards decreasing human trafficking and increasing victim support.

International steps towards the recognition and eradication of human trafficking are being made under the table through the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

According to the article, Born Free by Sarah Mendelson, Sustainable Development Goals are the new  sources for international awareness of human trafficking. The SDGs previously replaced MDGs or UN Millennium Development Goals that focused donors and organizations alike on specific issues in developing countries like HIV infections and extreme poverty. The new goals, SDGs, include vague references to human trafficking by supporting gender equality, decent work for everyone, and inclusive societies. It is documents like the UN’s Outcome Document that continue to perpetrate human trafficking by not specifically addressing the issue. In fact, the Outcome Document talks about “trafficking” of wildlife.

“We recognize the economic, social and environmental impacts of illicit trafficking in wildlife, where firm and strengthened action needs to be taken on both the supply and demand sides.”

There needs to be more awareness and education about human trafficking rather than only supporting gender empowerment and equal opportunity.

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Human trafficking is the modern age slavery 

Without broadcasting trafficking as an international, urgent problem, governments like PNG may not be pressured or highly regulated to eradicate the practice. Human trafficking can be eradicated through awareness and support of the public, donors, governments, and the global community to create accountability and action for this modern-day slavery.

Blog #6

The major concerns Linda Polman raises in her book, The Crisis Caravan, are the lack of regulation and standardization of humanitarian aid and a free market mindset amongst humanitarian organizations.

Currently, international law and enforcement of humanitarian standards is sparse. The international Committee of the Red Cross spells out international humanitarian law as applicable only for armed conflict by protecting those who are not participating in the conflict as well as restricting warfare from superfluous injury and indiscriminately killing others. This international humanitarian law is established in the Geneva Conventions of 1949 and further built upon in other agreements in the international community like Protocols of 1977 and the 1972 Biological Weapons Convention. Despite many agreements of countries and states, there is little compliance to the international humanitarian law as there is little discipline for those who violate the law.

Polman’s book confirms that there is little standardization and governing of humanitarian organizations around the world. Through research, I have found many entities that allow for aid firms to voluntarily commit to a standard of humanitarian principles without discipline like the CHS Alliance. This is a consultative agency that enforces the Core Humanitarian Standard which are 9 guidelines for humanitarian organizations to follow to increase accountability and transparency with its constituents. Membership and certification in CHS is voluntary and not mandatory of aid organizations. When its members do not follow the 9 guidelines, the organization must submit actionable ways it will move towards reaching the CHS commitments or its certification will be lost.

“The CHS can be used by communities and people affected by crisis as a guideline for what to expect from those organisations committed to implementing the CHS. Through this, organisations can be held to account directly by the people they seek to serve.” 

The CHS Alliance is a small step towards a higher governing body for aid organizations. There are other governing bodies like UN’s financial tracking service that tracks reported money donated to fund specific response plans throughout the world or the International Aid Transparency Initiative that provides voluntary data of humanitarian resource use across the world. These organizations are reporting the money flow of donations used by aid organizations, but none truly regulate how these resources are used in crisis areas.

One organization, Caritas Australia, is working in Papua New Guinea on 11 projects dealing with education, community empowerment and health issues like HIV/AIDS. It is a signatory to the ACFID Code of Conduct, the Australian Council for International Development.

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Everyone is encouraged to discuss issues in the community–PNG Banz Community Conversation Program with Caritas Australia

This is an example of a government regulating its humanitarian aid organizations. The compliance of the code is voluntary and specifies standards for accountability and transparency. Compliance is regulated through annual financial reports and self-assessments. Outside of this code, Caritas Australia is regulated by its own hierarchy. Is one code of conduct and self-regulation of entities like Caritas Australia enough? The answer is agreed by Polman with a resounding “No”.

The financial reporting of many aid organizations may not account for the food and money lost to warlords or other looting involved in the distribution of resources to a needy area. More in-depth reporting to a higher agency and in depth questioning of humanitarian organizations is needed to keep service standards high for crisis management around the world.

Journalists, the public, and governments as Polman argues need to find out if aid firms are truly using the resources for the intended purpose. Journalists need to interrogate organizations exact details of the purpose and how much warlords are benefiting from the humanitarian help. In fact, donating money to these organizations must be informed and purposeful to keep resources going to the people who need them. With the help of smaller governing entities like the CHS Alliance or the ACFID Code of Conduct and financial transparency firms like the International Aid Transparency Initiative, humanitarian organizations can be slightly regulated and held accountable for their work.

Although there is still a lot more regulation to be done, aid organizations around the world still need to help needy people. Humanitarian aid should not be stopped despite possible exploitation by warring parties or profit seekers. In Papua New Guinea, the work of the Banz Community Conversation program has  reduced violence and helped increase HIV awareness and understanding among the people of the Jiwaka Province through Caritas Australia. Overall, there needs to be discretionary donating and movements towards higher humanitarian regulation to create a better impact on crisis areas and developing countries like Papua New Guinea. 

Blog #5

Papua New Guinea has been moderated by the United Nations for environmental issues and human rights issues. Over the course of recent years, PNG has passed many laws pertaining to protecting people’s rights like the Family Protection Act that outlays penalties for domestic violence and gives help to victims. Yet, these laws have not been implemented in PNG. In the article, “Papua New Guinea: Address Abuses at UN”, Human Rights Watch concedes that

“PNG should also make concrete commitments to address other serious human rights issues highlighted in Human Rights Watch’s submission to the UPR [Universal Periodic Review], including police abuses, violations of women’s and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) rights, the death penalty, extractive industries, and disability rights” 

Upon the Universal Periodic Review that reviews Papua New Guinea’s efforts to increase human rights over a multitude of issues earlier this year in May, PNG fell short of expectations as Elaine Pearson, the Australia director at Human Rights Watch commented,

“Over the last four years, we’ve seen no practical improvement in justice for violence against women,” Pearson said. “Countries need to press PNG to decriminalize abortion and implement the Family Protection Act without delay.” 

This Western standard of human rights reflects Farish Noor’s eurocentrism. The challenge of enforcing global human rights as the UN ultimately tries to do like promoting gender equality and freedom of expression is according to Noor in “Beyond Eurocentrism”, the gap of inequality between the Western and Eastern cultures. One is well off compared to the other, which brings a gap of understanding of cultural implications. With a history of the Western world colonizing other countries and indigenous societies, it is easy and natural for Western cultures to view their ideals as dominant towards other cultures. The eurocentrism mindset speaks into how world leaders at the UN attempt to govern countries like PNG that has not progressed to acceptable Western human rights standards. Yet, the true issue here is the enforcement of global human rights that are enforceable for all societies. This one-size fits all standard is a huge obstacle for differing cultures and values and can easily fall into ethnocentrism.

To balance the enforcement of global human rights and cultural values, cultural human rights philosophies and values should be revived as Noor argues, but these cultural values must be understood and leveraged by local and world leaders trying to enforce greater human rights. Instead of a passive understanding of another’s culture, one should dive into those values and relate them to the attempted global standard of human rights.

The culture and religion of Papua New Guinea is a mixture of Western and indigenous ideals that often are enacted side-by-side. Most PNG citizens identify their faith as Christianity which was introduced by missionaries to PNG in the 1700-1800s. These Christian beliefs are often enacted along with traditions rooted in indigenous belief systems like animism and totemism. Animism is the belief that all animals and living things have a soul like humans and ought to be respected as such. These spirits are to be pacified and respected through rituals and taking care of the environment. Other people of PNG who live in the forest usually have cultures rooted in totemism, in which an animal or plant is holy and revered. The totem, highly special animal or plant, is the glue that holds the people of the forest together as a civilization. The totem is not worshipped as a god but is used in traditions and can be a way for people to connect with their environment.

With these indigenous beliefs comes traditions and practices that are outlandish to the Western viewpoint: witch hunting. In PNG, witchcraft is widely believed and feared. When a someone dies like a child, sometimes the agreed upon cause by the tribe is a witch. A witch must have cast a spell or taken the heart of the person, and the tribe must find this perpetrator and bring her to justice. In modern times, witch hunting has metastasized in PNG especially in remote areas like the Highlands. The prone nature towards violence and inequality of women are a few affecting factors for the witch hunts. While the UN tries to regulate this violence through meetings with the PNG government and laws, a local woman in PNG is working against these frequent witch hunts by protecting accused witches and hiding them. 

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Monica Paulus hides accused witches in Papua New Guinea

Acts like these on the domestic level are essential to grow human rights in a society. Change must happen within PNG before governmental regulation will make a huge difference.

In the end, cultural understanding, empathy and action within a country combined with global standards and regulation help enforce human rights.

Blog Post #4

The earth is more than an environment we live in, it defines aspects of our culture, identities, and relationships. The greater meaning of Earth gives voice to an intrinsic responsibility to preserve and protect our world from future destruction. While it may be hard to realize climate change in developed countries from a more distant relationship with the environment, those of developing countries who depend on the land for life are hyper aware of global warming and other issues in climate change. The gap between experiencing and understanding climate change is a huge issue for many across the globe today. Western countries are generally more industrialized and commercialized therefore disconnected from experiencing climate change on a person level in nature. Yet, developing countries like Papua New Guinea whom depend on natural resources for survival are all too aware of the deadly implications of climate change. This gap does not discredit moral obligations to take care of the environment; it merely identifies areas of deficiencies. The intrinsic moral responsibility to care for the earth is not enough to take action. Instead, this obligation coupled with our dependency on nature for sustainable life creates the motivator for action. For example, staple food items like the taro root and banana for Pacific islanders are core parts of their culture intertwining nature with the daily life of a farmer, mother, or islander.

“In 2009, some residents of the Carteret Islands 80km off Bougainville became the first climate refugees following years of worsening storm surges and king tides” 

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The Carteret Islands

As sea levels rise, Papua New Guinean islands like the Carteret Islands are hit hard by the pollution of crops and water via ocean waters. Worsening storms and king tides lend to infected water supplies from flooding. Over time, the staple foods and traditional actions or rituals associated with the harvesting, cooking, and consumption of those items are diminished as the food disappears from climate change. Other aspects of the culture change when rising sea levels sink houses, ruin gathering places, and force people to leave their homeland. The climate refugees of the Carteret Islands fled in 2009 to another area of PNG, the island of Bougainville. With a new environment came new ways of life and a change of culture. The integration of nature and culture along with the intrinsic moral obligation to protect the environment give motivation to take action against the depletion of the earth.

Nowadays, there are more environmental organizations distributed across the globe. In Papua New Guinea, the 350 PNG is a youth climate organization that aims to educate the youth of PNG about the effects of climate change. Originally created through Youth Against Corruption Association in 2013, 350 PNG is working to have one voice through youth in businesses, politicians, government, and many other organizations to fight climate change. 350 PNG is fighting rising sea levels increasing “at a rate more than double the global average, at 7mm per year”, increasing average temperature, acidic oceans, infrequent, intense storms, extreme rainfall, and climate refugees. Amid these environmental issues, PNG is degrading its natural resources through deforestation. The WWF, World Wide Fund for Nature, is one of the world’s largest conservation organizations involved in the deforestation issue in PNG with an office in Port Moresby called, “Western Melanesia Programme Office”. With over 70 percent of the island made up of forests, over 2 percent has been felled due to deforestation via logging, hunting, grazing, firewood collection, and monoculture plantations, the growth of one crop on a tract of land often demanding a lot of space and forestry.

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Papua New Guinea as a country of huge biodiversity is the home of the Eastern Long Beaked Echidna 

The immense biodiversity of the country is depleted by the loss of natural habitats. Other effects of deforestation includes a loss of biodiversity, modified climate, and the loss of water cycling. As fewer trees populate the island, “less carbon dioxide is absorbed by trees, which accumulates in the atmosphere as a result of pollution. At the same time, there may be an increased presence of CO2 if trees  are being burnt”  Without as many trees, the water cycle may be effected since trees help reduce water pollution, increase evapotranspiration, the amount of water returned to the atmosphere, and combats erosion.

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PNG also houses the Goodfellow’s Tree Kangaroo 

All of these environmental changes are working to create a different world than the one today. This change will perpetrate if not already everyday life through different food staples, gathering places, transportation methods, and many other aspects of culture. The only way to minimize environmental change and preserve our livelihoods is to take action.

Blog #3

Support for one’s country is a universal theme, but the individuality of each nation serves as a barrier against globalization. Nationalism encompasses patriotic feeling, principles or efforts according to Google. While patriotism also contains patriotic feeling, it is based out of love and beliefs towards one’s country. Nationalism errs on the side of ethnocentrism: belief that one’s culture is superior to another’s culture. Those who are nationalists tend to strive for the interests, independence, and domination of a nation expressing concern for the country in an active, political way. nationalists see unity as extremely important through similar cultural backgrounds in the respective country.

Zakaria states in his book, The Post-American World, that with growing economic interdependence and nationalism, unified actions through organizations like the United Nations become more difficult. With greater selfish, independent thinking, global action is less agreed upon because others are seeking their national interests alone. Another issue of nationalism Zakaria mentions is the rise of sub-nationalism where nationalism is enacted on a local level thereby inhibiting national action (Zakaria 41).

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Flag of Papua New Guinea

In Papua New Guinea, “…nationalism has multiple and fragmented meanings.”

With so much cultural diversity in tribes, clans, and urban areas, sub-nationalism reigns supreme. The national government and the people of PNG have a long history of misunderstanding since Papua New Guinea’s creation in 1975. For example, five years after independence, the PNG government was trying to establish national stability through the extraction of natural resources. Foreign companies were coming to the nation and taking resources while compromising landowners’ autonomy. Village leaders and locals took militant action against this exploitation arguing the foreign investors and national government should give compensation for their usage of the natural resources. The disconnect of sub-nationalism and nationalism supports Zakaria’s earlier point that sub-nationalism decreases a nation’s ability to enact country-wide movements.

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Another example of sub-nationalism in PNG is the Bougainville’s Conflict. After PNG became a nation in 1989, the Bougainville provincial government tries to secede from PNG. The national government refused this notion and decides to stop sending payments to Bougainville under suspension in 1975. Yet, years later in 1989, Bougainville inhabitants wanted to secede and rebels began a long struggle against the national PNG government. One motivator for this secession was an Australian and PNG owned mine called the Panguna mine in Bougainville, the breadwinner for the national government, in which, “the introduction of Australian and New Guinean workers caused resentment, and the exploitation of the mine became increasingly intertwined with issues if indigenous identity”

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The Panguna Mine

This mine represented an intrusion of the national government on a province of people. Most Bougainville locals are characterized by dark skin and call all other non-Bougainvilleans, “red-skins” to serve as a distinction between peoples. The introduction of a mine intruding upon ancestral lands, giving money to a national government instead of the region, and filling an indigenous culture with “red-skins” was too much for the Bougainvilleans.

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Bougainvillean Children

The rebels created a Bougainville Revolutionary Army and fought the national government for years. It was not until 1994 that the Prime Minister, Julius Chan, created a transitional government for the island that avoided establishing full independence of Bougainville. As such, Bouainvilleans were not satisfied with their new government and continued to struggle against PNG national government. Finally, in 1997, the Burnham Truce ends the secessionist conflicts by instating a ceasefire and would be moderated by neutral parties to make sure the fighting stopped. In 1999, a Bougainville Reconciliation Government was established with rebels as the leaders. Finally, peace was found.

Yet, there are many other issues abound in Papua New Guinea as any other country. With many cultures and indigenous ideals ingrained in different regions, PNG struggles with gender inequality. Women are often portrayed in their “traditional” gender role according to each clan, tribe, or society. Many are restricted from leadership roles in their communities. Compared to men, women make less than half the male wage, and men are more than doubly likely to hold a job in the formal sector.

This inequality makes PNG “one of the most dangerous places in the world with an estimated 70 percent of women experiencing rape or assault in their lifetimes”

Although there are recent laws in place against domestic violence have been put in place, the government and police have not enforced these laws seriously and fail to bring many to justice. In PNG, gender inequality acts as a major force of resistance towards current times. The national government has made steps in political globalization, in which Steger explains in the fourth chapter of his book, Globalization: a Very Short Introduction, as “the intensification and expansion of political interrelations across the globe”, as a resource-rich country recently establishing relations with the United States recently at the 10th Pacific Island Conference of Leaders. Yet, PNG remains behind the rest of the world in basic rights like gender equality. While Papua New Guinea’s diverse cultures serve to preserve traditions, these ways of life can act as a wedge against modern social standards.

Post #2

As the home of over 800 languages and 600 islands, Papua New Guinea contains immense diversity. Specifically, “the number of individual languages listed for Papua New Guinea is 852. Of these, 840 are living and 12 are extinct. Of the living languages, 839 are indigenous and 1 is non-indigenous”. It is no wonder this country has three official languages: English, Tok Pisin, and Hiri Motu. Although English is one of the major languages of the country, it is only spoken by a small portion of the population. Tok Pisin, alternatively called New Guinea Pidgin English, is understood by over 50% of citizens in Papua New Guinea. Tok Pisin evolved from English into a creole language and is the first language of 120,000 people. Hiri Motu is essentially pidgin English as two different language speakers try to communicate without a true common language. It is the second language for 120,000 people in PNG. The article “Linguistic diversity and language endangerment in Papua New Guine by Asya Pereltsvaig, comments about the importance of diverse languages in PNG by saying, “…language is often perceived as a badge of a community’s unique identity, as that which defines each tribe in ratlin to the others, so that tribal system together with cultural attitudes towards language promote linguistic diversification”. Other languages are indigenous and act as hallmarks of tribal societies, helping preserve societal autonomy and uniqueness. The immense diversity of Papua New Guinea originates from early settlement in 14,000 BC and relative isolation. The terrain of PNG is filled with mountains, swamps, islands, and rough coastlines. These attributes kept indigenous groups apart and lent to the development of different languages as societies grew and split into new tribes each with varying dialects.

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Wigmen of the Huli people in Papua New Guinea who speak Huli and Tok Pisin and have lived in PNG for 1,000 years

The enormous number of languages lends to a vast amount of tribal societies. These different communities often separated or isolated by the topography of PNG, highly impact PNG politics. Instead of national and centralized political parties, they “…rely almost exclusively on patronage politics, personalism, and regional bases.” Unlike the United States’ two major political parties of Democrats and Republicans, PNG has many political parties that are loyal to respective regions and tribal communities all over the country. Some examples are the People’s Democratic Movement, United Resources Party, the People’s Progressive Party, or the People’s Labor Party. In fact, regional and tribal politics highly influence these politicians and political parties instead of a large, national and political issues. Papua New Guinea has 20 provinces each with its own government. Other problems that can arise from so many indigenous languages is misrepresentation in government.

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The Huli people live in the central, mountainous mainland of Papua New Guinea

Yet, of these languages, “42 are institutional, 303 are developing, 344 are vigorous, 114 are in trouble, and 37 are dying.” With societies based on specific language and culture and as the people of PNG intermingles with each other, some may forget their native tongues or fail to teach their language to their children, therefore alienating family in a tribe or community. These tribal communities with differing languages makes it more difficult to communicate and get access to healthcare, education, and secure food sources.  The juxtaposition of losing language and kin while growing more united under a different tongue is the irony of Papua New Guinea. These indigenous languages serve to divide the country into minute sectors while globalization and government act as methods for unity.

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Highlands in Papua New Guinea

Speaking of government, Papua New Guinea joined the United Nations October 10, 1975 . PNG’s role in the UN is to be a participant in global affairs while also getting help. It is also a part of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), a subsidiary of the United Nations that helps “…eradicate poverty, reduce inequalities and build resilience so countries can sustain progress.” Currently, Papua New Guinea is follow UNDP’s 2014-17 Strategic Plan that focuses on governance, gender equality, women’s empowerment, climate change, disaster risk management, and environmental issues. This program acts as a consultation and oversight for the Papua New Guinean government. Papua New Guinea is also in the International Monetary Fund since 1975, and the World Trade Organization since 1996. PNG acts as a merchandise export trader ranked as 107 in the world for exports from 2014. In these world-wide organizations, PNG is a small player in a big pond. It is receiving guidance from the UN for social and governmental issues while making strides in international trade in the WTO and IMF for economical stability. In the WTO, PNG has .03 of worldwide exports. This nation is small but is involved in world events and is trying to improve in the government, education, healthcare, and numerous other areas.

Post #1

The Independent State of Papua New Guinea or simply Papua New Guinea (PNG) is located on the eastern side of New Guinea in Oceania. As a Pacific country, Papua New Guinea is one of the most culturally diverse countries in the world as home to over 800 languages. PNG is full of natural resources, mountainous regions and indigenous people.

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Papua New Guinea Topographical Map

Recently, the Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea, Peter O’Neill, met with President Obama on August 31, 2016, in Hawaii for the 10th Pacific Island Conference of Leaders. This meeting was to solidify the agreements PNG and the U.S.A. had made a few days earlier. The two countries signed a bilateral assistance agreement that will forward PNG’s efforts to preserve biodiversity, natural resources, and manage climate change. The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) will give $1.5 million this year over a five-year period totaling $7.5 million depending on fund availability.

This agreement along with the 10th Pacific Island Conference of Leaders both address climate change as a threat to Papua New Guinea and other Pacific Islands. The warmer temperatures and volatile weather along with rising sea levels have several effects on Papua New Guinea. Higher heat on the islands increases the risk for diseases especially malaria which is an endemic condition in every province of PNG according to Australian Doctors International. With one doctor per 17, 068 people and ranked as one of the lowest countries in the world in healthcare, higher risk for disease is a serious issue for PNG. The majority of citizens are not located in easy-to-reach urban areas. Many are in rural communities with unique languages and cultures. Also, the terrain of Papua New Guinea is mountainous and tropical, so traveling to other towns is difficult. Most traverse the island by foot or plane, and with few doctors, professional medical assistance is extremely difficult to find.

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Road in Papua New Guinea’s second largest city, Lae

Other effects of climate change like rising sea levels force people inland and change the landscape. With an economy dependent upon natural resources, changes of the habitation are not welcome. Many PNG communitities are self-reliant through subsistence farming, and the country exports its minerals and petroleum. In an effort to address these problems, O’Neill and other Pacific Island leaders partnered with the United States, the largest economy and a major world polluter, to deepen relations and increase trade, technological development, and economic development.

However, government corruption has been plaguing PNG throughout recent years. Prime Minister O’Neill came to power in 2011 with promises of breaking the historical governmental corruption of Papua New Guinea by in stating an anti-corruption agency. In 2014, O’Neill had a warrant issued for his arrest under the charges of fraudulent governmental payments to a legal agency. The Prime Minister avoided these charges through court orders for two years and got rid of his anti-corruption agency. In response, students at the University of Papua New Guinea boycotted classes for five weeks and marched in protest for the corruption of O’Neill in June 2016. 

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Papua New Guinea University students protesting O’Neill’s refusal to leave the office of prime minister 

Noel Anjo, a protest leader at the time, explained the students’ plans to the Reuters news agency in a statement. 

“‘We’re not going to give up. The students are not going to give up until and unless the prime minister resigned or surrenders himself to police and is arrested and charged. This might will continue.’”

The court ordered a ban on boycotting classes. A month later in July, civil disobedience and corruption charges came together at a no-confidence vote forced by the Supreme Court for O’Neill to be decided as fit or unfit for government. The motion fell short of the 56 votes needed to remove the prime minister from office with 85 for O’Neill and only 21 votes against him. 

With governmental corruption, high poverty, and low healthcare of Papua New Guinea, it makes sense for leaders to reach out to the largest economy in the world, the United States, in the 10th Pacific Island Conference of Leaders or through a bilateral assistance agreement. Yet, PNG did not partner with its neighboring country, Australia, nor with China, which will overcome the U.S. in economical size in a few years. In light of the no-confidence vote in July, the leader of the People’s Power Movement, an activist group in PNG, Noel Anjo, questioned Australia’s silence amidst the Papua New Guinean turmoil and argued the country was not doing its part as a leader in the Oceania region. The future of Papua New Guinea relies on help from other countries, but the U.S. cannot be the only benefactor. This nation will need other countries like Australia or even the its business mining partner, China, to give human relief and stability as PNG continues on the road towards governmental change.