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APEC Discussion Series at the Precinct Events

Health experts excited by the potential of ‘transformational’ technology

Sir Puka on the panel at the APEC Discussion Series.

Technology has potential to transform primary health care in Papua New Guinea according to local and international experts at a public discussion held during APEC Health Security Week.

The fourth event in the APEC Discussion Series at the Precinct included a keynote speech by Dr Shin Young-soo, World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Director, and a panel discussion that featured Hon. Sir Puka Temu CMG KBE MP, Minister for Health and HIV/AIDS, and Dr Vivian Lin, former World Health Organization (WHO) Director for Health Sector Development.

The event coincided with APEC Health Security Week and was the fourth iteration in the series, which has offered unprecedented public access to local and visiting experts on APEC topics – including economic integration agriculture and health.

The conversation was centred on primary health care and the panellists were quick to highlight the relevance of the 2018 APEC theme – ‘Harnessing Inclusive Opportunities, Embracing the Digital Future’ – to health in Papua New Guinea.

Sir Puka said Papua New Guinea has the potential to make a technological leapfrog and cover the country with health care services.

“Harnessing technology is so critical for us,” he said, “in Rwanda they use drones to deliver vaccines at a 300 mile radius – that’s transformational, as long as on-site there’s a health worker that can disperse the vaccine. Tele-health or tele-medicine can be used when an obstetric nurse is having a difficult delivery. The obstetrician is ready in a regional hospital to guide that nurse on how to deliver safely.”

Sir Puka Temu also said the health of people across the country depends on both investment in health services and supporting infrastructure.
“mHeath is not an expenditure item – it is an investment item. We invest in the health of the nation,” he said.

“The bulk of positive health outcomes don’t come from direct health interventions – they come from non-health interventions,” he continued.

In his keynote address, Dr Shin said primary health care is crucially important for health security for all people, but that building these health services is neither easy nor quick.

“It takes time to build and maintain the right physical infrastructure, to train the workforces, and ensure good planning and links to other parts of the health system,” he said.

“Right now there is an outbreak of polio in PNG and this is a perfect example of the need to keep investing in primary health care to ensure that every man, woman and child gets essential services – such as immunisations.

Dr Vivian Lin and Sr Celine Yakasere provide perspectives on the importance of primary health care.

According to the WHO, the rise of mobile of technologies, applications and cellular networks has the potential to improve and permanently alter the way health services are delivered, and Dr Vivian Lin believes innovation can support health workers to communicate successfully with communities.

“Health – apps on the phone – can, in real-time, let you know how many people are waiting at all the emergency departments and what the waiting time is. That helps people actually make choices about where they may go,” Dr Lin said.

Dr Lin also said that community partnerships are vital for formal health care systems to function well.

“One of the really important things about primary health care is that it’s not just about individuals seeking care – it’s about engaging with communities,” she said.

“When people build trust then we can see a much stronger response from the community to a range of health issues.”

The APEC Discussion Series is hosted by the PNG APEC Secretariat and the Pacific Leadership and Governance Precinct. The APEC Series continues on 5 September with an event themed: ‘Women in Leadership’.

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APEC Discussion Series at the Precinct Events

APEC Discussion explores agriculture as a major regional opportunity for PNG

Grahame Dixie, Executive Director at Grow Asia.

The Papua New Guinea public had their say on APEC Food Security week at the third event of the APEC Discussion Series at the Precinct, which was themed ‘Growing the nation: Agriculture, Inclusive Growth and Regional Opportunities’.

The event was held on Tuesday 7 August at the University of Papua New Guinea and included a keynote address from Grahame Dixie, Executive Director of Grow Asia, a multi-stakeholder partnership platform that catalyses action on inclusive agricultural development in South East Asia.

Mr Dixie said PNG can look to examples of South East Asian economies which have been able to kick-start their economic development by initially focusing on increasing the productivity of their smallholder farmers.

“The world is changing rapidly – creating both challenges and opportunities for farming. Agribusinesses need additional supplies of agricultural raw materials to supply the changing, expanding, and largely urban demand,” he said.

“The great opportunity is that agribusinesses have the capacity, through their buying power, to bring significant new sources of cash income into the rural economy – this is the fuel for eliminating rural poverty.”

Mr Dixie pointed to a case from Indonesia, where a coffee industry partnership between a major transnational corporation, nurseries, fertilizer companies, NGOs, certifiers, banks and local traders has lifted farmers’ harvests and improved the prices they receive.

He said this outcome was due to a combination of certification, competition and improved quality, and the tangible impact has been that around 20,000 farmers increased their coffee profits by more than 80 per cent – worth approximately US$12 million per year.

“In PNG the approach of creating and working with multi-stakeholder partners – typically comprising agribusiness, producers, civil society and government – can bring similar benefits,” Mr Dixie said.

“There are problems that cannot be solved by an individual company or institution, but can be tackled cooperatively. “

Joeri Kalwij (centre-left), Jane Ravusiro (centre-right) and Max Puritau (right) provided perspectives on agribusiness and small holder development in PNG.

The event also included a panel discussion that featured Jane Ravusiro, Senior National Coordinator at the Pacific Horticultural and Agricultural Market Access Program (PHAMA); Joeri Kalwij, the Manager of Monpi Coffee Exports Ltd; and Max Puritau, Global Village Exports Managing Director.

The APEC Discussion Series at the Precinct will continue next week on Wednesday 15 August with a discussion centred on APEC Health Security Week and the theme ‘Ensuring the Region’s Health Security through Primary Healthcare’.

It will feature a keynote address by World Health Organization Regional Director Dr Shin Young-soo.

The series was launched in May and gives Papua New Guineans unprecedented access to visiting international experts and the APEC discussions taking place throughout 2018.

It is hosted by the PNG APEC Secretariat and the Pacific Leadership and Governance Precinct, supported by the PNG – Australia Partnership, and explores APEC themes and policy issues relevant to Papua New Guinea and the Pacific.

As the 2018 APEC host, Papua New Guinea will hold approximately 200 meetings with up to 15,000 delegates, including global business and government leaders, policy and technical experts and academics.

The Pacific Leadership and Governance Precinct is a partnership between Papua New Guinea and Australia to support the development of ethical and capable leaders.

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APEC Discussion Series at the Precinct Press Releases

Unprecedented discussion series gives Papua New Guineans access to APEC experts

WTO Director-General Roberto Azevêdo takes a question from the audience.

The Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Discussion series has given Papua New Guineans unprecedented access to visiting APEC and international trade experts.

A series of public events open to the public will explore APEC themes and policy issues relevant to Papua New Guinea and the Pacific.

The first event last month featured addresses by Foreign Minister Rimbink Pato; Australia’s Assistant Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment Mark Coulton; and World Trade Organization (WTO) Director-General Roberto Azevêdo. Discussions were focused on trade and the rules-based global trading system.

World Trade Organization Director Roberto Azevêdo highlighted Papua New Guinea’s importance to the international trade system, and the importance of international trade in addressing issues faced in PNG, including recovery from natural disasters.

Mr Azevedo said that rigorous studies suggest that the frequency and severity of natural disasters are likely to increase, and WTO members have started a dialogue on how trade policies and practices can help in dealing with natural disasters.

“The right policy can boost recovery by helping to improve supply-side capacity and restoring trade after a disaster. We have to get this right and contribute in any way we can,” he said.

Minister Pato said that the WTO continues to be a major contributor to increased levels of global prosperity. He further stated that the message Papua New Guinea wants to send as APEC host is that the world will be all the better for a steady, free, fair, inclusive, rules-based trading system.

The event also included a panel discussion with Dr Allan Bollard, Executive Director for the APEC Secretariat based in Singapore.

Dr Allan Bollard, reiterated APEC’s focus on ensuring there are good rules for international trade that will translate to improvements in living standards.

“Over the time that Papua New Guinea has been in APEC, since 1993, income per capita has doubled – you are roughly twice as well off as your parents. We want more of it and that’s been the story right around the APEC region – leading the world in terms of trade given growth,” he said.

Australia’s Assistant Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment Mark Coulton also spoke at the first APEC discussion series, and said Australia strongly supports Papua New Guinea’s growing economic integration and leadership role in the Asia-Pacific region.

“Both of our economies rely on a strong and open trading environment, and Australia continues to stand for a transparent world trade and investment system based on rules.”

“Australia is very committed to supporting Papua New Guinea as it hosts APEC this year, and we are also committed to supporting the development of PNG’s future public service leaders through the Pacific Leadership and Governance Precinct.”

The APEC Discussion Series at the Precinct is being held at the University of Papua New Guinea throughout 2018 hosted by the PNG APEC Secretariat and the Pacific Leadership and Governance Precinct, supported by the PNG – Australia Partnership.

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APEC Discussion Series at the Precinct Events

APEC Discussion Series at the Precinct

The Papua New Guinea APEC Secretariat and the Pacific Leadership and Governance Precinct have announced a discussion series that will give Papua New Guineans unprecedented access to visiting international experts and the APEC discussions taking place throughout 2018.

The ‘APEC Discussion Series at the Precinct’ is presented by the PNG APEC Secretariat and the Pacific Leadership and Governance Precinct, supported by the Papua New Guinea – Australia Partnership and hosted by the University of Papua New Guinea.

Papua New Guinea’s APEC Ambassador Ivan Pomaleu said the APEC Discussion Series at the Precinct will look at APEC themes and policy issues that are important to Papua New Guinea and the Pacific. 

“The APEC Discussion Series at the Precinct is a chance for people to engage with international policy experts,” Mr Pomaleu said. 

“The discussions will cover many topics related to APEC including trade, tourism, mining and more. It is an opportunity to explore how international expertise can be applied in Papua New Guinea,” he said 

As the 2018 APEC host, Papua New Guinea will hold approximately 200 meetings with up to 15,000 delegates, including global business and government leaders, policy and technical experts and academics. 

Australian High Commissioner Bruce Davis said Australia is partnering with Papua New Guinea to ensure this is one of the most successful APEC years ever. 

“Papua New Guinea is showcasing its culture, beauty and economic opportunities to the world as the host of APEC 2018. 

“This year is also a chance for Papua New Guinea to take hold of the great trade and investment opportunities that exist in the Asia-Pacific region,” he said.

The first event in APEC Discussion Series at the Precinct will be held on 24 May and feature a keynote address from World Trade Organization Director-General, Roberto Azevêdo.

The Pacific Leadership and Governance Precinct is a partnership between Papua New Guinea and Australia to support the development of ethical and capable leaders.

It fosters discussion and debate on how to improve governance and service delivery at national, provincial and district levels, and encourages values-based decision making in the Papua New Guinea public service.

The venue for the series is the New Lecture Theatre at the University of Papua New Guinea. The University is a core partner of the Precinct and an historic home for discussions on topics of national importance.

The New Lecture Theatre was launched in March and constructed with support from the Australian Government.

To attend the inaugural discussion on 24 May, RSVP to info@pslrpng.org. Attendees are encouraged to arrive at the New Lecture Theatre at UPNG by 4.30pm for the 5pm – 6pm event.