Tuesday, November 18, 2014


The Pacific Network on Globalisation (PANG) features a document to all the members of the World Trade Organisation in the Pacific — outlining how free trade challenges customary land practices at http://www.pang.org.fj

The associated media points out:

Customary land is so central to life in the Pacific Islands that its importance cannot be overstated. Yet through the eyes of free trade agreements it is seen as a barrier to investment, something that needs to be challenged...

Previous attempts to privatise land in the Pacific have been meet with a strong refusal by Islanders. What we're seeing now is free trade advocates using these agreements to secure control over the usage of the land, which can in effect mean that custom decisions about land use are undermined...

We're seeing this in Vanuatu where its Trade in Services commitments at the World Trade Organization (WTO) mean the government's ability to specifically support and nurture land use for Indigenous enterprise, such as local bure owners or other tourist accommodation, can only happen if it gives the same support to foreign investors ...

The push for the Pacific Islands to become integrated into the global economy is a push to ask the Pacific to turn its back on the systems and cultural practices that have supported them for generations.

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