The Political Science Program at Texas A&M University-Kingsville (TAMU-K), with the assistance of the University’s Division of International Studies & Programs, is pleased to introduce its Pacific Studies Program 2015 - a collaborative initiative between A&M-Kingsville and the University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand. The Pacific Studies Program (PSP) is being co-directed by Dr. Nirmal Goswami, Professor of Political Science, TAMU-K and Dr. Elaine Webster, Director, Summer School and Continuing Education, University of Otago. The PSP will include graduate and undergraduate students traveling to and staying in New Zealand in July of 2015, attending classes at the University of Otago, and visiting multiple sites through field trips in the greater Otago region. Areas of focus include history, politics, economics, culture, sustainability and environmental policies, etc., with reference to both the greater Pacific region and New Zealand. You are all invited to cyber travel with us as we learn about the uniqueness of New Zealand and the surrounding region. This blog will document our experience. You are welcome to post comments.

Hoggies NZ Slideshow

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Resource Management Challenges in Pacific Island Nations

Our fifth class, by U of Otago professor Jenny Bryant-Tokalau, focused on natural resource management issues in Pacific island nations. She spoke about the unique challenges faced in the region due to human actions. Nations such as Papua New Guinea(PNG), Fiji, Samoa, Tonga, New Caledonia, amongst others, are rich in natural resources. For example, nickel in Caledonia, phosphate in Nauru, and copper and gold in PNG and Fiji. The ways extraction of these minerals have been carried out have been very harmful to the environment. Larger, powerful countries have exploited natural resources and weak regulatory circumstances of these small island nations. Challenges these countries face include climate change consequences such as rise of sea level. When sea levels rise, major coastal population centers will be under water, forcing residences to flee. The change in water temperature and rising sea levels will also affect fisheries and regional fishing patterns that rely heavily on annual currents. Unfortunately, populations in these countries do not have many ways to earn livings so something of this magnitude can truly hurt these small populations. Tourism, too, has been a double-edged sword, it generates revenue but has multiple negative effects. But, there is hope! As more people learn about these places, just as we have, we also develop an understanding of policy issues, which, in turn, will allow us to figure out what we can do to make things better!

-Ashley M. and Anthony G.    

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