The political dynamics of Solomon Islands: Nation building, economy & implications for Australia

Dr Transform Aqorau

Event details

SSGM Seminar

Date & time

Friday 26 August 2022
11.45am–12.45pm

Venue

Lecture Theatre 1 (HB1), Hedley Bull Building 130, corner of Garran Road and Liversidge Street, ANU

Speaker

Dr Transform Aqorau

Contacts

DPA

PLEASE NOTE: This event is a hybrid event and will take place both in-person and online.

Speaker:

Dr Transform Aqorau

Visiting Fellow, Department of Pacific Affairs (ANU) and
Director, Institute of Oceans, Islands and Sustainable Development (IOISD) at the Solomon Islands National University

The seminar will focus on the political dynamics in Solomon Islands, the key drivers of influence in the political landscape of the country, the role that the extractive sector has in governance and policy formulation or lack thereof, the connections between political elites and key business organizations, and the uneasy relationship between the national and provincial governments. In order to understand the backdrop to the November 2021 riots, and the security arrangement with China, it is necessary to understand these dynamics as well as the personalities involved and how these have influenced recent notable developments in Solomon Islands and the region. There is unfinished business from the making of the constitution, which has to be addressed, as well as the extraordinary control that the extractive industry has over the economy, and politics. Understanding these factors is important in situating the growing influence of China in Solomon Islands, and the challenge that Australia has in countering these influences.

About the Speaker
Dr. Transform Aqorau is currently a Visiting Fellow at the Department of Pacific Affairs at the ANU. He is Professor and Director of the Institute of Oceans, Islands and Sustainable Development (IOISD) at the Solomon Islands National University. He is also Legal Adviser in the Legal Division of the Marshall Islands Marine Resources Authority (MIMRA), and Chief Executive Officer of iTUNA Intel, a Solomon Islands based research and consultancy firm specializing in international fisheries and development and has written extensively on fisheries and political developments in Solomon Islands. He worked in the Solomon Islands as Legal Officer in the Solomon Islands Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and as International Legal Adviser to the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat in Fiji, and Legal Counsel and Deputy Director-General of the Honiara, Solomon Islands based Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA). He was the pioneer CEO of the Parties to the Nauru Agreement (PNA) Office. Dr. Aqorau is a Board Member of the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation (ISSF), Oxfam in the Pacific (OIP), and Director of OSA International, a New Zealand based not-for-profit organization focusing on social accountability of crews on fishing vessels. He has written articles on fisheries and development issues in the Pacific Islands and Solomon Islands, including a book published by the Department of Pacific Affairs in 2020 titled, “Fishing for Success: Lessons for Pacific Regionalism”. He has a Bachelor of Laws from the University of Papua New Guinea, a Masters of Laws from the University of British Columbia in Canada, and a Doctorate of Laws from the University of Wollongong. He also holds an Honorary Doctorate of Laws from the ANU College of Law.

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