Revised paper delivered November 1, 2012, at the Civil Society Mapping and Planning Meeting-Pacific, Pearl Resort, Pacific Harbour, Fiji .
What I’d like to present to you is a more systemic approach to resisting many on the changes that are coming down the pipe as a result of new trade agreements, militarization, climate change as well as an economic rivalry with China that is creating a very aggressive atmosphere over resources- one of which, profoundly impacts the Pacific. Arguably there may be a very small window of opportunity to assert a new kind of integration: one that is based on free prior and informed consent, and develop a new integrated ecological standard that does not reward environmental degradation or resource depletion. These new climate change reduction initiatives have already been embraced by APEC, ADB, Wall St and the investment regime, and currently these initiatives have no rules, because at this time, it is just framework.
What is this magic snake oil that I seem to be peddling? It’s based on the System of Integrated and Environmental and Economic Accounting– the SEEA– a framework adopted by the UN Statistic Division for GDP formulation called the UN System of National Accounts. What I am proposing is the participation of a working group to assert new rules to this framework with the cooperation of indigenous rightsholders, civil society, ecologists and global-south advocates. It is imperative that we establish a working group that can sit at the table and demand the proper accounting of our indigenous, environmental and gender equity rights.
Let me step back for a moment and reflect upon the “Harsh Realities of the Global Context.”
This text accurately highlights the key priorities challenging not just Pacific Small Island States but the world in general and indigenous/native communities specifically. Additionally, the structural analysis describing the neoliberal economic system’s impact on accelerating climate change is, I agree, the foremost challenge that we face in the world today. I would only add that in addition to highlighting gender equity, PACER-plus, the TPP, and the investment/finance regime, we might want to give more focus to the build-up of military resources in the region since militarization is the arm that provides security and infrastructure to the trade/investment regime.
The global context seen from the perspective of Pacific Islands, reminds me of how difficult our Pacific predicament is. Despite attempts of integrating the cultural and ecological richness and vastness of our Pacific territory, we are still disregarded by the large economies as being disparate and small. When the U.S. Secretary of State Hilary Clinton visited the Cook Islands in August, it simply reminded us of how the Pacific Islands are often acknowledged as a convenience for our militaries or an afterthought for our resources. Last year during the APEC 2011 forum in Hawaii, I met an investment banker who, in response to Clinton’s “America’s Pacific Century” op-ed, vigorously exclaimed, “the Pacific is fucked.” His eloquent response sums up the “Harsh Realities of the Global Context.”
In response, our challenge should be to un-fuck the Pacific.
I want to go back and address the NATIONAL ACCOUNTING SYSTEMS because it is a fundamental. Just as there are fundamentals in cultural properties and biodiversity, there are also fundamentals in economics—even though I hate uttering that in the same breath—we need to consider that this paradigm is a fundamental of our the harsh reality.
NATIONAL ACCOUNTING SYSTEMS AND THE 2003 SEEA
Since 1953, Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has been the international standard for measuring a nation’s economic well-being. Since the post war period, this has been the standard for assigning currency valuation (not to be confused with currency exchange) in international trade. Statistical indes were accounted for via a technical aggregate, and these changes measured overall growth in manufacturingproduction, employment, cost-of-living, purchasing power, capital formation, and the imports and exports of goods and services.
According to the GDP, the more we spend, consume and produce the more the GDP rises. Such a metric of economic progress, however, was fundamentally flawed because it made no distinction between production that contributes to genuine improved well-being and activities that degrade our personal, community and environmental conditions.
At its inception, the UN Statistics Division (UNSD) developed a technical and international standard through which the economic growth of national economies—including Pacific Island countries—could be measured called the System of National Accounts (SNA). The UNSD agreed that an international accounting standard based on the US accounting of GDP should be the standard measurement, and that trade and currency valuation would be measured against the dollar. This formulation however, had disastrous consequences in the global North-South exchange and in the last decade, there have been a growing number of proposals advancing alternative indicators that aim to reduce the gap between disparate economies.
Most significantly, the Genuine Progress Indicators of Sustainable Well-being Accounting (GPI) challenged the GDP hegemony and offered a cohesive route towards fundamentally changing the ecological and economic barriers for the global South. In 2001, GPI advanced the possibility of creating a deficit to unsustainable policies that include resource extraction, big agriculture and industrial fishing and farming practices.
In 2003, the SNA, arguably building upon the GPI, produced the Integrated System of Environmental and Economic Accounting (SEEA) to complement, if not replace GDP. This proposal was rejected during the 2008 SNA revision process.
This past March, however, the central framework of the SEEA, was adopted at the 43rd session by the United Nations Statistical Commission with the aim of being integrated with the SNA.
Unfortunately, what was adopted in this 2012 SEEA was only the central framework, and the Commission failed to include the alternative well-being indicators that were in the previous drafts. Ecological issues that account for resource depletion and environmental degradation, food security, democracy, the revision of outdated economic boundaries to include women’s rights, household labor and child-care, although addressed, were not adopted. However, the UNSD has provided us with a working template—the 2003 SEEA—that could be used to revise our national accounts despite its rejection by the current neoliberal economic regime.
The duality of geographic location and economic disparity that has confronted Pacific Island Nations at an alarming rate continues to challenge our right to ‘free prior and informed consent. The various international economic institutions that have drawn up our economic agreements or frameworks have continuously ignored this right. Forced participation in the various trade negotiations such as APEC, TPPA and EPA-ACP result in Pacific Peoples becoming indigenous renters in their own land as a consequence of breeching any of the regulations set out in those agreement. The peoples of the Pacific may soon find themselves in a vicious circle of economic and restricted development as a result of the proposed introduction and implementation of any framework without a robust consultation with Pacific peoples.
If our small island states participated in an integrated ecologically based accounting system, opportunities for challenging already existing trade and investment policy among international networks could arise. Sustainable environmental solutions could be achieved through ecological accounting and embracing these revisions could potentially reverse some of the negative impact resulting from climate change. Standardizing an SEEA within the obligation for ‘free, prior and informed consent’ would need to be a monitoring authority that could evaluate and offer structural guidelines to impacted islands and communities.
PACIFIC REGION MONITORING AUTHORITY
I’d like to offer some recommendations, some of which were presented by the Pacific Caucus from the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues to the UN Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio this past year. Although these recommendations comment directly on the impact of the Fukushima reactor spill, large scale resource exploration, degradation and depletion by transnational corporations on indigenous peoples’ land and territories, a Pacific region monitoring authority does provide a frame in which we can at least begin to develop a consultative process for slowing down these hegemonic investor-state agreements.
- We ask that indigenous/native rights-holders and ecologists participate in developing the guidelines and methodology for implementing new social-economic systems like the 2003 SEEA, and identify a committee that will be tasked to create a methodology based on our collective Pacific ways.
- We ask that all States recognize our right to our lands, oceans and resources, and that any military, industrial or mining uses be first approved by the free, prior and informed consent of our Pacific Peoples.
- We request that a percentage of the taxes and royalties States receive from companies who profit from our resources to be proportionately allocated to fund the establishing of an Independent Regional Indigenous Peoples Monitoring Authority.
- We urge all States to work with Indigenous Peoples to ensure the full implementation and the legal application of the Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and recognize our human rights and fundamental freedoms to self-determination and self-governance.
- We call upon the United Nations to assist with the creation of a region wide, independent and indigenous rights holders-led agency to review and regulate the environmental and economic impact of resource depletion in our region. We seek an agency whose principal rights holders are the cultural and traditional practitioners whose economic livelihoods are most impacted by these agreements, and ask that the agency be recognized at the same international level as the investor-state agreements by upholding common-sense environmental and cultural impact reviews.
The very survival and future of Pacific Island Peoples is linked directly on the policies and practices of States and of international institutions and organizations.
The World Bank, the International Finance Corporation, the Inter-American Development Bank and the Asian Development Bank; have projects funded that have been negative and counterproductive to the interests of indigenous peoples and have often contributed to violating our fundamental rights by creating conditions of debt and poverty.
The World Bank has an operational policy on indigenous peoples that states that for any proposed projects that affect indigenous peoples, the borrower is required to engage in the process of free, prior and informed consent and that the projects include measures to (a) avoid potentially adverse effects on the indigenous peoples’ communities; or (b) when avoidance is not feasible, to minimize, mitigate or compensate for such effects.
In addition, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)—what is being called a 21st-century trade agreement—is presently being negotiated. In its current form, the TPP is an 11-country free-trade agreement representing a 20.5 trillion dollar alignment and negotiators are being advised by 600 of the regions largest transnational corporations. These TNCs like Walmart, Monsanto, Cargill, Chevron, etc. will create further economic hardships for small island economies as the annual budget for these corporations are larger than most Pacific Island’s GDP. Since most of the PICs are tethered to TPP countries like Australia, New Zealand, the U.S. or Chile, the TPP could prove to be the juggernaut that consumes Pacific Island resources. In addition, the leaked investor-state chapters reveal what was already assumed to be true based on NAFTA’s investor-state chapters, giving investors expanded rights to sue states over many kinds of non-trade provisions. Investor-State enforcements allow foreign firms to skirt domestic court systems and directly sue governments for cash damages. These are resolved through closed tribunals in third-party courts before the UN and World Bank, and would be devastating to island economies whose GDP may only be $400M, annually. A monitoring authority would be a third-party regulator in these agreements, aimed at preventing or slowing down resource extracting investments in the region.
1) New Caledonia, a new nickel refinery belonging to Brazilian mining giant Vale is due to start full production next year. Vale has brokered a so-called Sustainable Development Agreement with New Caledonia’s Kanak leaders in 2008. The company aims to become the largest nickel producer. In 2009, more that 40,000 litres of 98% pure sulphuric acid was released into a river leading into the mouth of Prony Bay, a UNESCO World Heritage bumper zone. This resulted in peoples who depend entirely on the farming and fishing to survive are forced to endure serious ramifications to their health and their ability to sustain themselves in the territories belonging to the Thio, Kouaoua, Wawilu and Poum, among others.
2) Pacific Island countries and territories that have leased out swathes of the deep seabed in their Exclusive Economic Zones for exploration of minerals to transnational mining companies. The Solwara 1 Project owned by Nautilus Minerals, a Canadian company, operates in Papua New Guinea and is the only deep seabed-mining project that is in full operation. As the technology develops for the acquisition of lucrative gold, silver, copper, nickel, and rare-earth deposits, we are concerned that small island nations will be at a tremendous disadvantage in protecting themselves from potential accidents and mishaps resulting from these large transnational mining projects. As of yet, there has been no Environmental Impact Study that has conclusively shown the mitigation of the impact of the mining process on ecology of the deep seabed, on fisheries closer to shore, or on the fragile reef system that is home to the greatest diversity of life on the planet.
3) In Rapa Nui, people are struggling against a tidal wave of developments proposals by the Chilean government in conjunction with international investment regimes, such as TransOceanica, for mining projects, airfields, ports, casinos, and hotels. Rapa Nui has been engaged in an unresolved decades long land rights and self-determination struggle with Chile. Now, Rapa Nui is at risk of being crushed under the weight of a regional free-trade agreement, the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement, which Chile ratified in 2005. This free-trade agreement and proposed development projects will irreparably damage a UN World Heritage site, to the detriment to Rapa Nui, while primarily benefitting the Chilean government and the non-Rapa Nui investment regimes.
4) We are deeply distressed by the growing radioactive plume engulfing the Pacific Northwest region from to the ongoing Japanese Fukushima nuclear disaster. We must participate in the development and implementation of a comprehensive plan, based on reliable scientific data, to assist Pacific peoples in monitoring and protecting health, food and regional resources due to this nuclear disaster. The impact of Fukushima on Pacific island peoples whose health and resources have already been compromised by international nuclear testing and experimentation cannot be ignored. As evidenced by the continued negative health indicators and unusually high cancer rates of those living in the islands in Micronesia where massive nuclear testing was conducted fifty years ago. The States and corporations responsible for nuclear proliferation in the Pacific must be held accountable for impacts and remediation to health, economic and the environment of the indigenous Pacific peoples.
For many years, indigenous peoples have advocated at the UN for the full recognition of core collective rights, such as full ownership rights to their lands and natural resources and the right to self-determination. The UN Declaration entailed a process of more than 30 years in which indigenous peoples and States forged common ground on the need of protecting indigenous territories and governments.
The UN Declaration is a global statement of the law concerning indigenous peoples, which enjoys today full support from the world community. It is by virtue of these rights that indigenous peoples can control, use, manage and benefit from their lands and natural resources according to their governing institutions, laws and customs.
Yet, currently, there is no binding policy specifically protecting indigenous peoples’ territories and governments, which are indispensable for survival as distinct peoples within existing nation-states. We have also not seen a policy in which larger economies, implementing agencies or investment regimes are fulfilling the obligations of human rights and climate agreements; what we find are governments negotiating regional trade agreements that are reinforcing investor-state frameworks, often with the support and encouragement of our sub-regional institutions and without consultation or approval by indigenous peoples.
For example, SOPAC, the geo-science and technology subsidiary of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) has secured funding to draft a framework that would enable Pacific Island nations to mine the deep sea for minerals, and this SPC-authored framework would disenfranchise Pacific Island communities, impacting the livelihoods of Pacific Islanders without their free, prior and informed consent.
With respect to mining and other industrial investments among Pacific islands, negotiations and agreements are often kept secret from public purview. Citing limited negotiating time limits, inadequate access to legal representation, or governments who are not aligned with indigenous interests, Pacific Islanders require an agency that would enable farm and fish practitioners and our cultural stakeholders to participate from the initiation of such negotiations and agreements, and have access to the legal resources and adequate time to adequately represent our interests.
Decisions over the ocean environment cannot be made by governments or investment regimes, or even by regional organizations like the Pacific Island Forum, without free, prior and informed consent of the indigenous community. An independent regional body comprised of indigenous peoples adversely impacted by the decisions of governments, trade representatives, and corporate stakeholders to develop a specific policy aimed at protecting the rights contained within the UN DRIP, must be established and funded.
Although this should be given separate attention, the following is an example of how SNA accounting aggregates are not permanently fixed and how the UN Statistics Division periodically revises the SNA to account for economic policy shifts. During the 2008 SNA revision, Military Systems were removed from being an inventoried account to being a fixed asset. This move towards being a fixed asset, accounts for projected future investments, and resulted in militarized economies raising their GDP several points, despite relatively flat unemployment growth figures and household spending. This accounting change to the SNA unfairly creates further disadvantages to countries that do not have the will or the resources to allocate a substantial percentage of their GDP to military spending.
At the closing of Moana Nui 2011, a conference shadowing APEC 2011, produced in collaboration between the International Forum on Globalization (San Francisco, U.S.) and Pua Mohala I Ka Po (Hawaii), participants produced this statement:
We, the peoples of Moana Nui, connected by the currents of our ocean home, declare that we will not cooperate with the commodification of life and land as represented by APEC’s predatory capitalistic practices, distorted information and secret trade negotiations and agreements.
We invoke our rights to free, prior and informed consent. We choose cooperative trans-Pacific dialogue, action, advocacy, and solidarity between and amongst the peoples of the Pacific, rooted in traditional cultural practices and wisdom.
E mau ke ea o ka aina i ka pono. A mama. Ua noa.
This year, at the conclusion of the APEC 2012 meeting in Vladivostok, Russia, Ministers agreed on a list of 54 green technologies that will be subject to import duties of 5 percent or less beginning in 2015. This tariff reduction will unfairly pit our homegrown food and/or green energy initiatives against major players like Cargill, Monsanto, Shell, BP and Chevron, who will further exploit our resources for the benefit of their global-supply principles to shareholders thousands of miles away. Goldman Sachs, the leading Wall St. investment has announced that they are setting aside $40 billion to target clean technology and renewable energy an action that could unfairly compromise small island economies e Wall. St. to privatize our public utilitiesfor the open market. In addition, trade ministers from the 11 nations participating in the TPP talks, affirmed their determination to move ahead with this policy. The nextround of TPP negotiations will take place in New Zealand in December.
In closing, I received a note from Jon Osorio, Professor of Hawaiian Studies at the University of Hawai’i at Manoa and convener to the Moana Nui conference, and he wrote:
I am just as skeptical of international organizations that preach good stewardship to us as though we really need to be taught this by outsiders.
Kanaka need to reach back into their own traditions and look for ways to balance the values and life-strategies of our ancestors with those of modern human beings. But there is no hope of balance so long as our own people continue to think that our predecessors were ignorant, primitive, superstitious, unscientific a pela aku. There is also no hope for balance if modern human beings continue to believe that the earth can sustain their lunatic “needs.”
 Clinton, Hillary Rodham, “America’s Pacific Century,” November 2011, Foreign Policy Magazine. [http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2011/10/11/americas_pacific_century] 14 October 2011.
. Accessed 15
 ibid. p.2.
 Anielski, Mark. “Measuring the Sustainability of Nations: The Genuine Progress Indicator System of Sustainable Well-Being Accounts” Paper delivered at the Fourth Biennial Conference of the Canadian Society for Ecological Economics: Ecological Sustainability of the Global Market Place, August 2001, Montreal Quebec.
 Commission538 “29.120, This is the most difficult part of environmental accounting and one where there is still a wide divergence of views. There are two problems raised by the question of how to incorporate the effects of degradation in the SNA. The first is how to place a value on degradation; the second how to locate this valuation in the accounts.”
Paragraph written by Ali’itasi Stewart, who contributed to the writing of this paper. She was also a participant to the Moana Nui 2011 conference in Hawaii
 Special Rapporteurs, U.N. Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, Tenth Session, “Study on indigenous peoples and corporation to examine existing mechanisms and policies related to corporations and indigenous peoples and to identify good practices.” New York, 12-27 May 20122, Item 3 (a) of the provisional agenda.
 World Bank, Operational Manual. OP4.10-Indigenous Peoples (http://web.worldbank.org/WBSITE/EXTERNAL/PROJECTS/EXTPOLICIES/EXTOPMANUAL/0,,contentMDK:20553653~menuPK:4564185~pagePK:64709096~piPK:64709108~theSitePK:502184,00.html) Accessed 15
 Public Cititzen. “Investor-State Attacks on the Public Interest” (http://www.citizen.org/Page.aspx?pid=5329) Accessed 1 Oct 2012.
 Gooch, Nicole. “Nickel and Maligned”. 2012, Apr, 27. The Global Mail. (http://www.theglobalmail.org/feature/nickel-and-maligned/214/). Accessed 15
 Radio Australia, “Thousand of fish dead after acid leak at New Caledonia Nickel plant.” April 6, 2009.
(http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/international/radio/onairhighlights/thousands-of-fish-dead-after-acid-leak-at-new-caledonia-nickel-plant). Accessed 15
 ACT NOW! and PANG Joint Media Release, “Economics of experimental seabed mining don’t add up for Pacific island countries.” May 15, 2012. Papua New Guinea Mine Watch, (http://ramumine.wordpress.com/2012/05/15/economics-of-experimental-seabed-mining-dont-add-up-for-pacific-island-countries/). Accessed 15
 U.N. General Assembly, Fourth Committee (GA/SPD431). “Fourth Committee delegates urge more funding for scientific committee to enable it to assess emerging risks of atomic radiation on human health, environment.” (http://www.un.org/News/Press/docs/2009/gaspd431.doc.htm). Accessed 16 Oct. 2009.
 Crippa, Leonardo A. & Gretchen Gordon. “Comments on the UN-REDD Programme Guideline on Free, Prior and Informed Consent.” Indian Law Resource Center. January 2012. (http://www.indianlaw.org/content/centers-redd-related-comments-fpic-guidelines-benefit-and-risk-assessment-tool) Accessed 15
 Papua New Guinea Perspective. (http://www.pngperspective.com/news/pacific-deep-sea-mining-framework-under-fire/?utm_source=copy&utm_medium=paste&utm_campaign=copypaste&utm_content=http%3A%2F%2F). Accessed 15
,1 Aug.- Accessed 15
.Where the Military expenditure as a percentage of GDP has moved from 4.0 in 2007, 4.4 in 2008, 4.8 in 2009 and 4.8 in 2010, this neither reflects nor accounts for the percentage increase in GDP. Rather it accounts for private investment in military systems, signifying a shirt from federal funding to the private sector:If we account for Accessed 15
Note: Healthcare and social services are not accounted for as fixed assets– generally, community and social services are accounted for as deficits in a non-market sector which, in my opinion, is why lobbyists and many in government are advocating to privatize these sectors. Accessed 15
Investment“” Accessed 15
APEC, “Apec Observers” (http://www.apec.org/About-Us/How-APEC-Operates/APEC-Observers.aspx). “ ”Accessed 15 Sept. 2012.
Accessed 9 Sept. 2012.
. Accessed 9 Sept. 2012.
 “Moana Nui: The Pacific Peoples, their Lands and Economies” was a three-day summit commencing on November 9, 2011, in Honolulu, Hawaii. Organized by the International Forum on Globalization and Pua Mohala I Ka Po, a partnership of scholars, community and political activists and Hawaiian and Pacific Islander cultural practitioners, Moana Nui provided a voice and possible direction for the economies of Pacific Islands in the era of powerful transnational corporations, global industrial expansion and global climate change. (http://moananui2011.org/) Accessed 9 Sept. 2012.
 Statement drafted at the Moana Nui 2011 meeting in Honolulu, Hawaii in November 2011. (http://www.change.org/petitions/moana-nui-2011-statement) Accessed 9 Sept. 2012.
.Accessed 9 Sept. 2012.
 Goldman Sachs, “Focus on Clean Technology and Renewables” (http://www.goldmansachs.com/our-thinking/focus-on/clean-technology-and- renewables/index.html?mediaIndex=video1&cid=PS_03_28_06_00_00_00). “At Goldman Sachs, we believe that capital markets can and should play an important role in creating opportunities to address today’s environmental challenges. The firm has set a $40 billion target for financing and investing in clean technology companies over the next decade. On this page, we share some of our latest thinking on the clean tech market – in sectors such as solar, wind, geothermal, energy-efficiency, green transportation and advanced biofuels – along with efforts to develop market-based solutions to some of the world’s most pressing environmental challenges.
“ Accessed 9 Sept. 2012.
 Heritage, Timothy. “UPDATE 2-Russia’s Putin warns on global economy, looks east” Asia-Pacific Forum to Cut Import Duties fo Green Technologies” New York Times. Reuters. UK. (http://uk.reuters.com/article/2012/09/07/apec-summit-putin-idUKL6E8K752N20120907) http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/08/business/energy-environment/asia-pacific-forum-to-cut-import-duties-for-green-technologies.html?_r=1). “The diverse nature of the Pacific-Rim economies has led some APEC countries to join Washington in pushing for a new free-trade deal called the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). Marantis said trade ministers from nine nations participating in the TPP talks had met in Vladivostok and affirmed their determination to move ahead at negotiations to be hosted next week by the United States in Leesburg, Virginia.” Accessed 9 Sept. 2012.