TABLE TENNIS: Situated in the Pacific Ocean, the International Cultural Centre in the Marshall Islands, a newly built and very modern conference centre, that can be also used to host sporting events, was the venue for an ITTF Development visit undertaken by Andrew Hubbard, the Oceania Development Officer, from 1st to 14th September 2008.Arrangements for the visit were made by Terry Sasser, the Secretary-General of the Marshall Islands National Olympic Committee; a person who gives a great deal of support to table tennis. “This visit had been planned since March and the amount of planning and organization by both the Marshall Islands Table Tennis Federation and the National Olympic Committee contributed hugely to the success of the programme”, said Andrew Hubbard. “The focus during the visit was on qualifying coaches and umpires, who will then go back into communities to coach and officiate so that in the future the Marshall Islands will have a core group of qualified coaches and umpires.”
GENDER: Twenty four non government organizations (NGOs), from 12 Pacific Island Countries, working in the areas of gender, HIV, and disability will participate in a four day training in Nadi from Monday September 22.Organised by the United Nations Development Programme's (UNDP) Pacific Centre, the Pacific Regional NGO/CSO Training and Strategy Session for CSW 53 will introduce the participants from Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga and Vanuatu to what the CSW is all about, how Pacific NGOs can engage in the CSW process both in New York, and at home, and will also include discussions to identify Pacific NGO priorities for CSW 53.
BUSINESS: A new business networking site, Island Business Link (www.islandbusinesslink.com), launched this summer and is leveraging this growth for entrepreneurs and business owners in the Pacific.According to www.internetworldstats.com, Internet penetration into the Pacific Islands and Oceania is growing in lockstep with social networking sites. According to internetworldstats.com from 2000 to 2008 the Marshall Islands' Internet use increased 340 percent, Micronesia's Internet use increased 700 percent, and Guam's Internet use increased 1,200 percent. In fact, the 34 million people living in the Pacific Islands and Oceania, which includes major trading partners Australia and New Zealand, now have a higher internet penetration than the total world average. According to www.comsScore.com, social networking usage in the Asia Pacific Region is up 23 percent for the year ending June 2008.