fast forward . twenty fifteen
DRAFT news paradigm for pima
Overview of proposed long term programmes under an expanded Pacific Islands Media Association, focused on emerging opportunities in foreign assistance.
2015 is target date for tripling of foreign aid spending by Australia and New Zealand.
PIMA can facilitate this if a news paradigm is adopted towards ongoing assessment, research and evaluation.
by jason brown, acting secretary, pima
After six years of solid if relatively low key activity, PIMA, the Pacific Islands Media Association faces issues familiar to many non-governmental organisations.
Low membership. Almost zero funds. Absence of capacity at secretariat level. Serious time constraints among voluntary executives and members. Industry sector fragmentation.
Answers to those challenges may lie in partnering with homeland Pacific Islands ahead of OECD aid targets signed by New Zealand and Australia.
Accepted or conventional wisdom is that PIMA exists in a highly competitive civic sector.
What little funding has been accessed is seen as part of a generally difficult environment for NGO capacity building.
Currently, there are few if any sources of major funding seen as being accessible, easily or otherwise.
fast forward to 2015 (draft)
By 2015, PIMA co-manages multimillion programmes in the island region, partnering with homelands; breaking ground across all sectors of the media industry – news, music, and arts generally.
Journalists use their own regional body to regain independence of information flows.
Reinvigorated public broadcasters build training hubs for ethics-based ITT, information transformation techniques, leading to an explosion of e-commerce creativity in Aotearoa and across the island region.
from here … to there (draft)
As it currently stands, PIMA lacks anything near enough technical capacity to manage multimillion programmes and projects.
What PIMA can do, however, is work towards a role where we facilitate funding towards projects that, properly resourced, form part of long term programmes.
In other words, PIMA provides policy and funding – other people, businesses, NGOs, and so forth provide the technical expertise and detail.
next step (draft)
There is a natural – and healthy – caution when it comes to think-big projects. But there are signs that New Zealand, for one, is being overly cautious – it is one of just six countries without even a schedule for meeting 2015 targets towards 0.7% of gross domestic product being spent on official development assistance.
The next step for PIMA executives is to decide whether or not this kind of proposal merits further debate.
Caution is wise, but New Zealand and Australia will triple their aid budgets, existing groups seize opportunities, and new groups created to fill gaps not being plugged.
Executive members of PIMA may agree with elements of this proposal and decide there is some merit to looking further into suggestions here.
If so, then a second step would be for members to begin outlining, through executive meetings, email, online wiki and other forums, what areas and activities PIMA could get involved in regionally – an industry wish list.
A third step would be for PIMA to formally seek funding for the executive to conduct a scoping exercise of media futures here and around the region, and how PIMA might continue enhancing the media and arts industry.
Millions of aid dollars are already piling up across the region due to a lack of "technical capacity."
“The biggest challenge is having the systems and human resources required for effective financial oversight. To some extent there appears to be a tension or conflict between fiscal responsibility and control and performance management in relation to functions,” states NZAID, in a peer review of aid processes last year.
In 2005, there was close to $10 million unspent across Pacific Islands.
Ten million dollars is a lot of money for small island communities to miss out on due to a lack of “effective” financial oversight.
As the 2015 deadline looms closer, an option may be for Australia and New Zealand to ‘spend’ aid dollars safely by depositing funds into third party accounts, any pay-out depending on aid recipients putting proper finance protocols into place.
This is where organisations like PIMA can step in – by providing access to emerging technologies like RSS and email-2-web auto-publishing tools of total transparency as an interim and radical new method of finance monitoring.
An immediate past president, John Utanga, for example, might remain sufficiently enthused by PIMA to make a donation, straight into our bank account.
His donation triggers an email from our bank account, automatically publishing as a webpage, all within seconds of the deposit being made.
Technology for such transparency already exists and is in use by one agency - imagine if PIMA took a leadership role in promoting such transparencies among media, arts and community groups?
aid targets (draft)
That’s one example of a project. Again, how do we get from here to there? Not by waiting for government. Ahead of its biggest ever expansion of aid spending, NZAID’s strategic plan for 2005 to 2010 is just five pages long – two if you take away opening index and title pages.
As indicated, New Zealand must triple its aid spend within the next seven years, Australia required to cough up similar amounts. It bears repeating that this represents an increase from roughly one billion to three billion dollars.
First steps outlined above refer to process – perhaps the most difficult part will be in making enough room in our minds for potential outcomes.
weakness as strength (draft)
There has been some frustration expressed by former executives at the difficulties of applying volunteer paradigms to a nascent industry like ours.
In one respect, however, this weakness is also a strength – former PIMA executives have done the hard yards, stayed on track and on message for more than half a decade – no small feat – and this provides donors and other ‘stakeholders’ compelling evidence of commitment.
Now is the time to capitalise on those solid foundations and welcome partnerships between ourselves, home island organisations and donor communities.
A mantra coined for 2008 by new PIMA president Aaron Taouma was “think big, act small and fill out forms” – here is a draft framework.
- Supporting development of industry capacity
- Anticipating trends towards greater regionalism
- Advocating media centrality in foreign assistance
- Facilitating aid targets set for 2015