A Sustainable Future for Small States

A Sustainable Future for Small States

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Resina Katafono
01 Sep 2017
9781848599574 (PDF)

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A Sustainable Future for Small States: Pacific 2050 is part of the Commonwealth Secretariat’s regional strategic foresight programme that examines whether current development strategies set a region on a path to achieve sustainable development by 2050.

The study analyses whether Commonwealth Pacific small states (Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu) will achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. It reviews critical areas that can serve as a catalyst for change in the region: governance (examining political governance, development effectiveness and co-ordination, and ocean governance); non-communicable diseases; information and communications technology and climate change (focussing on migration and climate change, and energy issues).

In each of these areas, possible trajectories to 2050 are explored, gaps in the current policy responses are identified, and recommendations are offered to steer the regiontowards the Pacific Vision of ‘a region of peace, harmony, security, social inclusion, and prosperity, so that all Pacific people can lead free, healthy, and productive lives’.

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  • Foreword
  • Acknowledgments
  • Acronyms and abbreviations
  • Contributors
  • Realising the Pacific Vision by 2050: Building on the Basics

    In 2004 (PIFS, 2005), Pacific leaders set a vision for the region that was reiterated ten years later through the Framework for Pacific Regionalism (PIFS, 2014): Our Pacific Vision is for a region of peace, harmony, security, social inclusion, and prosperity, so that all Pacific people can lead free, healthy, and productive lives.

  • The Commonwealth Pacific Small States: The Future in the Mirror of the Past

    As a result of their unique vulnerabilities, the Commonwealth Pacific small states (Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Papua New Guinea (PNG), Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu) faced wide-ranging economic, social, environmental and political challenges that impeded their achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). There were eight MDGs, of which developing countries were required to achieve the first seven goals, while developed countries were expected to support these efforts through a global partnership for development (MDG 8).

  • Political Governance and the Quest for Human Development

    Building effective state institutions and promoting national unity were among Pacific Island Forum Leaders’ top priorities in the post-independence decades of the second half of the twentieth century. The twenty-first century, however, is presenting the challenges of a more globalised world: climate change is foremost among these, as well as the influences of global finance, global commerce and telecommunications, new geo-strategic alignments, and the rising expectations of ever-more educated, youthful and informed populations.

  • Development Effectiveness and Co-ordination: Partnerships on Pacific Terms

    The majority of the Commonwealth Pacific small states (Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu) are anticipated to continue to rely on the support of a range of development partners in the foreseeable future. For countries like Tuvalu, Kiribati and Nauru, most of their development effort is funded with external support, and with limited prospects for generating significant new local revenue it is envisaged that this situation will remain much the same in 2050. However, all nine Commonwealth Pacific small states’ governments and their development partners recognise the importance of ensuring that the receipt of aid does not in any way reduce efforts to maximise the mobilisation and effective use of domestic resources.

  • Ocean Governance: Our Sea of Islands

    The Pacific island countries and territories (PICTs) are large ocean states with jurisdiction over 28 million square kilometres of ocean in their Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs) or 8 per cent of the global ocean. This also covers 20 per cent of the global EEZs and 25 per cent of the world’s coral reefs (Burke et al. 2011). These figures contrast markedly with the small combined land mass of only half a million square kilometres. The nine Commonwealth Pacific small states (Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu)4 have the lion’s share of land resources (95%), coastline (72%), area accessible to inshore fisheries (70%) and coral reefs (60%) but only 40 per cent of the region’s EEZ. The major share of the EEZ is fairly evenly distributed between non-Commonwealth countries and dependent territories.

  • Non-communicable Diseases: Unlocking the Constraints to Effective Implementation of Policy Interventions

    The nine Commonwealth Pacific small states (Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu) face a double disease burden. All have continuing prevalence of communicable diseases with ongoing high levels of susceptibility to potential epidemic diseases outbreaks. In addition, they all face the rapidly increasing health and socio-economic challenges posed by non-communicable diseases (NCDs), mainly cardiovascular diseases including stroke, diabetes, cancer and chronic respiratory diseases (GBD 2013).

  • Connectivity and Information and Communications Technology

    In the last few decades, information and communications technology (ICT) has transformed business management, government operations and indeed social interactions and the lifestyles of individuals. Wave after wave of ICT innovations have spread to every corner of the planet. The level of diffusion and adoption of ICT has, however, varied from country to country depending on the existence of an enabling environment and resources in place to nurture and accelerate the ICT transformation. While the last decades of the previous millennium saw the diffusion and growth of ICTs in developed countries, the opening decades of the present millennium are witnessing exponential ICT penetration rates in the developing countries of Asia, the Pacific, Africa and Latin America.

  • Migration and Climate Change: Towards a Secure Future

    Migration has had a long history in the Pacific, with Pacific islanders sometimes regarded as particularly mobile people (Hau’ofa 1994). In the last half-century, there has been both accelerated international migration and rural-urban migration, with declining populations in national peripheries and growing high-density urban concentrations. These trends have accompanied slow economic growth in the Pacific, the inability to create adequate numbers of jobs in the formal sector, steady population growth and rising expectations of what constitute adequate lives and livelihoods. While migration has long been primarily an economic phenomenon, social, political and environmental factors are also significant, and climate change will intensify future pressures for migration.

  • Strengthening Communities and Economies through Sustainable Energy

    Energy underpins the growth of every sector of a nation’s economy. It is used, inter alia, for lighting, cooking, heating, cooling, pumping water, irrigating crops, preserving food and medicine, and transport. It is therefore a key resource in improving human development, food security, and alleviating poverty, emphasised in the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development through Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 7 that aims to ‘ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all’. SDG 7 is closely related to SDG 9 (build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialisation and foster innovation) and SDG 13 (take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts). Meeting the energy goal is central to the achievement of most SDGs as energy is an input to most human endeavours.

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