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Social Policies in Samoa

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SOCIAL POLICIES IN SMALL STATES SERIES



The country case studies and thematic papers in this series examine social policy issues facing small states and the implications for economic development. They show how, despite their inherent vulnerability, some small states have been successful in improving their social indicators because of the complementary social and economic policies they have implemented.



CASE STUDY – SAMOA



Samoa is widely known as a role model in the Pacific region for its economic and social achievements since gaining independence in 1962. This indepth study traces the history of government policy and examines the fundamentals underpinning the country’s social development progress: the welfare state; social cohesion; participative democracy and the power of jurisdiction. It also examines how the fa’a Samoa, the Samoan culture, and securing external assistance enabled the country to build resilience in the face of a number of crises in the 1990s – including two cyclones and a taro blight.

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Conclusion

More than four decades after gaining independence Samoa is fortunate to be in a socially satisfactory position. While the country still has a long way to go, it at least managed to secure a high international ranking, compared to some of its neighbouring island countries, in the post-independence period and following several national crises in the first half of the 1990s. It is evident from the previous discussion that the welfare state and social cohesion were the instrumental forces that contributed significantly to building resilience following the crises.

English

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