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Social Policies in Solomon Islands and Vanuatu

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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 – SOLOMON ISLANDS AND VANUATU



Solomon Islands and Vanuatu are two small states that have struggled to develop successful social policies since gaining independence. This final study in the series traces the history of social development in both countries, examining closely the factors that have hindered progress: the colonial legacy, poor economic development, high population growth, political instability, the lack of social cohesion, mismanagement of resources and natural disasters. The authors argue that for progress to continue both countries need to move away from a reliance on their traditional social structures and focus on political stability and economic growth.

English

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Foreword and about the authors

During the 1960s and 1970s, increased interest was shown by international organisations such as the United Nations and the Commonwealth Secretariat in small states, and especially in small island developing states (SIDS), and the development challenges they faced during the decolonisation period. With over a third of Commonwealth member countries classified as small economies, the Secretariat is committed to the study of small states. The issue of their vulnerability, for example, was first given formal expression within the Commonwealth at the 1977 Finance Ministers Meeting in Barbados. Having noted the special characteristics of small states – in particular their reliance on trade, high dependence on capital inflows and, in some cases, lack of natural resources – ministers urged the international community to show a more flexible approach to their requirements and adopt special measures to assist them. In response, the Secretariat designed a programme to assist in overcoming ‘the disadvantages of small size, isolation and scarce resources, which severely limit the capacity of such countries to achieve their development objectives or to pursue their national interests in a wider international context’.

English

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