Journal article

The Pacific Islands: new priorities for a new development era

Economic development Sustainable development Foreign aid Pacific Area

The Pacific Island Countries (PICs) face the most daunting development challenge in the world: they are extraordinarily isolated, very small, and saddled with fragmented markets, inadequate infrastructure, fragile ecosystems, and exceptionally high vulnerability to climate change. While political crises, civil strife and violence have been narrowly contained, the PICs face severe human security problems that threaten future political stability in the region: ‘youth bulges’, limited employment opportunities, inadequate natural resource management, rising inequality and pervasive gender inequities. Economic and social performance has been disappointing and dependency on aid and migration remains extraordinarily high. Access to clean water, sanitation, health, and education services is still limited and much remains to be done to tap productive employment opportunities in mining, agriculture, fisheries, and tourism. Bold and coherent development programmes should be forged to make satisfactory progress towards the post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals. All PICs have framed their own distinctive strategies within this framework. Looking ahead, various development cooperation models have been proposed to help the PICs achieve their vision, e.g. by Hugues (Washington Consensus), Bertram/Watters (MIRAB), McElroy (SITE) or Baldacchino (PROFIT). This article proposes an alternative model that respects the PICs’ own priorities and places special emphasis on transformational development policy directions: Community Resilience, Enterprise Development, and Information Technology (CREDIT).

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