6 Aug 2005

Five poorest Pacific Island states make progress towards UN goals

8:17 am on 6 August 2005

A United Nations conference on reducing hunger and poverty has heard of progress made by Kiribati, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.

The meeting in Jakarta this week assessed progress made towards the Millennium Development Goals, of halving extreme poverty and hunger by 2015.

The Pacific Island states which are also classified as Least Developed Countries, were examined.

The conference heard that Vanuatu appears to be on track for having all children enrolled in primary school by 2015.

Samoa, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu are on track to reduce rates of mortality amongst children under five years old by two-thirds by 2015.

Kiribati and Tuvalu are on track to improve access to safe water.

However there's a setback in the Solomons and Vanuatu owing to increased incidence of malaria.

And progress is lagging in all five Pacific Island states on poverty reduction, malnutrition, literacy and maternal mortality.

Delegates heard the Pacific Island countries face unique challenges, but they're also part of the dynamic Asia-Pacific economic region, and some states hope to benefit further through membership of the World Trade Organisation.