10 Aug 2005

Pacific development challenges unique, says Samoan minister

2:09 pm on 10 August 2005

A ministerial meeting considering progress towards the Millennium Development Goals in Asia and the Pacific has acknowledged the special characteristics of Pacific Island countries, saying they incur significant transaction costs that hinder prospects for achieving the goals.

In 2000, world leaders set goals for the reduction of poverty, achieving universal primary education, empowering women, reducing child deaths, improving maternal health, fighting HIV/AIDS, protecting the environment and building a partnership for development.

The Jakarta Declaration, which outlines the recommendations made by the ministers, has also asked the UNDP to assist governments in finding out how to achieve the targets.

The Samoan deputy prime minister, Misa Telefoni, has told the meeting that Pacific Island countries are a unique group deserving special and different treatment.

He says they face unique difficulties because of small populations, remoteness and disperse locations, narrow resource endowment and vulnerability to external shocks, including from international market fluctuations and natural disasters.