13 Sep 2005

New Zealand called on to do more to rid Pacific of poverty

7:44 pm on 13 September 2005

New Zealand's Council for International Development says many Pacific countries are facing increasing poverty and New Zealand, as a Pacific country, must act.

The United Nations 2005 Human Development Report shows some Pacific countries slipping further down the scale.

It says parts of Melanesia are facing poverty levels approaching those of the world's poorest countries, such as in sub-Saharan Africa.

The UN report ranks countries on the basis of life expectancy, education and income.

In the Pacific, Papua New Guinea has dropped to 137th place (out of 177 countries) from 133rd last year while Fiji has dropped from 81st last year to 92nd this year.

Meanwhile, CID says another new report shows that poverty levels also remain high in Vanuatu and Solomon Islands.

The Commonwealth Foundation report looks at progress towards the Millennium Development Goals from the perspective of civil society organisations.

It says many countries in the Pacific are no where near being able to reach these internationally-agreed targets which are aimed at significantly reducing global poverty by 2015.

The targets include halving the number of people living on less than US$1 a day and giving every child a primary-level education.

CID's Executive Director, Rae Julian, says it's particularly concerning that parts of the Pacific are slipping backwards in terms of human development.

She says New Zealand needs to do something about this.