23 Jun 2011

Youth focus a way of dealing with high urban drift in Melanesia

2:15 pm on 23 June 2011

A New Zealand academic researching Melanesian urbanisation says the only way governments will deal with rising city populations is by focusing on youth.

An associate professor in sociology at the universities of Auckland and Otago, David Craig, presented a seminar to ministry representatives in Solomon Islands' capital Honiara last week.

Dr Craig says urbanisation in Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea is at 20 percent, which is lower than some other Pacific countries such as Samoa, which has an offshore diaspora.

But Dr Craig says what was the total population of Solomon Islands 50 years ago has become its urban population.

"We think in the next 50 years it's by no means unreasonable to expect that that'll repeat itself and that the total national population now which is in the mid-five hundred thousands will end up living in the city in some sort of urban context."

Dr David Craig says Melanesian governments will need to focus on providing internationally-recognised training for youth.