the period under review, a number of Pacific SIDS have been affected by
adverse economic developments which have impaired their financial capacity
to implement even priority sustainable development measures.
The need for carrying out adjustment measures in the Solomon Islands,
Vanuatu, Cook Islands, Fiji, Papua New Guinea, to correct economic
imbalances arising from past fiscal excesses and the recent economic and
financial crisis in Asia have had both direct and indirect economic impacts
affecting domestic output, prices of export commodities and export earnings,
incomes from tourism and foreign investments.
Pacific SIDS generally are feeling the indirect impacts of the Asian
crisis through decelerating growth in the economies of Australia and New
Zealand to which their economies are closely interlinked.
In addition, drought conditions have appeared in several Pacific SIDS
and in several instances have not been sufficiently relieved by annual wet
seasons with the result that annual droughts have become progressively more
severe. The adverse impacts are
reflected in declines in agricultural production and exacerbation of water
shortages. The most tragic
disaster affecting SIDS was a tsunami on the north coast of Papua New
not necessarily to the same degree all Pacific SIDS share constraints in the
following areas: finance, skilled human resources for the implementation of
sustainable development measures, and sustainable development institutions
and administrative capacity. A
common hurdle faced by Pacific SIDS is the insufficiency of financial
resources relative to the enormity of the tasks to be accomplished.
As mentioned above for a number of them, the availability of domestic
financial resources has actually been reduced by adverse economic
developments and natural disasters. Many
critically needed infrastructural projects that require large investments
such as in air and maritime transport, adaptation to sea-level rise,
recycling and sound disposal of wastes,
tourism infrastructure, road and telecommunication infrastructure lie beyond
the resources of most Pacific SIDS. While most SIDS have actively
participated in international and regional deliberations on sustainable
development and have committed themselves to international and regional
legal instruments and undertaken regional initiatives and arrangements, lack
of resources has seriously undermined their ability to live up to their
commitments. Participation in
international and regional arrangements allows them to pursue mutually
complementary objectives in a holistic manner and to benefit from the
synergy generated, but it also burdens them with a multitude of obligations
which further stretch their limited resources, both human and financial.
Many SIDS simply do not have the financial means to meet their
international obligations without adequate financial and technical support
from the international community.
effectively with environmental problems calls for adequate human resources,
both in size and level of technical sophistication.
Clearly most SIDS are constrained by small population size and
therefore small man-power. In
spite of efforts, in many instances with external assistance, opportunities
for higher education for sustainable development including for training in
requisite specialized skills are sorely inadequate in most SIDS although the
foundation for developing such skills, in terms of basic education exists in
most although not all of them. Sustainable
development calls for training in a large number of technical skills and
cannot be effectively pursued with the help of manpower that is merely
literate at a basic level. For
instance, problems of water supply both in terms of quantity and quality,
environmentally sound management of solid and liquid wastes, adaptation to
climate change and sealevel rise, integrated management of coastal zones,
prevention or minimization of natural and environmental disasters among
others, all call for specific skills without which SIDS with the highest
level of political will cannot hope to solve.
In recognition of the difficulty of building adequate levels of
skills at the national level, Pacific SIDS have established an array of
regional institutions by pooling their resources.
addition to finance and human resources, SIDS are constrained by the
inadequacy of institutional infrastructure and administrative capacity,
which is in effect a reflection of constraints posed by both finance and
human resources. Effective
implementation of the Programme of Action calls for adequate institutions
and administrative capacity to design, implement and oversee the
implementation of national strategies and policies, and action plans, and to
enforce environmental legislation and regulations.
Many Pacific SIDS are too small and simply do not have the manpower
needed to develop a critical mass of technically qualified staff to man even
the most critically needed institutions.
Due to size in some, and generally due to the imperatives of sound
taxation and budgetary policies it is difficult to establish and fund the
government structures and associated institutions essential for effective
resource management, except over the long haul.
At the national level efforts have begun to be made to set up
institutions such as ministries, development councils, environment units,
but these are as yet rudimentary and need time to build up specialized
manpower proportionate to their tasks.
They also need adequate budgets to function effectively, which at
present is not the case.
SIDS lack proper institutional and administrative capacity not only to meet
the demands of natural resource management but also to handle specialized
demands emanating from obligations of international conventions and
agreements such as UNFCCC, CBD, UNCLOS and the Agreement for the
Implementation of the Provisions of the Convention relating to the
Conservation and Management of Straddling Fish Stocks and Highly Migratory
Fish Stocks, the FAO Code of
Conduct for Responsible Fisheries, and the International Coral Reef
Initiative, and to handle negotiations of international treaties and
agreements effectively. An
example of a major programme area that is seriously affected by inadequate
institutional capacity is coastal and marine resources.
Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICAM) has not yet been
successfully implemented because the system requires a minimum number of
qualified individuals and appropriate institutions.
some SIDS sectoral management institutions for particular sectors, such as
waste management have been established.
That is a step in the right direction, but such institutions need to
be nurtured and provided with adequate
resources to achieve their goals. Institutions
for training in appropriate specialized skills which are absolutely
necessary to man national institutions for sustainable development have yet
to be established in most SIDS. In
the very small SIDS, it may not be realistic to aim for the establishment of
several specialized sectoral resource management and training institutions.
These countries would probably need to develop effective multi-sectoral
institutions manned by staff trained overseas.