Addressing High Unemployment Focus of UN Meeting on the Pacific Islands

Historically high birth rates combined with slow economic growth has resulted in high unemployment in many Pacific Island countries--reaching as high as 60% in the worst affected countries. This has made it difficult for new entrants to the job market, with the youth and women being the hardest hit.

Underlying the importance of this issue, about 40 representatives from the Asia-Pacific region are meeting in Bangkok on 22 and 23 April to discuss promoting employment in the Pacific islands. The representatives will be attending the Special Body on Pacific Island Developing Countries of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP).

The Special Body meets every two years in the run-up to the ESCAP annual high-level Commission session, providing inputs on how ESCAP can better serve its member States in the Pacific and strengthen links between the Pacific and Asia. The 64th Commission session is taking place in Bangkok 24 – 30 April.

Participants at this year’s Special Body will discuss policies that promote economic growth, which is essential for creating jobs. These policies include developing transport infrastructure, and promoting entrepreneurship and private sector growth.

Participants will also discuss ways that the UN can help promote sustainable development in the Pacific. One area that the UN can assist with is improving the ability of national governments to develop and implement sustainable development plans, including helping to ensure that all stakeholders have a voice in these plans.

ESCAP members and associate members located in the Pacific are: Australia, Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru, New Zealand, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, the Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, American Samoa, the Cook Islands, French Polynesia, Guam, New Caledonia, Niue and Northern Mariana Islands.