6 Eradicate extreme hunger and poverty

Where we are

Poverty in the Pacific is increasing. It is estimated that at least one third of the region‘s population live in poverty and do not have sufficient income to satisfy their basic human needs. The widely held perception that subsistence life styles, social networks, and traditional structures provide a safety net against poverty in the region is increasingly being questioned.  Pacific Island countries are becoming more and more vulnerable to fluctuations in international energy and food prices, causing serious threats to food security in the region. High and persistent unemployment, particularly among the youth population, is a common phenomenon.

In the Pacific, the definition of poverty has focused on the term hardship and poverty of opportunity. It captures the aspects of poor access to basic services that can affect both the urban poor and outer island communities. This is measured by the percentage of people living below the national set ‘basic needs poverty line’ (BNPL). It also captures the need for economic opportunities to enable families to meet the challenges of increasing monetization of Pacific societies.

Lack of employment opportunities for primary and secondary school graduates is a serious challenge for governments. It is estimated that across the region, less than one-quarter of all graduates find employment in the formal sectors of the various economies. The unemployment remains high in the Pacific region, particularly among the youth population.

Sources: 2010, 2011 and 2012 MDGs Pacific Regional Tracking Report.

UNDP's work in the Region

  • Frauline Limen took advantage of the Nauru Entrepreneurship Development Project to improve her livelihoods. Photo Credit: UNDP/Patrick Tuimaleali'ifano.

    New jobs bring hope to the people of Nauru

    More than 260 Nauruans have been able to increase their income and improve the livelihoods of their families after knocking on the doors of the Enterprisemore


    Assisting recovery by improving food security

    “We are farmers. We clear the land and plant again when heavy rain knocks down our crops and vegetables. But it is more difficult now tomore

Targets for MDG1
  1. Reduce by half the proportion of people living on less than a dollar a day
    • Proportion of population below $1 (PPP) per day
    • Poverty gap ratio
    • Share of poorest quintile in national consumption
  2. Achieve full and productive employment and decent work for all, including women and young people
    • Growth rate of GDP per person employed
    • Employment-to-population ratio
    • Proportion of employed people living below $1 (PPP) per day
    • Proportion of own-account and contributing family workers in total employment
  3. Reduce by half the proportion of people who suffer from hunger
    • Prevalence of underweight children under-five years of age
    • Proportion of population below minimum level of dietary energy consumption