Pacific launch of the 2006 Human Development Report Beyond Scarcity: Power, poverty and the global water crisis

14 Nov 2006

(Suva, Fiji) - The UN Assistant Secretary-General and UNDP Assistant Administrator and Director of the Regional Bureau for Asia and the Pacific, Dr Hafiz Pasha who is in the country for a series of UNDP meetings, officially launch the 2006 Human Development Report in the Pacific.

Dr Pasha said that a keen part of the HDR that is closely followed by countries is the annual Human Development Index (HDI).

He added that the HDR only showed data of six countries because these were the only countries with data collected by their governments.

"The index is one way for countries to see how they are progressing and in particular how they compare with other countries in the world of a similar size and stage, of development," he said.

He is pleased to report that for the first time, three Pacific countries have been covered in the report. These are Tonga, Vanuatu and the Solomon Islands.

The Kingdom of Tonga is the only Pacific island country listed in the High Human Development category and is ranked number 55 out of 177 countries shown in the report.

Fiji and Samoa are classed as in the Middle Ranked Development of 90 and 75. Fiji has improved to 90 from the 92 ranking it held in last year’s report. Dr Pasha said that Papua New Guinea that ranked 139 was the country with the most concern as it had shown significant decline over the past four years. Vanuatu is ranked 119 while the Solomon Islands are 128.

The theme of this year's HDR Beyond scarcity: power, poverty and the global water crisis is very relevant for the Pacific.

The UNDP Resident Representative in Fiji, Richard Dictus said that the Pacific is no stranger to water problems.

"Low lying atolls often find their water beds spoilt by sea water through rising sea levels, while Fiji has its share of water disruptions," he said.

The HDR is a product of collective effort commissioned by UNDP and has been focusing on highly topical issues in the current development debate, providing path-breaking analysis and policy recommendations since 1990.

The report which was formally launched on 9 November in Cape Town, has the potential to reach national governments in over 177 countries.