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SUVA, Fiji Islands (August 14, 2002 – Daily Post)---Fiji has the resources to match its increasing population, Secretariat of the Pacific Community demographer Dr. Chris McMurray says.

Dr. McMurray, who will present a paper on population and resource balance in the Pacific to the delegates of the 33rd Pacific Islands Forum, said Fiji had to work on getting its fertility rate lower.

"Fertility rate is closely linked to resource allocation and the living standard of people," she said.

"The more people we have, the more resources we use but if we plan carefully and think of things in terms of the long-run, we will maintain much-needed resources for ourselves as well as our future generation."

She said one of the reasons for mismanagement of resources was rural to urban drift and while in towns and cities, people keeping ties with their villages.

"This calls for decentralization. People living in cities and town should run affairs there and leave those in the villages to people in the village," Dr. McMurray said.

"Then there’s the problem of not enough jobs and resources in urban areas to accommodate the large number of people who move into towns and cities."

She said a solution was an emphasis on non-formal education. "This equips people with skills that they can use to generate some sort of income and stop moving in large numbers to towns and cities in search of jobs."

Traditional methods of living should be given a high priority, adding authorities should look at a multi-facet strategy when dealing with employment and job opportunities.

For additional reports from Fiji’s Daily Post, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Other News Resources/FijiLive.

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