PACIFIC ISLANDS APPROVE ‘MAURITIUS STRATEGY’

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WELLINGTON, New Zealand (RNZI, Jan. 14) – Pacific Island nations have approved a revised declaration on how to tackle crucial issues facing all small island developing states.

Small island states have agreed on the text of what’s being called the Mauritius Strategy, after a United Nations summit there.

The group of 37 island states say they will intensify efforts, to work together, in lobbying the World Trade Organization.

The deputy prime minister of Vanuatu, Sato Kilman, told the summit that his country shares the problems of globalization.

"The principal challenge facing Vanuatu is its low capacity to integrate into the global economy, because irrespective of national sovereignty or preferences, globalization dictates, and national economies are compelled to adjust accordingly."

Mr Kilman also says small states such as Vanuatu need to tackle the growing level of urbanization, which he says results in rising unemployment and crime.

Pacific Island countries are hoping a United Nations summit will persuade the international community to reinstate trade preferences to protect their economies.

The phase-out of trade quotas has compounded the problems of isolation and limited resources faced by many undiversified island economies.

In the Mauritius Strategy, islands are being asked to take a bigger role in their own development, whilst donors have promised to provide technical assistance and recognize island vulnerability to disaster and trade globalization.

The secretary-general of the meeting, Anwarul Chowdhury, says if they unite, the islands can use the strategy to push their aims at the World Trade Organization.

The strategy urges all international bodies, including financial institutions, to pay attention to island needs, but is not specific and doesn’t mention a timeframe.

January 17, 2005

Radio New Zealand International: www.rnzi.com

 

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