THREE PACIFIC COUNTRIES FACE LOSS OF UN SUPPORT

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Vanuatu, Kiribati and Tuvalu raise alarm

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Sept. 30, 2008) – Three Pacific island countries have called on the United Nations to urgently review the criteria for classifying some nations as "Least Developed Countries" (LDC).

Early next year, three Pacific countries - Vanuatu, Kiribati, and Tuvalu - will be considered for graduation, from LDC status, a move that could see them missing out on vital development funding.

[PIR editor’s note: According to Wikipedia, Least Developed Countries are those considered by the United Nations to have the lowest levels of human and economic development. This determination is based on income (less than US$750 per capita a year), low levels of nutrition and education, and unstable economies. ]

Tuvalu’s Prime Minister Apisai Ielemia, says the small island states’ unique vulnerability doesn’t get enough recognition in that consideration.

"Our economic and environmental vulnerability cannot be ignored. The enormous threat of more severe weather events and sea level rise hangs over us like a large storm cloud. This threat hinders investment in our country, and potentially puts into question our very survival."

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