News Release

Pacific Conference on The Human Face of the Global Economic Crisis Suva, Fiji Dec. 8, 2009

How does a woman in Kiribati cope with the impact of the current global economic crisis? What can governments do to protect their education and health systems in times of financial decline? What is green growth and what role does it have in the Pacific? These questions and many others will be answered at the Pacific Conference on the Human face of the Global Economic Crisis.

Discussions amongst key stakeholders including Pacific governments, development partners, Council of Regional Organisations in the Pacific (CROP) agencies and the media around these issues have been ongoing since 2008, when the world witnessed one of the most severe economic crises since the Great Depression. Today, a new website to enhance knowledge sharing on these issues in the lead-up to the Pacific Conference was launched in Suva.

The conference, which is organized by the Government of Vanuatu and the United Nations, with support from regional partner agencies, will take place in Port Vila from February 10-12, 2010.

In launching the website,, Dr Will Parks, UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Pacific’s Chief of Policy, Advocacy, Planning and Evaluation (PAPE), said that behind every official statistic on the impact of the crisis in the Pacific is a family facing hardship. "This website is about putting a human face to the challenges faced by the Pacific and sharing the latest knowledge about how best societies and governments can cope now and prepare for the future," said Dr. Parks.

"It is still uncertain how Pacific Island economies will fair in 2010. It may well be that the full brunt of the global economic crisis has yet to be felt here. With the conference as one event among many initiatives, Pacific Island governments, the United Nations and development partners are working together to exploit this small window of opportunity to put together more thoughtful and effective policies that not only buffer the effects of the current crisis but also build resilience for future crises," Dr. Parks added.

The conference will focus on three broad themes. The first is to address the hardships faced by women, children, and other vulnerable groups. The second is to find ways to enable Pacific governments to respond in creative and sustainable ways to the crisis. This includes promoting green growth and social safety nets. The final theme is to build the region’s resilience in addressing future crises.

The website, is a resource for the Pacific governments, development partners, the media, civil society organizations as well as other stakeholders. It provides the conference agenda and documents and resources for the media and a link to The Human Face page on Facebook, created to better engage the youth in the discussion around the global economic crisis in the Pacific.

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