Stories written by Catherine Wilson

Vanuatu Puts Indigenous Rights First in Land Reform

Stemming widespread corruption in the leasing of customary land to investors is the aim of bold land reform, introduced this year in the Southwest Pacific Island state of Vanuatu, which puts the rights of traditional landowners above the discretionary powers of politicians.

Youth Employment Critical to Sustainable Development in Pacific Islands

The size of the youth population in the Pacific Islands is double the global average with 54 percent aged below 24 years, creating enormous challenges for slow-growing small island economies unable to create jobs fast enough.

‘Youth Exodus’ Reveals Lack of Opportunities

The small South Pacific island state of Samoa, located northeast of Fiji, attracts tourists with its beaches, natural beauty and relaxed pace of life, but similar to other small nations with constrained economies, it is experiencing an exodus of young people, who are unable to find jobs.

Organic Farmers Cultivate Rural Success in Samoa

Rural farming families in Samoa, a small island developing state in the central South Pacific Ocean, are reaping the rewards of supplying produce to the international organic market with the help of a local women’s business organisation.

Struggling to Find Water in the Vast Pacific

Pacific Island states are surrounded by the largest ocean in the world, but inadequate fresh water sources, poor infrastructure and climate change are leaving some communities without enough water to meet basic needs.

Gender Equality Gains Traction with Pacific Island Leaders

A pledge by political leaders two years ago to accelerate efforts toward closing the gender gap in the Pacific Islands has been boosted with the announcement that three women will take the helm of the regional intergovernmental organisation, the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, headquartered in Suva, Fiji.

Youth Suicides Sound Alarm Across the Pacific

Suicide rates in the Pacific Islands are some of the highest in the world and have reached up to 30 per 100,000 in countries such as Samoa, Guam and Micronesia, double the global average, with youth rates even higher.

Outlawing Polygamy to Combat Gender Inequalities, Domestic Violence in Papua New Guinea

New legislation recently passed in the southwest Pacific Island state of Papua New Guinea (PNG) outlawing polygamy has been welcomed by experts in the country as an initial step forward in the battle against high rates of domestic violence, gender inequality and the spread of AIDS.

Putting Population Management in Pacific Women’s Hands

Populations of many Melanesian countries in the southwest Pacific Islands region are expected to double in a generation, threatening regional and national efforts to improve low economic and human development indicators.

The Slum Dwellers of the Pacific

While the United Nations claims to have met the Millennium Development Goal target of improving the lives of 100 million slum dwellers well ahead of the 2020 deadline, the fact remains that millions around the world continue to live in informal, overcrowded and unsanitary housing conditions.

Pacific Disability Theatre Group Inspires and Educates

In the Pacific Island state of Vanuatu, 23 actors with disabilities, from youth to senior citizens, who have battled physical and social barriers all their lives, are now empowering themselves and others through socially engaged theatre.

Housing Crisis Worsens Urban Inequality in Pacific Islands

Rapid migration to cities and towns, driven by scarce public services and jobs in rural areas, is producing a profound social shift in Pacific Island countries, where agrarian life has dominated for generations. But the urban dream remains elusive as a severe lack of housing forces many into sprawling, poorly-serviced informal settlements.

Quest for Self-Determination Continues in New Caledonia

Since the French overseas territory of New Caledonia in the South Pacific was reinstated on the United Nations Decolonisation List in 1986, the indigenous Kanak people have struggled not only against socio-economic disadvantages, but also for the right to determine their political future after more than a century of colonialism.

Micronesia Climate Law Seeks to Inspire Global Action

The Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), a western Pacific Island state located north of Papua New Guinea and east of Palau, has become a regional pioneer in drafting national legislation centred on climate change.

Fiji Leads Pacific Region on Climate Adaptation Efforts

Still a long way off in many parts of the world, climate displacement is already a reality in the Pacific Islands, where rising seas are contaminating fresh water and agricultural land, and rendering some coastal areas uninhabitable.

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