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Social Policies in Samoa

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SOCIAL POLICIES IN SMALL STATES SERIES



The country case studies and thematic papers in this series examine social policy issues facing small states and the implications for economic development. They show how, despite their inherent vulnerability, some small states have been successful in improving their social indicators because of the complementary social and economic policies they have implemented.



CASE STUDY – SAMOA



Samoa is widely known as a role model in the Pacific region for its economic and social achievements since gaining independence in 1962. This indepth study traces the history of government policy and examines the fundamentals underpinning the country’s social development progress: the welfare state; social cohesion; participative democracy and the power of jurisdiction. It also examines how the fa’a Samoa, the Samoan culture, and securing external assistance enabled the country to build resilience in the face of a number of crises in the 1990s – including two cyclones and a taro blight.

English

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Foreword

During the 1960s and 1970s, increased interest was shown by international organisations such as the United Nations and the Commonwealth Secretariat in small states, and especially in small island developing states (SIDS), and the development challenges they faced during the decolonisation period. With over a third of Commonwealth member countries classified as small economies, the Secretariat is committed to the study of small states. The issue of their vulnerability, for example, was first given formal expression within the Commonwealth at the 1977 Commonwealth Finance Ministers Meeting in Barbados. Having noted the special characteristics of small states – in particular their reliance on trade, high dependence on capital inflows and, in some cases, lack of natural resources – ministers urged the international community to adopt a more flexible approach to their requirements and special measures to assist them. In response, the Secretariat designed a programme to assist in overcoming ‘the disadvantages of small size, isolation and scarce resources, which severely limit the capacity of such countries to achieve their development objectives or to pursue their national interests in a wider international context’.

English

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