Social Policies in Solomon Islands and Vanuatu

image of Social Policies in Solomon Islands and Vanuatu


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.


Solomon Islands and Vanuatu are two small states that have struggled to develop successful social policies since gaining independence. This final study in the series traces the history of social development in both countries, examining closely the factors that have hindered progress: the colonial legacy, poor economic development, high population growth, political instability, the lack of social cohesion, mismanagement of resources and natural disasters. The authors argue that for progress to continue both countries need to move away from a reliance on their traditional social structures and focus on political stability and economic growth.



Solomon Islands

Solomon Islands comprises a scattered archipelago of mountainous islands that straddles Vanuatu and Papua New Guinea, and is 1,800 km north-east of Australia. It was ‘discovered’ by the Spanish explorer A ´ lvaro de Mendan˜a in 1567. In 1893 it was declared a British protectorate and achieved independence in July 1978. Its population is predominantly Melanesian in origin with a small number of people of Polynesian, Micronesian, Chinese and European descent. As a society it is not homogeneous, with some 87 indigenous languages and 30 dialects spoken throughout the archipelago.


This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was a Success
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error