Social Policies in Solomon Islands and Vanuatu

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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.



Some Comparative Analysis of Solomon Islands and Vanuatu Social Development Indicators and MDG Targets

This chapter discusses social development indicators in Solomon Islands and Vanuatu compared to other small states in the Pacific region.With respect to poverty (see Table 4.1), Solomon Islands 2005/2006 Household Income and Expenditure Survey showed that 22.7 per cent of its population was living below the national poverty line (Government of Solomon Islands, 2006). In Vanuatu, 40 per cent of the population had incomes below the national poverty line (Asian Development Bank, 2004). It is noticeable that in both Solomon Islands and Vanuatu poverty levels are higher in urban areas. Millennium Development Goal 1 calls for the eradication of extreme poverty and hunger.


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