A United Nations Human Development Report has named four Pacific Island countries where living standards fell in the decade between 1990 and 2001.
They are Solomon islands, Vanuatu, Marshall Islands and the Federated States of Micronesia which are listed among more than 50 countries which suffered declining living standards in the 1990s.
Most of the others are in sub-Saharan Africa and the new Central Asian republics formed by the collapse of the former Soviet Union.
The United Nations report says overall human development as measured by life expectancy, literacy and income fell in many more countries in the 1990s than in the 1980s.
The report says for many the 1990s were a decade of despair, hunger, child deaths and shrinking primary education.
It has called for urgent action to reduce the number of people living on less than one US dollar a day, a two-thirds drop in mortality rates of children under five and a halving of those without access to safe drinking water by 2015