12 Feb 2010

Pacific called on to recognise growth and social development go together

2:15 pm on 12 February 2010

Delegates at a high level United Nations conference that's drawing to a close in Vanuatu have been urged to shed a dichotomy around economic growth and social development.

The Pacific Conference on the Human Face of the Global Economic Crisis has gathered more than 200 government ministers and other officials from across the region for discussions on how to protect the most vulnerable groups from the recession's worst effects.

Annell Husband reports from Port Vila.

"Before splitting into country groups to finalise plans for dealing with the current and future economic shocks, delegates heard that the Pacific must leapfrog into the future by making better use of technology. The vice chancellor of the University of the South Pacific, Professor Rajesh Chandra told the conference the dichotomy around economic growth and social development should be replaced by focusing on inclusive growth policies and the advancement of socially disadvantaged groups, with women at the heart of any new policies. He reiterated that Pacific leaders had committed themselves, through the Pacific Plan to stronger regional co-operation and integration. On a lighter note, Professor Chandra said it's important that the region doesn't ignore the areas in which it's doing well, mentioning Fiji's recent win in the Wellington Sevens tournament and using it as an example of a Pacific forte. In closing, Professor Chandra said that the future face of his region should embody dignity, confidence, hope and happiness."