27 Sep 2002

Pacific bureaucrat speaks out about corruption in region

4:00 pm on 27 September 2002

One of the Pacific's leading bureaucrats says corruption is wreaking havoc on the South Pacific's environment and leading to serious civil and political instability.

Alf Simpson, the director of the South Pacific Applied Geoscience Commission, told his organisation's annual meeting in Fiji that land has been unsustainably developed, forest and marine resources over-exploited.

Later he told the news agency, AFP, that matters are getting rapidly worse.

He says unsustainable development of land, forest and marine resources was underway with compensation being paid short term to local landowners.

Mr Simpson says the region has increasing poverty, unemployment, spiralling population growth and the related health problems, and yet the root causes remain un-addressed.

All of which he says provide the ingredients for instability, unrest and insecurity.

Mr Simpsons says it is distressing to see the way countries dealt with key issues.

He says the exploitation of both terrestrial and marine resources proceeded without any understanding of their sustainability.