26 Nov 2007

UN report labels Pacific countries as most vulnerable to soaring oil prices

6:08 am on 26 November 2007

A United Nations report says Pacific Countries are amongst the most vulnerable in the Asia-Pacific region to soaring oil prices.

It says because of this, the poor are being pushed further into poverty.

The report developed the Oil Price Vulnerability Index, which ranks countries in terms of their economic strength and performance, and the extent to which this growth depends upon imported oil.

The United Nation's Development Programme's, Thomas Lynge Jensen, says out of the seven most vulnerable in the Asia-Pacific region, four are Pacific countries.

"Specifically Vanuatu, Solomon Islands, Samoa and Fiji. This vulnerability is because of the Pacific Islands countries dependency on petroleum products for transportation and electricity production, and they have the added burden of higher oil shipping costs because they have to be shipped all the way out to here."

The UNDP's Thomas Lynge Jensen, says a number of recommendations were made in the report for Pacific countries to consider.

Papua New Guinea, mainly because it is an oil producer is ranked a medium vulnerable country.

However, the report could not consider the smaller atoll countries of the Pacific due to data constraints