A New Zealand academic is urging Pacific leaders to use the upcoming Small Island Developing States Conference in Samoa as an opportunity to address blatant inequalities in the region.
3,000 people, including 20 government leaders, are expected to attend the conference.
The director of Auckland University's development studies programme, Yvonne Underhill-Sem, says leaders need to take a stand on social issues, such as gender inequality.
"It is very hard to draw attention to things that we are not really happy about or may even be ashamed about but our leaders need to be a bit braver. These social inequalities won't go away by just ignoring them and we need to redirect resources into those areas."
The director of Auckland University's development studies programme, Yvonne Underhill-Sem.