Cook Islands and Niue lead MDG Pacific Race
Mixed results for the Pacific as the deadline for delivery of the Millennium Development Goals looms.
The Cook Islands and Niue are the only Pacific Island countries on track to achieve all of the Millennium Development Goals by the end of the year.
According to UNDP Pacific, the rest of the region shows mixed results, with Papua New Guinea being the only country behind on all goals.
The MDGs will be replaced with Social Development Goals, or SDGs.
Koroi Hawkins reports.
At the start of this century UN member states agreed to improve the lives of the world's poorest and most disadvantaged by 2015. But the UNDP Pacific's MDG team leader, Ahmed Moustafa, says the eight Millennium Development Goals may not have been appropriate for the Pacific islands countries.
AHMED MOUSTAFA: We know that the MDG Agenda was kind of top down approach. Very little consultations was done, very little preparation. Hopefully we kind of avoided many of those mistakes and shortcomings with the SDG agenda. But the MDGs were too ambitious for some countries.
But the Cook Islands and Niue are already way ahead of most MDG targets and will achieve all eight by the end of the year. Despite its smaller size and population, the Cook Islands Chief of Staff within the Prime Ministers Office, Elizabeth Wright-Koteka, says the country had to work hard to achieve success.
ELIZABETH WRIGHT-KOTEKA: It's the way that we have incorporated these goals into our own national processes. Secondly I also think it's because our people aspire to achievements higher than what the MDG's require us to achieve.
On the other end of the scale is Papua New Guinea, which will not achieve a single development goal this year. An expert on the region, Associate Professer Glenn Banks from Massey University, says PNG was doomed from the start.
GLENN BANKS: Technically the MDG's work against countries that start from a very low base. It's pretty well acknowledged now that those countries that started off with low indicators are the ones that have struggled the greatest to try and reach the global millennium development goals.
Professor Banks says the country's sheer size makes its challenges unique from a development perspective.
GLENN BANKS: Remember Papua New Guinea has got a population that makes up three quarters of the entire population of the Pacific. So it's got over seven million people about. So it is a huge challenge in Pacific terms. The places like Niue for example, it is a very small population. So I don't think it's fair to compare Papua New Guinea with these other places.
But Ahmed Moustafa says focus is already shifting to the Post-2015 Agenda which he says suits Pacific Island countries.
AHMED MOUSTAFA: For instance, NCD's [Non Communicable Diseases], climate change, environment related targets are expanded. So it definitely reflects more challenges that are relevant to our region here than the MDG agenda did.
Mr Moustafa believes the world is a better place today than it was in 2000. And hopefully it will be better still in 2030.
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