Adapting to emerging challenges
Dear friends, The forthcoming Tenth Conference of the Pacific Community offers us an opportunity to celebrate the organisation’s 70th anniversary. Hosted in Nouméa by New Caledonia, this international institution has through all those years demonstrated its ability to help respond to our region’s sustainable development needs.
Evolving with the region
I am pleased to introduce the inaugural issue of Pacific Progress – Stories from the Pacific Community. As we celebrate 70 years of our contribution to regional development, it’s an opportunity to reflect on how far we’ve come over the past seven decades in providing scientific and technical support to our Pacific Island members.
Protecting our oceans and marine resources
A plate of sashimi that sells for USD 300 in a high-end restaurant in Japan can mean families and entire communities in remote Pacific Island nations thousands of miles away are able to put food on the table. It can also translate to better infrastructure, better schools for our children, and better health facilities for our people.
Food and Nutrional Security
For over two decades, The Pacific Community (SPC) has contributed to maintaining food security in the region through our Centre for Pacific Crops and Trees (CePaCT). CePaCT houses over 2000 varieties of the Pacific’s main staples – banana, breadfruit, cassava, swamp taro, taro and yams. It holds the largest taro collection in the world.
Increasing taxes for healthier communities
Where you were once offered freshlysqueezed lemon juice or the ever thirst quenching coconut, now it’s cordial or other fizzy and sweetened beverages. Unfortunately it’s all around us now – from community-run canteens in remote island villages, to corner shops in suburban neighbourhoods and vending machines in schools.
Salimoana is an 11-year-old girl who loves to read. Her cousin Aisea, nine, hates reading but has a knack for numbers. Games bring Aisea to life and he is often persuading his bookworm cousin to join.
Creating opportunities for youth development
The total population in our diverse Pacific region is around 10 million people – more than half of which is under the age of 25. It is growing fast, placing huge and increasing pressures on basic resources and core services, such as education, health and justice. The average youth unemployment rate in the Pacific is 23 per cent, compared to a global average of 12.6 per cent.
Increasing women’s access and participation in the maritime and energy sectors
An increasing number of women are entering the maritime profession; however, their contribution is generally unrecognised and undervalued, and they continue to face barriers in accessing and participating in the sector.
Technology and Innovation
Every fisher knows that you can never guarantee what’s at the other end of the line when you start reeling in your prized catch, especially within diverse coastal areas and reefs. Many a time you can be left guessing what you have caught and whether it’s legal size and safe for consumption.
Healthy catering at SPC events
The Pacific Islands region has some of the highest rates of obesity and diabetes in the world, with obesity prevalence as high as 75 per cent and diabetes rates as high as 47 per cent in some countries. Increasing reliance on imported foods, among other factors, has contributed to an ‘epidemic’ of obesity and related non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in the region.
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