“…the cultural heritage of the Pacific is an invaluable treasure, bound up with SPC’s history and key to our region’s future” 

What we do

The goal of the Social Development Programme (SDP) of SPC is to “advance gender equality and equal development outcomes in the Pacific region”. SDP works with governments, regional organisations, civil society and other SPC divisions to build capacity, collaboration, knowledge and practice around gender equality, social inclusion[1] and cultural development. SPC has been supporting the promotion of gender equality, youth development and culture for over 30 years, first with the women’s bureau, the youth bureau, and the culture bureau, which then merged into the Human Development Programme in 2008.  SDP has existed under its current name since 2016. SDP works to ensure that Pacific people are empowered to attain their development potential and improve their wellbeing, through progressing gender equality, youth development and promoting cultural diversity. The work areas that fall under the Social Development Programme, namely gender, culture and youth, are crosscutting; they have a strong impact on all programming and operations and are an integral component of SPC’s multi-sectoral work to support the achievement of development goals for Pacific communities.

Why it matters

The cultural heritage of the Pacific is ones of its richest treasures. Included in this heritage of traditional knowledge and practices are elements of medicine, sustainability, ocean management, agriculture and more- knowledge that is being increasingly recognized for its potential to advance modern science. The protection of this heritage is a priority for all people of the Pacific, and offers unique insights into traditions that could prove invaluable in our common quest for a more sustainable planet.

People are at the centre of all development. The way people interact in society, and the norms that facilitate such interaction, shape development processes and often will be the determining factor in the success and sustainability of any project. Women, men,  and young people of all diversities all have different needs and different vulnerabilities. As such, development policies and programme interventions will have differentiated impacts on these population groups at various levels and across different sectors in Pacific countries and territories. The social development issues experienced in many Pacific Island countries and territories (PICTs) today highlight very compellingly the importance of a people-focused approach to development. Social development is one of the three pillars of the sustainable development framework and has intrinsic links between the economic and environmental aspects of development. Addressing these challenges requires renewed commitment to policy approaches and policy options that foster more inclusive and sustainable people-centred development.