An interesting article by Catherine Wilson has been published by Inter-Press Service (IPS) about some of the pressures facing Pacific nations in seeking to establish stable societies developing in a sustainable way. The article notes the risks to stability and underlying issues that remain unresolved, including 'inequality, land disputes, fragile governance and youth unemployment', and particularly notes the problems associated with the extractive industries (mining), corruption and land ownership.
The article refers to the particular risks for nations that have experienced civil war and acknowledges the work of HWC on practical reconciliation at grassroots level, including comments by the HWC President, Dorcas Gano: 'We live in a very tolerant and peaceful community where everyone has chosen to live above the situation, but underneath the surface there is frozen trauma….Relatives don’t mention the mass graves in town covered by new infrastructure or the beatings and near deaths during interrogations. We are working quietly alongside other leaders to negotiate reconciliation in these matters.'
The article also quotes Dame Meg Taylor, Secretary-General of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat who 'believes that ensuring sustainable peace and development also depends on “a structural shift in the development paradigm.” That is, rethinking the extractive economic focus, which has failed to alleviate hardship and inequality, and seeking one that will build fair and prosperous Pacific Island societies, the best insurance against future conflict.'
To read the full article, click on the title:
Peaceful Decade but Pacific Islanders Warn Against Complacency by Catherine Wilson
Helen Dakin (Sydney supporter)
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