Substantive responses received
by the Small Islands Voice global forum to the posting on the
theme 'Are tiny islands viable in the 21st century?' by J. Rainer,
18 November 2005
future island growth and development
Pedro M. Alcolado, Cuba
point is to take into account what do local people really want,
and what are their real expectations about their lives (that on
an absolutely democratic basis, not on the desires of richer or
privileged classes). I believe that only the most primitive native
people in their respective countries will be the ones best fit
to survive in the future, if an eventual 'world's end' or 'civilization
bankruptcy' takes place, after wars for oil, water, territory,
religion reasons, national greed, etc. I think they are the only
ones that live closer to the sustainable potentials of nature's
human life support.
I am not so
pessimistic, but I believe that another world is possible and
that humans can save their civilization if we stop the neo-liberal
capitalist way of living (with high consumerism, high spirit of
prevalence, competition, and hegemony, national greed, etc.) and
promote instead solidarity, ideological diversity, and more ecologically
sustainable and planned development approaches, and move to a
very different, more solitary and rational way of living
You hit it
right on top of the nail, so to speak! The issues you mentioned
are so scary, yet real, and all we need is great leadership among
our leaders to steer our small islands to a course that is sustainable
and promising for our people. With very limited resources and
a growing population, our small islands will soon reach their
maximum carrying capacity, and thus self-destruction of our fragile
environment will be inevitable. I agree with the idea that leadership
training and public awareness may provide solution, but I would
also like to include 'code of ethics' as part of the leadership
Tutii Chilton, Palau
if what I'm writing is repetitive, I haven't been able to access
all the discussions on this subject, I just received the email
by Mr. Jimmy Rainer of Federated States of Micronesia (FSM). My
name is Tutii Chilton and I teach at Palau Community College and
one of the articles I use in my classes is an article by Mr. Sione
Tupouniua, entitled Can
Island Nations Avoid Dependence? The ideas of Mr. Tupouniua
are interesting, specifically as they relate to island nations
around the world, I believe and am still researching the idea
that island nations are dependent because of our attitude that
we only have tourism or fishing as a resource to be independent.
I think this is why we (small islands) question whether we can
compete or develop in the 21st century. We have to remember that
Europe and specifically U.S.A. developed their political, social
and economic independence over a 200 plus year period. Most of
us in Micronesia are using a new 'democratic' government with
a new economic system for only the last 25 years of self government,
before that we were under the U.S. Trusteeship. 25 or 50 years
is not a long enough time to truly see if we can be independent,
but it is a long enough period to look at what went wrong and
how can we resolve our own conflict between traditional and contemporary
forms of government and economy. I'm asking because I've yet to
find in the Pacific, a private, non-profit think tank that can
help research, plan and work with our governments to set up a
sustainable plan for the growth and development of our nations.
This is my 10 year observation in Micronesia that we have a lot
of good plans, but done by the International Monetary Fund, World
Bank, or other government agencies from Australia, U.S., Japan
that don't address the voice of the people. They only address
economic and political development without taking into consideration
cultural, traditional and small island issues that are very different
from industrialized nations. Again, our plan will take 50 to 100
years of slow, consistent development in order for it to be viable
and sustainable. Again these are just personal ideas that need
to be developed and expanded. If anyone is interested in discussing
this idea more please contact me.
Jan Collander, Philippines
Islands Voice, being a Swede now living in the Philippines, I
am interested in much of what you say. So I am for economical/political/ideological
reasons. I am an isolationist. My Filipina wife and I have 4 children,10-14
years. In spite of all we intend to stay on our small island,
Leyte, Philippines. Given more time I intend to reply to you.
I. A. Economides, Cyprus
I think that
small islands can compete or develop in the 21st century even
if their only resources are tourism or fisheries. I do not think
that the answers towards political, social or economic independence
can address the development question. In this globalized world
everyone chooses to depend on somebody else, and that is true
even for the mighty US, EU or Japan. Self determined dependence
is not bad. It drives the world towards more peace and cooperation,
towards higher productivity and economic efficiency.
the plans and studies by the IMF, the World Bank etc., I think
that they can be enlightening and useful. They identify the gap
with the rest of the world; they propose solutions that work for
the rest of the world. It is up to the local governments to adjust
and modify the content and pace of those plans to their own aspirations
I do not think
that development has to take 50 or 100 years to happen. Cyprus
has managed to make the transition from poor to rich, in less
than a couple of decades after a bloody independence, amongst
inter-communal strife, political unrest, war, destruction, occupation
and division. If the Cypriots have done it, I am confident that
I think that
Will Johnson from Saba is on the right truck. People are the primary
resource for any place. Education is the primary tool for developing
that resource towards better, happier, and more fulfilling self
determined lives. Education can help us wisely choose more dependence
to the ones we love, trust or enjoy doing business with, and more
independence from those we don't. Education can help us choose
and retain what is of value but which money cannot buy.
Susan G. Field, Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands
Hello, I am
an American, living and writing a column for a small paper in
the British Virgin Islands. We do have a 'system' to govern life
here and it seems to work. However, conditions are very different
from what is described in the letter from and about Micronesia.
I suppose that organization of some type of small government systematic
and the same throughout the territory is what is needed to keep
the life ball rolling without chaos. Surely, how to implement
this is the problem. And who has the answer? Every small island
should have a SYSTEM for the running of health, education and
welfare organizations. This is all news that is not new! So, I
am interested and not very informed or brilliant.
Paul Harris, Australia
fuel depletes I am sure there will be more survivors on an island
like you describe than there will be in any major city. Be very
careful about what 'new' things you do adopt.
Will Johnson, Saba
I have been
following the debate on whether one should stay on a small island
and seek a future there. When I grew up on Saba there was no electricity,
no airport, harbour, roads or motor vehicles. We had to live from
the land. The island is five square miles. I went away to school,
came back and have spent the last forty years in politics. With
l500 people living here our GDP is over US $30 million per year.
We have a Medical School with 300 students. We have around 25
thousand visitors a year and we now have l5 College graduates
of our own who have chosen to return to Saba and make a life here.
Tomorrow is Saba Day. I started it 30 years ago to give the people
more pride in their island. I chose the road less traveled and
I stayed on my small island and have happily served my people.
Even small islands have many business opportunities. Look around
you, and show the way to the large countries that small is beautiful.
of viability must certainly be part of the question. Tikopia in
the south east corner of Solomon Islands has neither tourism,
nor communications (until 6 months ago), nor electricity. A ship
arrives only every 4 months. At least 1100 people live on the
2 square miles of land (less if you subtract the brackish lake),
and have for centuries. There are virtually no food imports, no
exports and very little contact with the outside world. When Cyclone
Zoe, with winds of more than 200 miles per hour (350 km/hour)
hovered over Tikopia for more than 24 hours, the expectation was
of terrible loss of life. The island was stripped completely bare
of vegetation, villages turned to clear white sand beaches and
the lake was penetrated by the sea. Instead, the casualties in
total were one old woman's broken leg.
In terms of
the basics of life, traditional societies on small islands must
certainly be the most viable. Social, economic and physical systems
- if maintained in total - almost certainly are able to provide
basics for island peoples. But social change and global contact
moves the goalposts - what kind of viability? Three staple foods
and no contact beyond your shores for the average person? Occasional
rice and corned beef and a visit to the capital every few years?
Satellite TV, cola and corn flakes on a daily basis and a trip
to Honolulu/Brisbane/Auckland every Christmas?
rhetoric of 'keeping the best of the old, while embracing the
new' is attractive, doing it is another thing altogether. Knowing
what is 'the best of the old,' and what of the 'new' really can
be 'embraced,' requires knowing what we really -want, who 'we'
really are (old, young, men, women?), and understanding how our
island systems really work. Dropping a little of the old, or picking
up a little of the new, is not a simple addition/subtraction exercise.
The connections between systems of agriculture, biodiversity,
religious beliefs, social practice, weather patterns and models
of governance are just as complex as each of those systems in
itself. Understanding how they work is a precondition to making
good decisions about how to change them.
This is where
Tutii Chilton's expression of the need for a think-tank on island-centred
solutions is very important. 'Ownership' needs to begin with the
way problems are thought about, the knowledge used to frame those
problems, and not be emphasised only at programme or project levels.
Such a body would do well to be instigated and organised from
within islands and by islanders themselves.
I saw the
article 'What kind of viability?' quite interesting and also helpful
to discuss with my graduate students in my coastal resource management
classes. Secondly it is good idea to propagate the issues at the
global level and to invite opinions and suggestions to save the
many such vulnerable islands through a transdisciplinary approach.
I have worked
on small islands in the South Pacific for the past 10 years. I
have spoken to many young islanders that love their islands and
to my surprise never want to leave their home for any other place.
The future is in their hands. We should do what we can to support
their desires for the future. We all know that most of these islands
were occupied hundreds or thousands of years before they were
'discovered' by the European explorers. The people had skills
that allowed them to survive in spite of the limited resources
or not there is a possibility of disasters or calamities that
could again result in the isolation of many islands. This world
is no longer safe and could succumb to environmental or economic
woes or suffer the effects of a nuclear war. If such a situation
occurred there would be no tourism and the fisheries resource
may not be as productive as it is now. People would need to rely
on many of the skills of their ancestors just to survive.
In my opinion,
considerations for long term survival on small islands include
the following: (1) planning for the future, (2) working towards
less dependency, (3) reducing population growth, (4) conserving
natural resources, and (5) reviving skills used by early islanders.
Even at best
this will not be enough for all islands. There is no magic prescription
that will apply to every small island. Realistically there are
some small islands that could not survive without outside help.
In these cases alliances should be formed with larger countries
that would commit to long-term assistance if conditions threaten
Using Biosphere Reserves to protect islanders' interest
Pierre Campredon and Augusta Henriques
summary of a paper
prepared for the 1st World Congress on Marine Protected Areas
(Australia, Oct 05) which relates an experience done by a traditional
community in the Bijagos Archipelago, in order to better manage
their space and resources that are becoming more and more exploited
by outsiders. This kind of experience is interesting more and
more traditional communities in African coastal zones and small
islands as a way to get back their power over their land.
Alternative industries and investment proposals
Sabra Kauka, Kaua'i, Hawai'i
- Our islands, and the ocean that surrounds each one of our islands,
have sustained us for thousands of years. We're up against some
real short-sighted people but I sense a shift in the thinking
and the realization on the part of world leaders of the importance
of oceans in sustaining life on earth. We recently had the pleasure
of visiting Te Puia, a center of Maori culture and arts, in Rotorua.
They totally sustain their very important carving school on tourist
dollars. And they do this by being true to their own culture.
We are working, here in Hawai'i, to do the same. So many of us
kanaka maoli, or native Hawaiians, myself included chose not to
work in the tourism industry. I work in cultural education but
I am increasingly called on to do presentations to tourist groups.
If I could sustain my cultural activities and continue to be true
to my culture, supported by tourist dollars, then maybe we've
got a partnership.
Mark O'Brien, Vanuatu
of mine that were published locally here in Vanuatu after a new
tax was declared:
THE SOUTH PACIFIC
16th 2006, was just another day in the life and times for us here
at Bel Mol, or so we thought. We were busily preparing ourselves
for our 1st live cattle export of 2006 and our 1st shipment since
March 2005.I was home for lunch after having prepared all but
87 head for the export and was waiting for another mob to come
to the yards and then weigh them and move the mobs down to the
export yards at Aiken. The telephone rang and it was Andy Ayamsiba,
who called to inform me that there was a new tax imposed on the
sale of Live Cattle from Vanuatu, this new tax was set at 30%
of the gross FOB (free on board) price. As you can imagine I was
devastated by this and started to make some calls.
My 1st call
was to our accountants to confirm or not the existence of this
Amended Bill, it was concluded that at the least a draft was in
play somewhere, but no confirmation was received thru state law
office or other sources that the Law was passed. I then contacted
Hon. MP Willy Jimmy, Minister for Finance, I inquired as to what
he knew of this new tax, he was unaware that it existed and suggested
that I should contact Rubin Lini, Northern Manager of Customs
and Inland Revenue to make sure this was the case as he had not
been Minister of Finance for very long and as such was not familiar
with this question. I contacted Rubin as suggested and Rubin told
me that No there was no new tax in existence as per his diary
notes for any changes to the tariffs for January 2006. Being satisfied
with this I decided to proceed and load the vessel with 1,116
head of cattle. We completed this task at approximately 11.30pm
on the night of the 16th.
in the office the next morning (17th) and Tory and Andrea were
finalising all weights and cross checking all numbers, preparing
for the Customs clearance and Health certificates which need to
be signed off on by a whole host of different authorities to allow
the vessel to sail, when a fax arrived from …………….who??? at 7.42
am, the fax was simple and noted that Live Bovine animals attracted
a 30% export duty. I contacted Rubin who informed me that the
vessel could not sail unless we paid 30% of our FOB sale price
to the Government upfront. This new tax with the existing animal
inspection tax means that the Government would be receiving over
38% of the value of the cattle. Obviously there would be those
that would believe this to be fair, they would not be in private
sector very long if this was their attitude.
several sources and was able to seek assistance from Richard Kaltongga
who indicated that this new tax was not acceptable and had been
rushed thru parliament whilst his Minister Hon. MP Barak Sope
was overseas. Richard contacted the Attorney General and discovered
that the Amendment had in fact not been passed and that the AG
had informed him that it was illegal to charge a fee or duty before
it had been gazetted, and that the President has signed the amendment.
These steps are required before any act becomes law.
Customs who informed me that it was gazetted and that I had to
pay this new tax. Rubin confirmed that his director in Port Vila
had confirmed to him that the new tax was law and as such was
enforceable. I contacted the Minister of Finance Willy Jimmy and
informed him of the situation, whilst he was sympathetic for the
problems that we faced, he told me that if the new tax would prevent
the sale of cattle from Vanuatu and increase the National Herd
then he felt the New Tax was proper and it had his support. I
informed the Minister that whilst I respected his opinion I had
my own thinking on this matter. What would the Government reaction
be if we told them our intention to do the following would occur
if our right to a free market was destroyed by the Government
1. Sell for slaughter our entire herd.
2. Remove all fencing.
3. Remove all pipes and pumps.
4. Demolish all dwellings on the property.
5. Go to the overseas media and advise the unsuspecting people
that this was not the place to come and invest due to the Government's
ability to impose new taxes overnight. Of course to do this would
be sheer insanity.
This new tax
was buried in the Import Tariffs amendment Bill and I would suspect
that not many of the members of Parliament were even aware of
its existence on page 554 of the tariff book. Along with Bovine
(cattle) were Live ornamental fish and Live eels. These businesses
all have the same thing in common, they are working and employing
many locals and are new industries to this country that have never
been done commercially before.
I guess you
can see the sense in effectively shutting down 3 businesses of
this size and increasing the unemployment by over 300 as well
as the flow-on to other sectors that will be affected by the closure
of these businesses. Not to mention the foreign currency these
businesses bring into Vanuatu or in SGS's case the huge amount
of freight they pay to Air Vanuatu daily for the export of their
and Deepwater Holdings Limited came to Vanuatu in June 2001, specifically
to do live cattle exports as we saw this as the only means of
operating a financially successful business. The government of
the day consented to this thru Council of Ministers Decision 109
in September 2001. We have had nothing but obstacle after obstacle
put in front of us at each turn since then. We have never been
granted duty exemption for any goods that we have either purchased
in Vanuatu or overseas.
We have developed
Bel Mol as well as cultivated and encouraged the small holders
as producers of weaner cattle on a much larger scale and this
has benefited us as well as the other larger producers who effectively
supply both the domestic market as well as any of the available
overseas markets including live cattle exports. We are currently
working with Roy Mickey Joy (Trade) and Sandy Rolland (Ni-Vanuatu
small Business and Cooperatives) to establish 2 holding areas
in Malekula to assist the development of the cattle industry on
that island. We export overseas less then we produce each year
and our breeding herd has increased significantly over the 4 years
we have had Bel Mol. Governments are supposed to facilitate business
and assist in the development of areas that need developing. If
they really cared about the industry and the grass roots people
they would remove the 35% tax on Barb Wire and the 25% tax on
fence posts to give the small holders the edge they need to fence
their holdings and increase their herd size. The small holders
of Vanuatu do not want aid or hand outs they want good leadership
and steady markets and the right to choose which market suits
their particular operation. If these farmers are encouraged and
can gain confidence in the industry and the industry is left to
grow itself, we will be successful, if we are continually badgered
with increased taxes (in a tax free country!) and existing taxes
we will not be able to grow. The youth will have no incentive
to stay on the farm and as a result of more urban drift, there
will be more pressure on the Government for schools and clinics,
a higher crime rate and generally a poorer economy which will
be forced to rely more and more on foreign aid.
If the constraints
are lifted these people the grass roots people will do all this
themselves and they will grow their own economies first, build
their own schools and clinics and the youth will stay at home
because there is a reason to stay at home and the positive cycle
will kick in and slowly but surely we will become less reliant
on foreign aid and become truly independent.
All we need
is a strong Government that truly cares for its people and is
capable of understanding their needs not their own and concentrates
on fixing the problems and stop being frightened of anyone being
successful and most importantly become facilitators for the people
of Vanuatu for both overseas investors and indigenous alike. We
do after all have the common goal of trying to create successful
business in a less then business friendly environment. With attitudes
like those displayed by the Government over this issue it will
be little wonder if any one will succeed in this country, I believe
that the people of Vanuatu deserve better, trouble is how!! I
am afraid I do not have the answer to that, I do know that if
you work hard you will be rewarded, so I shall continue to work
hard and hope I will be rewarded.
We just want
to be left alone to enjoy the rights of being able to sell our
cattle when and where we like, they are not the Government's and
yet they seem to believe that they own 30% of them if they travel
overseas and are live. If however they are dead and processed
then they do not care. The government is already enjoying 3,000vt
per head as a documentation fee, bringing the Government 3 to
5 million vatu per shipment. We came to this country as it was
publicised as being tax free, now we are here and they have our
money they just want more, it is not theirs to have, so more taxes
it is. The whole idea behind business is too pay the people who
work for you and then they pay someone else and so on it goes
and before you know it you have a fiscal cycle. And yes it is
something you can ride, only if you play the game can you be a
part of it. And like all games we need to have rules and when
we play the game we need to have the rules maintained so as we
We are hopeful
that the President of the Republic of Vanuatu has the where-with-all
to stop this amendment and not sign off on it so the people of
Vanuatu in the cattle industry, and export industries such as
ornamental fish and live eels trade can get on with our jobs.
Eunice Smith, Grenada
is too late to weigh in on the discussion but I do agree with
the commentary provided by Tutii Chilton from Palau on the development
of small islands and the time and difficulty that would be necessary
to achieve 'western' style developed status given present economic
conditions and limited natural and physical resources of the islands.
At a presentation in Paris last June (2005) on development strategy
from a historical perspective, Ha Joon Chang argued that developed
countries have used protected industries and protectionist policies
to develop their economies over centuries. Today, the third world
and island states are expected to do the same without protection
(subsidies, rebates, preferential markets, infant industries,
etc) and in much less time. Of course we do not want to waste
precious island resources playing the blame game, but instead
recognize the limitations and possibly look at developing alternative
industries that are not labor or land intensive. The development
of the health, education and some aspects of the technology industries,
including that available to the local population, could complement
our (over) dependence on tourism as a source of foreign exchange.
Edwin Tamasese, Samoa
I live on
the island of Samoa in the South Pacific. I have been following
the articles with interest and would like to throw my 2 cents
worth into the discussion.
One day I
was wondering how I could reduce the cost of feed for my chickens
because I import it from Australia. I know that Samoa does not
have the land mass to plant corn, wheat or sorghum in big enough
quantities to make it viable. Then I had a thought - Why do we
always focus on the limitations of our island environment? If
we don't have the land mass in Samoa why don't we buy farms in
Australia? They have heaps of good wheat/corn/sorghum growing
land! Are we focusing too much on the limitations of our islands
and ignoring the opportunities of the world that surrounds us?
Should we not see the world for the global community that it is
and look at how we can take advantage of it to provide for sustainability
of our small islands?
lead to questioning how we structure island investment - I began
to wonder how much income could have been generated to support
local infrastructure if the island diverted money into off-shore
investments? Dare we think that we can manage funds in this manner
without the crippling fear of corruption and mismanagement? Can
we take these factors into account as an expected cost of doing
business in the islands and implement structures less prone to
mismanagement? I know that we can if we took the time to do it.
Another thought that I had is why don't we look at having students
who leave school pay 1 dollar a year back to their high school
which could be placed in an investment fund? Depending on the
size of the school and the performance of the investment fund
it could take 10 years for it to pay off, but once a significant
amount of money is generated, the potential for passive income
would be extremely significant (I have actually taken the time
between collecting eggs and planting cabbage to put this plan
on paper in a format that reduces mismanagement potential).
of information and communication technologies
I.A. Economides, Cyprus
that if small island communities have managed to be viable in
the 20th century there is no reason not to be able to be viable
in the 21st. As a matter of fact, in this era of information
technology revolution and the internet, it is generally perceived
that smallness is much less of a handicap than what it was during
the industrial revolution. The reasons can be attributed to
the dramatic reduction of some external transaction costs. It
costs much less to do business and obtain information through
the internet, than any other existing internal or external channel
today. As a result there are more opportunities for small communities
in the 21st century than any time before, AS LONG AS THEY ARE
CONNECTED WITH THE REST OF THE WORLD. Cell phone technology
has become much better and cheaper than it used to be and could
be the ideal solution for groups of small islands. I think that
if small island communities can manage to find solutions for
better education and telecommunication infrastructure, then
they can be more viable than any time before, even with smaller
populations. Emigration is not necessarily bad, if high population
densities are perceived to be a problem. Better educated and
connected islanders will make better leaders as well as more
successful emigrants. What I think is important is to ensure
that those that do stay on the islands do so out of choice for
a simpler more natural lifestyle, not because they cannot do
any better somewhere else. I think that the ultra-small island
lifestyle will always be in demand and I wish I get the opportunity
to someday experience it during my lifetime.
I.A. Economides, Cyprus
think that it is really any single individual's or any single
government's or any think-tank's decision which of the old should
be retained or which of the new should be adopted. Everybody
has a role to play accelerating or slowing down change but 'there's
nothing more powerful than an idea whose time has come' (I have
read this somewhere but unfortunately I cannot recall to whom
it was attributed). We live in a changing world and being able
to adapt to our environment is a necessary skill for the survival,
the well-being and happiness, of ourselves, during our lifetime,
and our siblings through time. Small isolated islands will change.
First of all, because increasingly they will stop being isolated.
I absolutely agree with Paul Roughan that the best initiative
for change rests within the islands themselves. However, if
change does not come from within, it will come from the outside.
I do not think that in this era of information revolution and
globalization, any society can survive for long based on isolation,
ignorance, or government suppression. What kind of viability
then? My answer is: The kind of viability that meets the collective
aspirations of free, connected and informed islanders.
Michael McManus, Papua New Guinea
for this wonderfully insightful piece. I shall certainly be
using this article as a basis for discussion with our students
in the Communication Arts Department, with due acknowledgement
to the authors. The students are struggling to confront the
clash of cultures in their own lives, as well as in their professional
lives as journalists and communications officers.
from small islands
Ginny Nakamura, Palau
we should follow what the Philippines are doing. The Philippines
have over 80 million people with fewer job opportunities for
their people. Their President is encouraging them to migrate
to other countries to work and send money home to help their
families and the economic development of their country. Why
are we confining us to our little island? Economic development
could be attained like that of the Philippines. It is up to
our leaders to seriously put time and effort into economic
development of our small islands rather than putting funds
into infrastructures that are not beneficial to the lives
of the people. It is time for the young people to take their
future into their own hands and help the government in finding
the most suitable solutions to the problems. Tomorrow is not
for the old (parents and grand parents), tomorrow is for young
and the generations to come. Establish your group to be part
of the solutions to your country. Do not be spectator be part
of the solution. Small communities are much easier to work
with. Take that opportunity and initiate a group to help address
and seek solutions to your community issues. No man is an
island and therefore, you need assistance and cooperation
from the community to make a difference.
Angelique Songco, Palawan, Philippines
extend my congratulations to Jimmy Rainier for his article.
It gave me a better picture of his area and challenges they
face. It appears that it is the fate of small and poor localities
to lose their more skilled and educated people to cities where
opportunities for economic advancement are perceived to be
greater. We are not a small island but lots of our people
are moving out to look for jobs elsewhere in the world. Those
of us that remain by choice need to keep on believing that
conditions can and will improve, and continue to do our share
to achieve this. This is not always easy. However, reading
about others in a similar situation is a source of encouragement.
Hang in there, Jimmy!
Graduation from undeveloped country status
K.D. Pillay, Seychelles
is a group of many islands (96) with a total population of
about 80,000. 5 to 6 islands have airstrips and communications
connection with the main island, Mahe. 10 - 15 islands have
small workforces to maintain the islands. Most of the islands
are uninhabited. At present, the problem we are facing with
the world bodies is that we are not recognised as an undeveloped
country because our GDP shows higher in the international
index. So we are not getting the concessions, financial helps,
grants and other facilities given to the undeveloped countries.
It is time to organise a conference to deal with the issues
by Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) as early as possible.
Additional information sources about island viability
Tanya Hellams, Australia
with interest the article by Paul Roughan entitled 'What kind
of viability.' Recently the Australian Catholic Bishops through
Earthcare Australia published a booklet entitled "Climate
Change - Our Responsibility to Sustain God's Earth.
finished reading COLLAPSE: How Societies Choose to Fail or
Succeed, by Jared Diamond. I am sure some of you have heard
of it. It is am impressive book and interestingly examines
the dynamics of a number of small islands both past and present.
Jimmy Rainer touches on some of the same elements that make
small islands both unique and often socio-politically, economically
and environmentally fragile.
Classification of small islands by size
Peter Hehanussa, Indonesia
Indonesia have been using another term on island classification
based on its size. They are small, very small, and very-very
small islands. The limits are 2000, 200, and 20 sq km in size.
There is an additional limitation based on the width of the
island. In the 1980s I proposed a morphogenetic classification
of small islands that was divided into 8 classes, firstly
they were grouped into two larger clusters i.e. flat islands
and mountainous islands. Hope this can add information to
Peter Hehanussa, Indonesia
late 1980s we faced problems of providing sustainable water
sources (options) to the islanders. The fact is there are
many islands in Indonesia, a total of over 17,000 islands
and about 9,000 with permanent inhabitants. To help start
water resource exploration in small islands and planning by
local government, we proposed a morphogenetic classification
(with new developments I called it now an eco-hydrology classification).
This classification can help to simplify survey planning and
major types are further divided into eight classes. They are:
uplifted coral islands
mixture type islands
is a rather complex classification based on the fact that
the origin of islands in Indonesia is also complex because
of the tectonic geo-history of the region.
we have published a small book on research results of water
resources surveys by LIPI in Indonesian small islands (2005).
The book is titled Sumber Daya Air di Pulau Kecil, 371 pp.,
edited by P.E. Hehanussa and Hendra Bakti, LIPI Press, Jakarta.
They are available at Gramedia Book Stores. We are working
on the next book; small islands and coastal area water resources,
to be published in 2006.
Kelvin Char, USA
a participant in this forum since the beginning and found
it highly informative as well as entertaining. I'm a Pacific
islander living in Hawaii and have spent many years working
with governments and communities in the Pacific Basin.
I had the opportunity to spend time with my Alaska Native
cousins in Bristol Bay and was struck by the similarities
between my experiences in the Pacific and the remote native
villages and tribes in Southwest Alaska. The history and cultures
of the Yup'ik Eskimos, Aleuts, and Athabascan peoples seemed
to closely parallel those of Pacific islanders. Indigenous
knowledge still lives among the people as well as their dependence
on subsistence living. The issues facing these communities
also reflect the same concerns experienced in the Pacific
with respect to social change and the growing influences of
future holds for my cousins in the higher latitudes is anyone's
guess; however, they recognize changing global conditions
(such as the effects of 'global warming' over which they have
little control) and are making efforts to sustain their cultural
base and provide for the future of generations to come. As
such, I have also taken the liberty to share the posts from
this site with our cousins who live in 'island Outposts' in
Alaska. Keep up the good work.
K Etuati, Fiji
pollution poses a clear danger to Fiji and other Pacific Island
Nations. Coordinated, prompt global action to deal with this
threat is a matter of our very survival. Yet in Sydney last
week our Big Brothers, Australia and the US, were holding
a meeting that threatens to detract from an already insufficient
global response. Climate change threatens Pacific Islanders
with rising sea levels, coastal erosion, and higher king tides.
Inundation of the land by seawater poses a major risk to water
supplies, food crops and entire coastal populations. Rising
sea temperatures, along with increasing ocean acidification
are other impacts that threaten to turn our marine ecosystems
into lifeless deserts. And the list goes on.
of the developing countries will be hardest hit by climate
change, while the wealthiest are the biggest perpetrators.
Yet Australia, the developed world's highest per capita greenhouse
polluter, and the United States, the world's largest overall
emitter of this pollutant, are the only industrialized nations
to refuse to ratify the Kyoto Protocol. They have been condemned
on the international stage as a result, most recently at the
November climate negotiations Montreal, which I attended as
a Greenpeace delegate.
to deflect such criticism, the US and Australia have formed
the Asia Pacific Partnership for Clean Development and Climate,
and signed up Japan, China, India and South Korea as members.
Because these countries are the world's greatest users, importers
and exporters of coal, the Partnership has been nicknamed
the "Coal Pact" by environmental groups.
Partnership's first meeting over and done with, what can we
expect? Unlike the Kyoto protocol, which focuses on reducing
greenhouse pollution within set timetables and emission targets,
the new Partnership is completely voluntary. It focuses on
the development of new, costly and unproven power generation
technologies, which continue to use fossil fuels, as a way
to limit emissions.
of the secretive meeting reflects its fossil fuel emphasis.
While green groups had not been invited, chief executives
from global minor Rio Tinto and oil company Exon Mobil footed
part of the bill for a Sydney Harbour cruise, and were among
other major industry representatives received at Australia's
Government House on Wednesday afternoon, according to media
fits with Australian Prime Minister John Howard's public admission
that he would rather find a way to make coal 'cleaner' than
further develop proven clean renewable energy technology like
wind and solar. Just as worrying, the United States has emphasised
the importance of nuclear power as a 'solution' to be promoted
by this Partnership.
is very concerned that Australia and the US are using developing
nations' attendance to undermine any international commitment
to the Kyoto Protocol and divert attention away from their
own lack of substantive action on climate change. Without
timetables and targets, the Partnership will achieve little
other than allowing these climate renegades to delay real
the developing countries within the Partnership, they find
themselves in a tricky situation. Though they need energy
to develop, fossil fuels threaten their long term survival.
Yet the most practical solution is not costly, unproven attempts
to reduce emissions from fossil fuels. Instead the way forward
lies in energy efficiency and clean renewable energies such
as wind, solar and biofuel.
Island Countries, including Fiji, have already set voluntary
policies to phase in renewable energy technologies. Fiji is
also developing biomass energy that turns sugar into the fuel
ethanol. Countries including Papua New Guinea are looking
at using coconut fuel for shipping while Vanuatu, the Marshall
Islands, Samoa and the Cook Islands already use coconut oil
as fuel for diesel engines, albeit on a relatively small scale.
of Niue has recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding
with Greenpeace to work together to move to a 100 per cent
renewable energy future. These efforts are worthwhile and
must be expanded. But there is only so much Pacific Islands
Countries can do about this global threat.
why Greenpeace is calling on those attending this week's meeting
to prove it is not just a 'Coal Pact' aimed undermining the
Kyoto Protocol and presenting coal and nuclear power as climate
change solutions. Greenpeace challenges these leaders to stop
funding coal, and to introduce binding targets and financial
mechanisms to strongly support the development of renewable
response will be a litmus test of their political will to
grapple with climate change. It will also be a matter of the
survival of many Pacific Islanders. The Kyoto Protocol is
the first step in a process that will protect the world from
climate change. With most of the world in agreement the next
step will be to seek stronger emission cuts and standards.
However, it would be beneficial for us all if the US and Australia
worked within this framework instead creating new and diversionary
pacts to protect their own interests.
global emissions reductions are needed, on the order of 70-80
per cent by industrialised countries by mid-century, in order
to avoid catastrophic climate change. Voluntary technology
agreements, negotiated in secret by the world's worst polluters,
are not going to get us there.
they talk about it, Australia and the US are not using technologies
such as carbon capture and storage technologies in their own
countries and development of these as viable long lasting
solutions are many years away, if ever. Unfortunately both
these rich countries are seeking to protect the interests
of their domestic fossil fuel industries and to deflect criticism
for their total failure to address climate change.
island countries the ratification of the Kyoto Protocol by
Australia and United States of America is a matter of survival.
The increase in global surface temperatures will impact the
marine life that Pacific Islanders rely on for survival.
of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere will have huge negative
impacts on the survival of coral and plankton, which make
up the base of the marine food chain. The loss of these organisms
would turn the oceans into lifeless deserts, affecting an
important source of food and our fishing industry. These developments
will also have irreversible impacts on coastal infrastructure
and the tourism industry.
change will also disrupt weather patterns in the region. An
increase in rainfall is already causing flash flooding in
the Eastern Pacific and will lead to larger more destructive
cyclones in the Western Pacific.
change is a reality and is happening around the world (including
in Australia and the United States) but the people that are
most affected are the poorest of the developing countries.
countries truly want to protect the climate they would ratify
the Kyoto protocol and provide more financial and technical
assistance to turn Pacific Island Countries into sustainable
economies fuelled by renewable energy.
Alf Simpson, Australia
information I am forwarding the Executive
Summary of a report (Policy Note) to be released this
Friday 2nd February as well as the Media
Release from the World Bank on the need for Pacific islands
to take proactive measures to adapt to natural disasters.
I hope you will find the report useful. Copies of the full
Report can be obtained from the World Bank Sydney Office.