PART B: BACKGROUND DOCUMENTS
FAO gratefully acknowledges the collaboration of the South Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) in the organization of this Consultation, and the financial support provided by the Government of Australia.
This document has been written by Nadia Scialabba, FAO, in cooperation with Mr. Allan N. Rae, Massey University, New Zealand, whose contribution is appreciated.
South Pacific Small Island Developing States, while not all similar in terms of size, geological origins and other characteristics, share many common features such as their remoteness from markets, limited and fragile agricultural, forest and inland fisheries resources, scarcity of skilled manpower, high population growth, and fragile economies and environment.
Agriculture, forestry and especially fisheries will continue to dominate the region's economies. The efficient use of the resources of the agricultural sector calls for urgent policy reforms. The new, more liberal international trade regime will have serious consequences for these countries which will have an impact on their agricultural sector, and impose restrictions on domestic policies. In the light of trade, economic and environmental considerations, governments are faced with difficult choices between domestic and foreign sourcing for essential goods, especially food. Boosting domestic production could be costly; increasing dependence on foreign supplies is not without risks.
Economic performance during the 1980s and early 1990s was poor in most island countries of the region, and economic growth was often outpaced by population growth.
Diets have been changing, with greater emphasis on western-style eating habits which call for products which cannot readily be domestically-produced. Traditional diets are generally healthier. The incidence of non-communicable (diet-related) diseases are increasing along with increasing imports and declining production of local food crops.
In small island states, even more than in larger countries with a broader resource base, an integrated approach to development is essential. There is much room for improvement in resource use, often possible by careful inter-sectoral planning.
In the export markets, the region faces several difficulties, among which the erosion of preferential treatment its products have long been benefiting from, and difficulties in conforming to increasingly severe sanitary and phytosanitary regulations. Some countries have found, and successfully developed, niche markets for particular fruit and vegetables, as well as biologically-produced agricultural produce. Care should, however, be taken in placing too much reliance on exports as a motor for development.
The public sector remains very strong in most countries of the region and there is scope for considerable privatization which normally should lead to more efficiency. Investors will be all the more willing to take over as macro-economic reforms, accompanied by measures to increase productivity of labour and capital are taken. Three major weaknesses which could deter investors are the relatively high wage rates (usually determined by public sector wage levels), a dearth of sufficiently qualified manpower, and unrealistic exchange rates.
Governments will retain a role, alongside the private sector, to define national policy goals, correct market failures and ensure environmental sustainability and social well-being and equity.
A wide panoply of fiscal, market and technical measures can be used by governments to achieve their defined goals. Their actual application will depend on available human and financial resources and the need to conform to some degree to internationally accepted guidelines on market mechanisms.
In the light of the volatility of international markets, and the fragility of local resources, national and community-based food security stocks would appear a necessary instrument for attaining a reasonable degree of stability on domestic food markets.
On the international level, no single island state will bear much weight alone. The small island developing states of the region might wish to consider the establishment of an economic union. Moreover, various regional institutions already exist, such as the Pacific Economic Cooperation Council and the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation, which small island developing states might consider useful to be associated with.
As for the World Trade Organization (WTO), membership would have advantages and disadvantages for South Pacific small island developing states. Advantages include increased negotiating power, access to information and technical assistance in trade matters, and settlement of disputes through the WTO mechanisms. Disadvantages include loss of autonomy to determine policies regarding agriculture and food, and environmental protection; states with such fragile economies and resources may have great difficulty facing up to international competition, but WTO rules provide for special measures for smaller and poorer countries. South Pacific small island developing states should therefore carefully assess such a move before making it.
In the fisheries area, regional cooperation is well developed and generally beneficial
and efficient but it would gain by being extended to commercial matters.
Finally, suggestions are made for possible action on various issues raised in the document. More specifically, integrated national action and regional cooperation could assist South Pacific small island developing states to make best use of limited collective resources. Many of these actions require political will as much as investments. Funding most of them should be within the scope of available resources, provided the latter are applied to the national interest. Donors may be more inclined to provide funding if a strong sense of commitment to sustainable development were shown and the right policy environment were created.
While the Global Conference on the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States, held in Barbados in 1994, provides a useful overall context for sustainable development, time is ripe for South Pacific Small Island Developing States (SPSIDS) to consider in more detail their agricultural, fisheries and forestry resources and the policies needed to ensure sustainable development.
It is appropriate to begin by recalling that the South Pacific region covers an area of 525.000 km2 with a total population of some 6 million, spread over 30 million km2 of ocean. There is substantial diversity amongst the states of the region in terms of physical size and characteristics and in the extent and diversity of their natural resource endowments.
Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and Fiji are large, rugged, mainly volcanic land masses which are generally rich in biological and physical natural resources. Mineral wealth is substantial in some, especially Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu and Fiji.
At the opposite end of the spectrum are the atoll nations whose resource endowments are very limited. These include Kiribati, the Marshall Islands, Tokelau and Tuvalu. These nations are small and isolated and have very poor soils. The major economic development opportunities lie in the marine resources of their exclusive economic zones.
Between these two extremes are the Cook Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, Tonga and Samoa which are intermediate size volcanic islands with rich soil but little or no mineral wealth. These countries have some potential for further development of land resources for agriculture and forestry, and considerable opportunities for the development of marine resources within their exclusive economic zones.
While Pacific island countries are undoubtedly small and remote, it is becoming clear that "smallness" need not be a handicap to development. Strategies and policies adopted by governments can promote development, provided they have sustainability as their objective.
The General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) negotiation processes, but also unilateral trade and policy reforms, are strengthening the global trend towards a "single market place". These, together with rapid technological advances in communications, are making national borders of less relevance economically, and are greatly facilitating the movement of goods, finance and information. These kinds of developments are nowhere seen more clearly than in the Pacific Rim markets of East Asia and Oceania.
The anticipated impact of the Agreement on Agriculture of the Uruguay Round on SPSIDS includes expected changes in the market for agricultural commodities and more importantly, changes in the policies countries could adopt in the future. Policies allowed under the Agreement are those which have minimal trade or production distortion effects. Policies that do not meet this basic criterion may be kept but expenditures on them have to be reduced. This has implications for minimum safeguards that SPSIDS may want to establish to protect themselves against world market volatility and for the means they need to develop to pay for necessary imports.
Agriculture (including fisheries and forestry) will undoubtedly remain the basis of the economies of most SPSIDS. Policy reforms on several fronts are necessary to reduce the distortions and current disincentives to efficient resource use, and to help overcome development constraints.
A fundamental dilemma for SPSIDS in planning their economies is the interface between imported and locally-produced agricultural products and the degree of reliance to be placed respectively on imports (assumed to be cheaper, though some predict a 10 percent rise in food prices globally as a result of more open markets) compared to expanding local production (which will require substantial investments). Strong reliance on imports assumes there will be sufficient foreign exchange earnings to pay for them. But what are the sources for this? Increased domestic production has spin-offs such as rural employment, domestically-generated food security, better quality (fresh) foods and improved nutrition, higher rural incomes, and local control over resources. Trade is an attractive option for countries with exportable products in which they have an international comparative advantage, which seems not to be the case for most SPSIDS.
An aspect of the food situation to be faced in the future is the possible rise in food
prices on international markets following trade liberalization (see above). Will this
eventually lead to a need for subsidies on domestic markets? If so, who will pay? Will it
stimulate domestic production? If domestic production is to be boosted, what can be done
to ensure it does not entail irreversible environmental damage (especially in upland and
coastal areas)? Should food production areas be designated as protected zones where crop
and land conversion is severely prohibited and monitored? Decisions on import/domestic
food sourcing policy options involves various sectors, including not only agriculture but
also health, finance, and education.
Finally, while examining (or advising on) policy options for SPSIDS, account must be taken of special features such as the magnified effect of certain natural disasters and economic occurrences, the disproportionately high degree of economic dependence on a small range of commodities with volatile markets, the limited possibilities for diversification, distance from markets and related high costs of transport, low technical skills, poor marketing, difficulty in reaching quality standards, erosion of preferential margins, high current account deficits, and in general the fragility of their economies and their environments and their vulnerability to external and domestic factors.
The economic performance of SPSIDS was weak and unstable during the 1980s (PECC, 1995). With Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth often outpaced by population growth, several of these countries showed almost no rise in average real per caput incomes over the period, which was possibly linked to the high levels of aid received and remittances from family members working overseas (see Appendix 1). Between 1980 and 1989, average real income performance per caput ranged from -2.0 percent and 0 percent per year in Fiji, Papua New Guinea and Vanuatu, and zero and +2 percent per year in Samoa, Kiribati and Tonga.
The situation in the early 1990s was in most cases little different. Annual rates of growth in total GDP were between 1 percent and 3 percent in Fiji, 3 percent and 5 percent in Tonga, and zero to less than 4 percent in Vanuatu, while in Samoa during 1991 and 1992 it was negative (Decloitre, 1995). At the same time, population growth rates in the region were among the highest in the world. Some Pacific island economies did expand at somewhat faster rates over the early 1990s however. GDP growth in Papua New Guinea ranged between 8 percent and 14 percent, and in Tuvalu between 8 percent and 11 percent. GDP in the Cook Islands grew by 7 percent and 11 percent in 1991 and 1992 respectively, but fell to only a little over 1 percent the following year. Within this overall picture, distribution of the fruits of economic growth has often been unequal.
The export sector of most SPSIDS comprises a narrow range of primarily agricultural commodities. Tree crops, sugar and fruits and vegetables are the major agricultural exports from the region. Australia, New Zealand, Japan and the USA are the region's major export destinations (see Appendix 2). Intra-island trade is small, doubtless mainly due to similarity of commodities on offer and diseconomies of scale for strengthening trade links between small countries.
Exports are therefore vulnerable to external disturbances, including recession in trading partner countries, the effect of weather on export supplies, and strong competition from larger low-cost countries of the region having greater comparative advantage (e.g. the Philippines).
Average annual growth rates in nominal export revenues of the South Pacific island economies over the period 1980-1993 are given in Table 1 below. The export receipts of the SPSIDS are relatively unstable especially for Samoa, Tonga and Fiji.
Table 1: Average annual growth in nominal merchandise exports (fob) and export instability, 1980-1993 (Source: ADB)
Country Annual Growth Rate Relative Instability
(% per year) (%)
Fiji 4.4 23.5
Papua New Guinea 6.6 18.0
Solomon Islands 2.9 14.5
Tonga 5.5 24.9
Samoa -7.5 27.8
Note: Relative instability = standard error of differences between export receipts and their trend values, relative to the mean export receipt.
The average annual evolution of the terms of trade between 1982 and 1991 shows that Fiji's and Tonga's terms of trade have improved over time (2 percent), but the prices of exports relative to imports have trended downwards in the cases of the Solomon Islands and Samoa resulting in annual evolutions of -7.8 percent and -3.8 percent respectively.
With respect to food supplies, changing diets (see later) have entailed increasing reliance on imports. 90-100 % of cereals supplies in the region were covered by imports in 1992, though Fiji managed to cover 60 percent of rice needs from local production in the same year. Potatoes constitute the main import in terms of starchy foods though there is 80-90% coverage of all starchy foods from local production. A large share of meat and milk are imported (over 70 percent in Tonga, over 50 percent elsewhere, although production is rising in Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Samoa and Vanuatu). More surprisingly, even fish and seafood supplies are imported in large quantities (in Samoa, local production satisfies only 15 percent of consumption).
Such a high degree of dependence on imports for basic food supplies lays open the economies to threat from disruptions in international markets, such as the current high cereals prices, with potentially serious consequences for SPSIDS which already have severe balance of payments difficulties.
Fisheries licensing arrangements with distant-water fishing nations such as the USA, Japan, Republic of Korea and Taiwan (Province of China) are an important source of revenue which enables many states to finance food imports.
Over the past twenty years, food consumption patterns in the region have changed dramatically. Average energy availability has increased, but there has been a general trend towards more reliance on cereals and sugar, less consumption of traditional roots and tubers, and a growing consumption of fats and oils. Availability of protein has also risen, with a significant increase of protein from animal sources, while proteins of vegetable origin have declined in relative terms. This move towards more European-type diets is mainly being achieved through increased imports of cereals, sweeteners, meat, milk products, fish and seafood (see above).
Fish forms a major part of SPSIDS diets. Per caput fish consumption in the South Pacific is among the highest in the world and fish is fundamentally important for food security. Fresh fish consumption however, is being augmented by consumption of imported canned fish: due to lack of refrigeration, and the absence of a tradition of fish processing such as smoking or drying, the widespread marketing of fresh fish is inhibited.
The increasing problems related to nutrition which most SPSIDS are facing stem in particular from past emphasis on exports of primary products, leading to changes in the traditional food production systems, and the increase in the population which has put pressure on land and resulted in a decline in agricultural productivity. Food insecurity in urban areas is not uncommon (e.g. Vanuatu). The change from healthy traditional Pacific island diets to imported foods rich in sugar, fats and salt is leading to a rising incidence of non-communicable (lifestyle diet-related) diseases in adults (e.g. Cook Islands, Fiji, Samoa), under-nutrition of children under five years (e.g. Vanuatu), and anaemia among women in the childbearing age group (FAO, 1994).
In the Solomon Islands for example, the implications of dietary patterns at macro- and micro- levels include: increasing trade deficits and drain on foreign reserve; inequity between urban and rural households; increasing health and other social expenditures; and tenuous status of households food security.
By definition, small states, and especially small island states, have a narrow resource base. In most SPSIDS, that base has been degraded by the establishment and expansion of plantation crops, and more recently, population pressure.
Agricultural, forestry and fisheries in the region are practically everywhere under threat from over-exploitation and in need of urgent measures to preserve and regenerate them, while ensuring their rational exploitation for the present generation. Productivity of both crops and livestock is low and pests and diseases pose serious problems.
Arable land is a particularly scarce resource. Yet problems such as land tenure disputes, lack of new technology to extend land use, and urban and communications developments are leading to loss and inefficient use of that resource. Governments have little jurisdiction over land and though they promulgate environmental conservation decrees, these are unenforceable due to customary ownership.
Traditional, subsistence agriculture (over half of all farms), using family labour and few purchased inputs, remains dominant and has the advantage of being (in principle) environment-friendly but the disadvantage of low productivity. But population and economic pressures are severely disrupting ecologically sound farming practices such as fallow rotation systems. What might be termed moderate input systems are therefore becoming common, with family labour being complemented with paid seasonal workers and some purchased inputs. Due to poor management, these inputs are often used less than effectively, leading to economic losses and environmental damage. Commercial agriculture, long practised for export products such as coconut, has been developed for niche products such as squash and ginger, usually with expatriate capital.
With the exception of atoll nations which are sandy and infertile, larger and volcanically formed SPSIDS have more extensive land masses with agriculture and inland water systems capable of supporting tropical agriculture and a broader range of economic activities.
Various pressures (population, urbanization, tourism, logging, clearing for agriculture or human settlements, firewood) are leading to rapid depletion of forest resources. Deforestation is having severe consequences in terms of erosion, loss of genetic resources, and flooding. Although programmes for planning and management of natural forests and afforestation exist, little progress has been made in this sector. Traditional forestry agencies have focused heavily on commodity production. Given the state of forests, for most countries, counting on increasing wood and forest product exports may not be a viable option. More emphasis needs to be put on other forest goods, services and values as well as the forests' important functions in sustaining watersheds and soil productivity. The potential of agro-forestry and the development of non-wood forest products exits, provided it is promoted with the participation of traditional and local customary ownership.
Water quality is also deteriorating due to chemical and sewage pollution and rising sea levels. At the same time, demand for water is increasing rapidly due to urbanization, industries, and tourism.
Although tourism could provide outlets for domestic produce, it often competes with labour and contributes, in some countries, to a downturn in agricultural production. Constraints to local supply of agricultural commodities include inadequate infrastructures and lack of access to small farmers to means to meet the quality standards and regularity of supply required by hotels and tourism resorts.
Small-scale coastal fisheries production (artisanal and commercial) in the South Pacific is about 110,000 tonnes per annum, of which approximately 75 percent is for subsistence purposes. However, away from urban centres and smaller population concentrations, small-scale fishermen have limited scope for commercial activities, except in the collection and limited processing of non-perishable products such as shells and bęche-de-mer. Inland fisheries resources, once abundant and seemingly boundless, are subject to overfishing, fishing of juveniles and producing females, destructive techniques (use of chemicals and dynamite), and reef bleaching.
Industrial offshore fisheries production in the South Pacific, and in particular tuna, from both regional and distant-water fishing fleets stands at about 1.0 million tonnes per year. This level of production ranks the region as the world's most important tuna fishing area. A proportion of this catch (estimated to be 200,000 tonnes per annum) is processed at canneries in American Samoa, Fiji and the Solomon Islands.
Natural resources tend to be seen by modern society as goods to be exploited in order to draw maximum economic benefit from them. Local people often view such resources in other ways, attributing cultural, religious or simply recreational value to them. In envisaging policies for natural resource conservation, such local values must be taken into account. By making people aware of the fragile and finite nature of those resources in today's conditions, and rehabilitating traditional attitudes and community-based approaches which are being eroded by "modernization", natural resource conservation could be strongly promoted, provided communities are made fully responsible for managing them.
The total population of the South Pacific sub-region is presently estimated at nearly 6.3 million and will double to 12 million in 30 years' time if the current annual population growth rate of 2.3 percent continues unabated (UNFPA, 1995). The Marshall Islands population has been rising at 4.2 percent per year and the Solomon Islands at 3.5 percent per year. Natural, financial and human resources are already strained by the growing demands for goods and services by the expanding population. Moreover, the failure of the economies of the Pacific to generate sufficient wage employment opportunities is producing a major strain on traditional support networks and is a serious threat to the cohesion of Pacific societies (UNDP, 1994). The current age pÎramid contains a strong challenge in about 15 years of how to create enough jobs, given the weak economic situation and constrained development potential.
Currently, the fisheries sector, both small-scale and industrial, plays an important
role in providing employment. Fishing fleets operating in the South Pacific, and the tuna
processing facilities together employ an estimated 1,500 persons, representing the major
source of industrial wage employment for some states.
While most of the population of the South Pacific have basic literacy skills, education conditions are inadequate to meet development challenges (PECC, 1995). Agricultural and industrial skills, technical, and managerial abilities are in short supply in most SPSIDS of the region. Many SPSIDS depend on foreign expertise agricultural research and technical innovation, as well as in entrepreneurship. These constrain responses to opportunities.
For example, most national fishery administrations in SPSIDS would have no more than ten professional staff, generally all male and many of whom are required to perform a variety of administrative as well as technical tasks. Moreover, high rates of staff turnover are characteristic, and well-trained fisheries personnel are often either called upon by their governments to take up higher-level duties unrelated to the fisheries sector, recruited by the private sector, or in some cases, migrate overseas.
There are certainly opportunities in export markets to be seized by small islands of the region. However, a careful assessment must be made of the implications of pursuing an export-led policy for development and of the risks involved in counting on unstable and unreliable export markets subject to the vagaries of market forces and the international economy.
The world's fastest-growing economies (especially the Asian "tigers") include those that have experienced rapid export growth through the encouragement of an internationally-oriented and competitive economy and are frequently given as examples to other countries. Trade measures can involve the reduction or elimination of non-tariff barriers to trade, the reduction of import duties, and the deregulation of domestic markets to allow internal prices to adjust to international levels. But the South-East Asian "tigers" did not achieve their economic take-off thanks to free market forces; on the contrary, it required very substantial and long-term public investment and encouragement, including subsidies and border protection. SPSIDS have little chance of following such patterns due to constraints such as their narrow natural and human resource bases, limited public finances, isolation and many others factors already mentioned.
An exception here is Fiji, which is among the largest of those states and benefits from a large expatriate (Indian) workforce. The case-study of Elek et al (1993) indicates how an island state can benefit from economic liberalization. Earlier, the Fiji Government had pursued inward-looking polices and import substitution, policies that supported inefficient import-replacement industries and that discriminated against exports. Since 1987, the Government has embarked on a tariff-reduction programme, import licensing requirements have been eliminated and firms exporting over 95 percent of their output have been exempted from import duty payments. Many import tariffs are still rather high but their reduction has exposed many firms to import competition for the first time, enhancing efficiency throughout the economy, and indirectly contributing to Fiji's recent boom in garment exports, according to Elek et al. Behind these encouraging macro-economic statistics, it should be asked what the cost of these reforms has been in terms of wage levels and jobs.
Among the risks looming in the near future is the loss or erosion of preferential
treatment which has facilitated exports in the past. SPSIDS export agricultural products
duty-free or under preferential arrangements into a number of countries. These include
duty-free access to Australia and New Zealand under the South Pacific Trade Agreement
(SPARTECA), and duty-free or preferential access to the European Union under the Lomé
Convention. Following the implementation of the reductions in trade barriers agreed within
the Uruguay Round, these special advantages will be eroded. Thus, due to unilateral trade
reforms taken by New Zealand, many tariff lines now enter at a zero tariff rate. Of the
remaining items, duties within the 15-20% band are to be progressively reduced to 10
percent, and those over 20 to 15 percent, between July 1996 to the year 2000.
The same seems set to happen for tree crop commodities entering into the European Union under Uruguay Round commitments since in many cases the bound reduction in Most Favoured Nations (MFN) tariff rates in the European Union's Uruguay Round schedule is substantial. Grynberg (1994) concludes that the loss or diminution of these margins could reduce incentives to produce tree crops in SPSIDS, or purchase from them. If export volume falls, revenues received from Stabex, the EU's commodity stabilization programme, will also decline since payments to countries under this scheme depend upon the volume of exports to the EU.
Sugar is Fiji's major export, earning in 1993 about 30 percent of total export revenue and the EU takes nearly half of this through a quota agreement under the terms of the Lomé Convention. This sugar is sold at the EU's intervention price, usually two to three times the world price. The resulting transfer of funds from the EU to Fiji is estimated by Grynberg to have been worth in 1991 $90 million, or 4 percent of Fiji's GDP. Sales are also made to the USA under quota arrangements. The European Union is committed to cutting its own subsidised sugar exports from a base of 1,617 million tonnes to 1,277 million tonnes by the year 2000. Will this involve a downward adjustment in the intervention price? The current Lomé Convention will expire on 29 February 2000. If it were not extended, Fiji's sugar industry will need to face the adjustments necessary to survive with lower prices and it may be wise to make contingency plans for this eventuality.
Similarly, market access arrangements for canned tuna to the European Union market under the Lomé Convention are important for SPSIDS. While the Uruguay Round has not affected the level of concession for canned tuna afforded to ACP states, the tariff rate for non-ACP states has declined (e.g. the Philippines and Thailand). This tariff reduction may affect the competitive position of SPSIDS if their canned product is competing in the same markets as product from non-ACP states.
Certain SPSIDS have met foreign competition, with a degree of success, by exporting to small niche markets commodities such as squash, papaya, ginger, vanilla, pepper, taro and cut flowers. This has been termed "flexible specialization" and involves competing on the basis of product (e.g. value-added or organically grown products) rather than price in small-scale, high-price products. Producing for niche markets has several advantages, including the often high labour requirement and high economic returns. Caution should be used, however, in looking to such niche markets as a basis of export diversification or agricultural development. In the first place, such markets are by definition small and their expansion is limited. Second, in the absence of collaboration and coordination, other SPSIDS have tended to latch on quickly to such new openings, resulting in gluts, price collapses and considerable losses. Third, the amounts to be shipped will not be sufficient to attract new shipping or air routes to ensure regular deliveries.
With respect to sanitary regulations, provided SPSIDS can succeed reaching international standards, the Uruguay Round Agreement on Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (SPS) could provide major benefits to horticultural exports from SPSIDS. There are three main parts to this Agreement. First, non-discrimination requires that the importing country apply the same sanitary and phytosanitary standards to all supplying countries as it does to its domestic production, and hence cannot discriminate among suppliers. Second, equivalence requires that the importing country indicate the required security levels, but that the treatments or processes necessary to reach those levels be decided by the supplying countries - in other words, different treatments may be equivalent in reaching a particular standard. Third, when an importing country imposes SPS measures, they must be technically justified and cannot be maintained against scientific evidence, to the contrary. Obviously, maintaining the integrity of their certification procedures is an issue for the exporting nations, including SPSIDS.
For some states exporting fish and agricultural commodities from the region, more important considerations lie in the effects of other sanitary and trade measures. The Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures, which has the potential to be used in a discriminatory way to restrict trade, and tariff barriers (e.g. 3.5 percent on sashimi-grade tuna being airfreighted and marketed in Japan), may affect the scope, direction and extent of the marketing of fish and agricultural products from the South Pacific. Consequently, the impact of these sanitary and trade measures needs to be kept under review by SPSIDS.
The application of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) for endangered/protected species/products produced in the region (e.g. giant clams and crocodile skins) should also be kept under review by SPSIDS as CITES regulations could affect trade flows. In particular, states that produce products subject to CITES for international markets need to ensure that proper, internationally recognized certification procedures are in place for cultured species/products so as to ensure that exports are not interrupted.
Also significant for South Pacific states may be the strict interpretation and application of the "rules of origin" provisions of the Lomé Convention concerning the harvesting of tuna. Indeed, these rules could be more important from a trade perspective than other considerations such as product definition and target markets.
In SPSIDS, integrated policy, planning, and management of natural resources will usually extend to the whole island, due to the almost infinite number of linkages between sectors in a small geographical area. Since exceptionally high population growth rates are the major source of pressure on resources which are both scarce and fragile, population policy must be an integral part of development policy. Planning for human resources calls for an integrated approach to labour/employment and capacity-building strategies, taking account of staff mobility among various institutions. The dependence of nutrition and health on the primary production sector entails planning links between agricultural production efforts and health planning. Improved food marketing depends on infrastructures and services. Tourism is linked to agriculture and fisheries and generates employment directly (services) or indirectly (e.g. crafts). Fisheries are affected by urban planning, tourism and agriculture in areas such as pollution of waters by agricultural effluents and urban wastes. The list could continue.
National Environmental Management Strategies (NEMS) were formulated between 1991 and 1994 for SPSIDS, based on each country's own strategies and specific economic, physical, cultural and social situation. These strategies are coordinated by a Task Force, comprising senior government representatives, NGOs and the private sector. It would be expected that NEMS implementation will involve close cooperation between relevant Environment Departments and other line Ministries and representatives of the civil society.
Planning for forests is presently underway, in Fiji, Samoa, the Solomon Islands, Tonga and Vanuatu through National Forestry Action Plans (NFAP). Forests conservation and development will invariably be affected by actions in agriculture, energy, transportation, trade, industrial development, tourism and human settlements. There is need, therefore, to integrate NFAPs into national development plans.
In the area of integrating nutrition policy with agricultural and rural development policy, some progress has been made in the development of National Plans of Action for Nutrition (NPAN) in Fiji, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, Tonga, Vanuatu, and Samoa. Increasing local food supplies is an important aspect of nutrition policy, but very few of the islands can sustain from their own resources the growing appetite for European-type diets. In countries where economic policies are focusing on deregulation (e.g. Cook Islands) and promotion of exports (e.g. Fiji, Samoa), NPAN would have marginal effects if not integrated within national development plans. Education is a key strategy for combatting malnutrition by convincing people to adopt healthier diets based on local products. Collaboration between various ministries and services - agriculture, education, health, industry, trade, community development - is essential for successful implementation of nutrition policies. Implementing strategies relating to food and nutrition must involve joint actions at governmental and non-governmental level and private sector agencies to promote nutritional well-being and household food security.
Fisheries are critically important to all SPSIDS, and for most of them, and in particular the more vulnerable atoll states, the fisheries sector represents the most important economic component in the national economy (the "engine of growth"). Foreign industrial fisheries provide revenue from licence fees and other economic benefits (e.g. provisioning in national ports), while national industries (fleets and processing facilities) are another source of export income. A healthy fisheries sector holds one of the keys to successful implementation of other aspects of an integrated agriculture and food policy.
Specifically on fisheries, national development strategies and planning of most SPSIDS involve developing and/or strengthening local investment in the fisheries sector. Some states such as Fiji and the Solomon Islands already have important domestic fishing fleets and processing facilities, ranking as major sectors of the economy. Through these facilities, these states are in a position to maximize added value from their fisheries. Other states such as Tonga, Kiribati, Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea and Samoa have ambitious plans for fisheries development, including in some instances, the privatization of some State-owned industries.
As part of the process, most SPSIDS seek to diversify activities in the fisheries sector, encouraging the establishment of new industries (e.g. longline fishing for the airshipment of tuna to Japan and other niche markets in the region) and trying to integrate the fisheries sector more closely into the expanding tourist industry (e.g. environmentally-friendly water sports and sport fishing), and where possible, the promotion of inland fisheries and aquaculture (including mariculture).
The public sector is a major component of the economies of many SPSIDS, for example between 60 percent and 80 percent of GDP in the Cook Islands, Samoa and Tuvalu. The size and expansion of the public sector in many SPSIDS, perhaps partly due to the required servicing of considerable aid flows, has to an extent "crowded out" the private sector in terms of gaining access to skilled labour (Fleming and Hardaker 1995).
Governments' role should be focused on areas with long-term consequences and a neutral impact: creating conditions conducive to more efficient and environmentally sound production, disseminating market information, up-grading research and extension services, assisting with the creation of market and credit institutions, enhancing efficiencies in product distribution and quarantine and product quality, providing a supportive regulatory framework which ensures a balance between agricultural exports and household food security, especially in the sanitary/phytosanitary area.
SPSIDS have already begun to reduce the role of government and encourage development of the private sector. But more progress can be made towards providing a more competitive environment, reducing distortions and eliminating inefficiencies in their domestic economies. For instance, to the extent that public sector wages tend to set the norm, alternative approaches to public sector wage setting could perhaps be envisaged.
The withdrawal of government from activities that can be better provided by the private sector can have a positive impact on the overall efficiency of a country's economy and its international competitiveness. But it is the nature of profit-oriented firms that services (e.g. transport, health) will be provided only where they turn a profit, and that will likely be too expensive for the poorer segments of society anyway. Maintenance of certain publicly-run services will therefore be necessary, especially in more isolated areas.
Macro-economic policy reforms contribute to improving competitiveness, but they will be relatively ineffective unless they are combined with other reforms that lead to greater productivity of labour (through training and education) and capital (through research) and lower relative prices of non-tradable goods and labour through public sector and labour market reforms. Two vital issues for competitiveness on international markets are wage levels and exchange rates. The availability of local skilled labour has been dealt with earlier.
The level of wages in some SPSIDS has made maintenance of international competitiveness very difficult. Booth (1995) cites studies that indicate that minimum wage legislation in Papua New Guinea had in the past raised labour costs far above those in other comparable economies. Prior to the 1987 reforms, Elek et al (1993) note in their study of Fiji that labour markets were intensely regulated, trade unions were well-organized and powerful, and wage rates were high compared with those in the countries with which Fijian business was attempting to compete. According to that study, wage regulations, rather than improving the living standards of workers, led to slow growth, poor labour absorption into the work force, and declining per caput incomes.
Policies that aim at providing more flexibility in the setting of wage rates and that strengthen the link between wages and labour productivity are especially important in attemps to attract foreign investors and diversify their export sectors (often into labour-intensive industries). There is a need, however, to ensure gender equity in employment opportunities and renumeration in countries where women are currently concentrated in lower levels of employment. A case in point is fish and agricultural processing. In the case of tuna canning, processing costs in the South Pacific are much higher than in certain South-East Asian countries such as Thailand.
Unfortunately, the wage levels needed to be internationally competitive - all else being equal - may not constitute a living wage in a given national context and can lead to social tensions. Enhancing labour productivity can offset the need to lower wages. On the other hand, the level of domestic prices for basic necessities will largely determine the level of a "living wage". In this regard, the distance from suppliers raises prices for imported goods which the exchange rate can do little to remedy; on the contrary, adjusting high exchange rates would make imported goods even more expensive.
The exchange rate and relative inflation rates also have a great influence on the profitability of SPSIDS' enterprises and their ability to compete with foreign businesses. Elek et al (1993) refer to Fiji's post-1987 experience as an illustration of the power of changes in the real exchange rate on influencing competitiveness and export performance. The effectiveness of devaluation of the nominal exchange rate depends on the extent to which the increased prices of exportable and importable goods within the economy feed through into wage demands and general inflation.
In a deregulated economy, the task of selecting appropriate production mixes and processes is best left to the private sector, guided by government policy objectives but also by international price relativities. Economic efficiency is necessary, even without reference to international competitiveness; it is the key to sustainable resource use, especially in resource-poor countries. On the other hand, allowing unbridled expression to market forces means governments, in a very real sense, giving up control of such important issues as food security and protection of the environment.
Should international operators determine the price of food to domestic producers and consumers, and indeed the very availability of food if local consumers are unable to compete for it on the global market place? The logic of free trade is that government policies should not favour some production sectors at the expense of others. But in that case, how will governments manage to give the necessary boost to a particular sector in the framework of a diversification policy?
A balanced policy towards development and trade takes due account of natural constraints and weaknesses and of considerations of social equity such as better distributing the benefits of such economic gains as have been registered. Correcting the inadequacies of market mechanisms will always be a necessary and legitimate area for public policy.
In the face of competitive international food prices and high local costs of production, aiming at increased food self-sufficiency may not be the best option in purely economic terms. For social and environmental reasons, however, various options are open for stimulating increased and more efficient agricultural production.
Governments of SPSIDS are therefore faced with the problem: how to boost domestic output while protecting the fragile natural resource base and shielding local producers from international competition in ways negotiable under the new world trade regime?
There is an almost limitless range of measures which can be taken, including tariff or quota protection for specific sectors, preferably limited in time; improved publicly- or privately- (including cooperatively-) owned marketing infrastructures: (e.g. storage, slaughter facilities, packaging plants, transport); extension and training services; support for localised small-scale processing, incentives for the adoption of new technologies, and other measures.
With respect to tariffs, use of sliding scale tariffs would make it possible to maintain stable domestic prices while fixed tariffs may introduce greater price instability (a fixed 20 percent tariff on an essential foodstuff would amplify the domestic price rise when the world market price rose sharply, while a sliding scale could provide for lower tariffs in times of high world prices and vice-versa).
In some countries, land taxes based on estimated productive potential taking account of soil fertility, access to markets and ecological vulnerability have proved effective in forcing owners to farm more productively. It has been estimated that in Tonga, a tax of T$ 50 per hectare (1991 value) would stimulate output without provoking ecological damage. Getting prices right without over- or under-shooting the mark can be a difficult exercise. (Cameron, 1991).
Strategies could include an attempt to reduce recourse to imported inputs (e.g. developing feeds from locally-available crop residues and processing wastes, rotations with legumes to increase soil fertility, integrated pest management), local energy production by use of solar, wind, and biomass, increased self-sufficiency in basic foodstuffs, pooling of genetic material, and regional training of staff at all levels.
Modernized sugar mills in particular, could become self-efficient in energy terms, and can even produce extra power to feed to the national electric grid (in Reunion, sugar industries generate 80 percent of the island power requirements). Considering the contribution to trade deficits of SPSIDS' dependence on imported hydrocarbons, the production of liquid fuels from sugar (i.e. alcohol) is an interesting option to consider. Some islands do, however, have hydrocarbon reserves and everywhere, the costs and benefits of developing alternative energy sources should be carefully considered, taking account of economic and environmental considerations.
Finally, in view of the volatile nature of international food markets, food security stocks are necessary as a means of stabilising supplies and prices within margins acceptable to both producers and consumers. Such stocks would be especially effective if they were decentralised at community level. Constituting and maintaining such security stocks implies costs which not all governments (or communities) can afford.
Most SPSIDS currently lack the financial resources and suitably qualified manpower needed for building a framework for integrated sustainable resource management and applying the related policies. Such factors undermine the capacity of national administrations to manage and conserve natural resources and to provide continuity in national policy and planning.
Investment in education and research to enhance technical and managerial skills and performance for civil servants, but also for farmers and technicians, in the area of natural resource management and conservation constitutes an essential complement to a nation's resource endowments. But skilled labour in the region is highly mobile, leading to serious "leakages". In the fisheries sector, it is estimated that to achieve a full complement of skilled workers, an excess margin of 30-40% is therefore necessary.
Strengthening technical collaboration with international, regional and national
organizations is a transitional option for overcoming skills shortages, particularly where
specialist inputs limited in time are needed. Promoting community support for sustainable
approaches to management and conservation of resources is a way of tapping traditional
knowledge and skills.
In the primary sector, urgent attention is required to gender balance issues. The world over (and the South Pacific is no exception), women spend more time on farm production processing and marketing activities than men. Yet women's education attainment is generally poorer and agricultural extension services are generally directed towards men. This constitutes a serious waste of human resources. While Melanesian women bear the major responsibility for food production, and provide a significant amount of labour in commercial agriculture, they are generally by-passed by agricultural education and extension. In Polynesian and Micronesian countries where women's role is less significant, they are nonetheless key contributers in both production and marketing of agricultural commodities. Their need for increased access to productive resources, improved productivity and added value is increasingly obvious as male-female and rural-urban disparities manifest in concert with the development of other sectors. An important first step would be to increase the visibility of women farmers contributions and constraints to agricultural production through time use studies and the disaggregation of traditional data bases by sex. Other specific actions, related to women's participation in agriculture, adapted from the Pacific Platform for Action prepared by representatives of SPSIDS for the Fourth World Conference on Women (Beijing 1995), are in Appendix 3.
Policy is generally silent on equity. In a climate of reform, opportunities around economic imperatives arise for the integration of social issues. Uncontrolled growth tends to widen gaps between landowners and landless rural people, rural and urban, male and female. Policies should be explicit on measures to ameliorate potentials for negative human impacts.
SPSIDS are small in every sense. Their weight in international trade negotiations - be it bilateral or multilateral - will inevitably be rather insignificant. It could therefore appear a useful step for them to join trade groupings in order to strengthen their position.
As a first step, countries of the region may wish to consider the usefulness of creating a regional economic union. Since such groupings are now being established in most regions of the world, SPSIDS will likely be considered as a group whether this is formalized or not. In the context of regional collaboration, a regional finance institution aimed in particular at stimulating private sector investments would be a useful corollary.
Several relevant regional organizations exist. One such is the Pacific Economic Cooperation Council (PECC). The PECC encourages a process of "open regionalism" amongst its members through the work of its various task forces. These cover many areas of current or future concern to SPSIDS, including food and agriculture, trade policy, fisheries, minerals and human resource development. Greater involvement on the part of the SPSIDS could contribute to the general "upskilling" through information exchanges with, and exposure to, ideas of business people, government officials and academics from throughout the region. However, it must be recognized that, with the exception of fisheries, to date the PECC has concentrated on issues of interest to the larger countries.
The Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) recognizes the growing interdependence among the economies of the region, and seeks to intensify development cooperation and trade and investment liberalization. Its activities are aimed at enhancing accelerated, balanced and equitable economic growth in the Asia Pacific region, as well as globally. The SPSIDS (only Papua New Guinea is currently a member) may feel that membership of APEC could contribute to enhancing their development strategies. It could also contribute to ensuring their interests are not overlooked as the APEC process evolves further, perhaps to include trade liberalization negotiations and freer trade among its members. APEC's working groups and cooperative programmes include such relevant areas as human resource development, cooperation in science and technology, promotion of small-scale enterprises and improvement of economic infrastructure.
The necessary precautions and guarantees would have to be built in to any agreement to participate in such regional groupings in order to avoid such small states' interests being swamped amidst those of the larger members.
To benefit from export opportunities and from changes in world markets and trade, SPSIDS could seek to broaden their trade and investment links especially with the dynamic economies of the Asia-Pacific region. This can be achieved through trade and investment missions and through more active and focused participation in regional forums such as those discussed below.
Within the private sector, firms can form alliances with foreign companies. The specific advantage of this is that foreign firms can provide marketing support and access to markets, and training for new managerial and technical skills. But while SPSIDS clearly need such trade and investment links, the rest of the world is in no way dependent on links with SPSIDS. Investors will only be interested if they find the policy and economic environment conducive to optimizing returns on investments as discussed above. That being said, it is important to draw maximum benefit and resource rents for the country from negotiations with foreign companies for use of such resources as offshore fisheries and forest products, something which has not always been done with complete success in the past.
Regional fisheries cooperation in the South Pacific is well established and has achieved a high degree of success. States recognize that individually they are weak because of their small size, and alone they can be easily manipulated in fisheries matters. Indeed, it was this recognition that primarily led to the establishment, in 1989, of the South Pacific Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) which is mandated to assist its member states coordinate fisheries policies and activities.
With respect to regional fisheries cooperation, in SPSIDS the most notable successes have been in managing national fisheries on a collective basis. Regionally for conservation and management purposes, FFA's member states have adopted Minimum Terms and Conditions (MTCs) of access governing the operation of tuna fishing fleets (covering important fisheries conservation and management information such as uniform vessel identification, trans-shipment of catches, catch and effort logsheets, observers, appointments of in-country agents, foreign fishing vessels in transit and flag state or fishermen's associations responsibilities), and a regional register of foreign fishing vessels.
In support of management and conservation efforts for inshore and offshore fisheries, the South Pacific Commission provides a range of technical assistance, most notably through resource assessments and information concerning the status of stocks. In addition to the MTCs and the regional register, several regional fishery initiatives have been agreed upon.
Under the auspices of the FFA, its members collaborate closely on a range of other fisheries conservation and management matters including, inter alia, information exchange, harmonization of national legislation, formal definition of maritime zones, port state enforcement and monitoring of vessels, and observer programmes. SPSIDS have also established fisheries collaboration, particularly with respect to tuna, with the US Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council, and given the complementarity of interests of these states and the US territories in the South Pacific, there is room for this cooperation to be strengthened.
With respect to regional collaboration in fisheries matters of a commercial nature, such collaboration among SPSIDS has advanced at a slower pace than for other types of regional cooperation. This is primarily because national priorities and opportunities for commercial development do not coincide for all states, nor do the interests of national, foreign and joint-venture investors. Indeed, there are instances where the foreign partners in national tuna industries have refused to cooperate with industries in other South Pacific states on the grounds that such cooperation would be inconsistent with market competition.
Through the FFA, some member states have investigated the establishment of a regionally owned tuna processing facility and have sought closer cooperation in marketing. However, commercial considerations generally mitigate against closer commercial cooperation, though it is recognized by the smaller South Pacific states that dialogue on commercial cooperation should be maintained.
Membership of the World Trade Organization (WTO) could have advantages but would also not go without additional constraints on development options:
(i) Negotiating power. Membership of WTO is a means whereby SPSIDS can seek to protect their interests in future trade negotiations: the Uruguay Round agricultural trade reforms may be regarded as the first step in an on-going process of agricultural policy reform. The Agreement will be reviewed before the end of 1999, and future negotiations will be initiated before the transition period ends. These will no doubt have a further impact on the economic interests of SPSIDS, so it is better for them to be present than absent from the negotiating table.
On the other side of the argument, as already mentioned, it can be questioned whether states of such a small economic and trade weighting will be able to have any real influence on negotiations, including within the Cairns Group (see below).
(ii) Cairns Group. The islands' negotiating capacity could be enhanced through membership and active participation in the work of the so-called group of "fair" agricultural exporters, the Cairns Group (Fiji is already a member, alongside countries such as Australia, New Zealand and Argentina).
Trade negotiations are conducted on a "give-and-take" basis: what have SPSIDS to give (or threaten to withhold) in order to obtain concessions from other negotiating states? to what degree are larger members of such groupings likely to base their negotiating stance on the interests of the smallest members? However, the smallness of the islands and of the volume of produce they have on offer means they will never be seen as a threat, which should facilitate negotiation of special status deals.
(iii) Agricultural policy reforms. Through participation in multilateral negotiations, SPSIDS can have a legitimate claim to trade concessions in other areas in return for supporting specific agricultural reforms.
Constraints resulting from membership would however include: limitations on policy choices of member states in order to conform to GATT rules; loss of freedom to adopt agricultural policies which go against principles of market forces and non-intervention; and loss of freedom to adopt, and modify, tariffs and quotas, and other safeguard measures.
(iv) Links with other sectors. New items on the WTO's agenda, which will become increasingly important to SPSIDS, include links between trade and the environment, and labour issues. Currently, policies to protect the environment are allowed under the Agreement, provided they do not introduce distortions to trade and introducing them will, in any case, depend on the ability of SPSIDS to mobilixe associated costs (though the planned negotiations on this point may lead to greater environmental sensitivity in trade policy).
(v) Other benefits. The strengthened dispute settlement procedures of the WTO will provide small trading countries like SPSIDS with the ability to protect their trading interests against unfair trade practices of stronger trading nations. Other benefits from WTO membership include greater access to trade and policy information, a higher level of technical assistance from the WTO and access to various types of compensation as developing countries.
(vi) Food security considerations. In February 1996, the South-East Asian NGO Conference on Trade and Food Security adopted The Balay Declaration which includes, inter alia, the following propositions which may be worth consideration by governments in the context of possible WTO membership: (i) the right to pursue policies aimed at national and regional food self-sufficiency should be acknowledged in international trade rules and in regional trade approaches; (ii) developing countries should be granted easier access to waivers on the implementation of liberalization measures in sensitive sectors vital to food security. In fairness to the WTO, mention must be made of the Decision in the Final Act to assist poorer countries of the region and elsewhere in the event of their food security being adversely affected by the application of the Uruguay Round agreements.
(vii) Joint Delegation. Active membership also involves costs in terms of maintaining a delegation in Geneva, and also, to have any chance of being effective, substantial knowledge and negotiating skills which the countries of the sub-region appear not to be able to spare from domestic duties. Common representation in Geneva could alleviate such difficulties.
A Review of Policy Alternatives to Developing Countries and compliance with GATT is presented in Appendix 4.
Prior to any steps being taken, it would be wise to commission an inventory of actions already raised in various fora or planned through national, bilateral or multilateral collaboration and consider some of the possible options discussed in the present document, more specifically:
- Establishing international, regional and national cooperation in the conservation, management and development of national and regional resources. FAO and other organizations could provide technical support for initiatives of this nature, including the strengthening the scope and number of Technical Cooperation among Developing Countries (TCDC) exchanges with other regions.
- Establishing a regional promotion and export marketing agency with, in the first instance, a generic mandate (each country to market its products individually if it thought that necessary) but working towards joint marketing.
- Establishing procedures for centralising and sharing information on markets, technical matters and so on (mandate to be defined limitatively in the first instance to avoid overload and disappointment). Connection through e-mail and the Internet, with a central processing unit, would greatly assist with information exchange. Indeed, regional closed "conferences" could be set up on e-mail.
- Give objective and detailed consideration to the option of establishing a regional economic union adapted to the characteristics of the SPSIDS of the region.
- Consider the benefits to be gained from joining the Pacific Economic Cooperation Council and the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation, and possible costs involved.
- Review the options for increased regional cooperation in fisheries products marketing and processing.
- Carefully assess, possibly on a joint regional basis, the advantages and disadvantages of joining the World Trade Organization; in case of membership, establish a joint delegation in Geneva with suitably qualified and devoted South Pacific staff, complemented as necessary by non-local specialists.
- Develop methods and skills to promote an integrated approach to natural resource management, with possibly a coordinating agency for inter-ministerial collaboration.
- Integrate major national sectoral plans such as National Forestry Action Plan and National Plan of Action for Nutrition into overall national development plans.
- Review public sector wage setting mechanisms in order to avoid disrupting private sector wage mechanisms and to ensure efficiency and competitiveness.
- Carry out a thorough review and assessment of public sector services, determine which can be turned over to the private sector; allow private sector competition alongside public sector services when these are maintained.
- Within the cultural context of respective SPSIDS, analyze and prioritize comparative and competitive advantages for micro-enterprise development, particularly those which may provide rural employment.
- Review policies for agriculture in the light of the respective economic costs of domestic and imported produce, social and environmental aims, and the constraints imposed by international trade regulations.
- Undertake a study of available biomass which can be used for energy production and examine the technical, economic and environmental aspects with a view to reducing imported energy imports.
- Examine the possibility of reducing imported inputs for agriculture by the use of locally-available by-products for use as animal feed, introduction of legumes into crop rotation as a source of nitrogen, use of by-products as packing materials for fruit and vegetables on the domestic market, and so on.
- Evaluate the volume and type of produce required to constitute national and community-based food security stocks aimed at maintaining prices within a range acceptable to producers and consumers; evaluate the cost of constituting and maintaining such stocks; make contingency plans and basic rules for recourse to such stocks.
- Allocate a larger share of national budgets to investments in education and training, including on-the-job training and improved agricultural extension services in order to raise technical and managerial skills in agriculture, fisheries, forestry and applied environmental sciences.
- Scrutinize extension and training services for gender bias and ensure that women benefit equitably from training appropriate to their role and tasks.
Despite the many constraints facing SPSIDS, there are viable solutions which are well documented and can be adapted for their sustainable development. Indeed, their very smallness enables them to become examples of a successful change-over from unsustainable to sustainable development - if they have the will and commitment to do so.
The above document provides an analysis of the main policy issues before governments, including some policy options, at national and regional level, which governments may care to consider.
The two related documents - respectively on sustainable management of natural resources and on sustainable primary production - provide additional, more detailed information, and set out some of the technical options available.