Top officials from 14 small island developing nations in the Pacific Ocean are gathering in Vanuatu today for a United Nations-backed meeting to review strides made in sustainable development.
The countries will assess progress made in implementing the Mauritius Strategy, which was adopted by 125 nations in 2005 and is the only global blueprint addressing the unique development challenges of small island developing States.
Small Pacific island nations are particularly vulnerable to climate change, sea-level rise, natural disasters and external economic shocks due to factors including factors including their small size, remoteness from major markets and poverty.
They have been hit particularly hard by the current global financial and economic crisis, which came on the heels of the 2007-2008 food and fuel crises.
The region was also hard hit by earthquakes, cyclones and tsunamis, with these natural disasters having affected mostly the poor and causing significant damage.
The 14 participants at the two-day gathering in Vanuatu's capital, Port Vila, organized by the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) and the Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), are the Cook Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, the Marshall Islands, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, the Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.