This was revealed by a report entitled; “Hardship and Vulnerability in the Pacific Island Countries.”
The report was jointly launched early this week at the University of the South Pacific in Fiji by the World Bank.
It was supported by the Government of Australia.
The report provides comprehensive new analysis of hardship and vulnerability across the region by drawing evidences from Papua New Guinea, Tonga, Tuvalu, Solomon Islands, Samoa, Kiribati, Fiji and Vanuatu.
Based on the survey conducted, the report finds that extreme poverty remains rare in the Pacific, but over 20 percent of people in most countries live in hardship – meaning they are unable to meet all of their basic needs such as food, fuel and medicines.
One of the key findings of the report was that; households headed by less educated people, elderly people, and households with more children, are more likely to live in hardship in all countries covered by the report.
But for two countries namely Kiribati and Solomon Islands households which are headed by women are likely to face struggles.
“Women-headed households are more likely to live in hardship in Kiribati and the Solomon Islands,” the report stated.
The report further highlighted a number of recommendations. It suggests that Pacific governments have an important role to play in complementing traditional systems with social protection schemes, such as old age pensions and disability payments.
In addition it recommends greater investment in prevention and management of long-term risks such as NCDs and natural disasters, to reduce future burden on households and governments.
The report was written as a companion piece to the 2014 World Development report on risk and opportunity.
It draws on data from Household Income and Expenditure Surveys carried out in the 8 Pacific Island countries to provide the first comprehensive regional analysis of hardship and vulnerability in a decade.
By MOFFAT MAMU