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Cooks and Pacific lagging on health and water – UN

Friday August 02, 2019 Written by Published in Health

Cook Islands and the rest of the Pacific will not be able to achieve any of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals by 2030, warned a United Nations agency.


However Valentino Wichman, the director of the Central Policy and Planning Office which oversees these goals, says the country is making a promising progress to accomplish them.

The United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, says on its current pace, Asia and the Pacific will not achieve any of the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.

The goals are designed to improve health and welfare, provide clean water and better sanitation, reduce inequality, spur economic growth and protect the environment.

According to the Asia and the Pacific Sustainable Development Goals Progress Report 2019, the region needs to fast-track progress or reverse negative trends regarding the goals in order to achieve the ambition of the 2030 agenda.

“Asia-Pacific’s progress is going in the wrong direction for consumption, production, water, sanitation, decent work and economic growth,” the report says.

“Progress is below 2000 levels for clean water and sanitation (Goal 6), decent work and economic growth (Goal 8) and responsible consumption and production (Goal 12). Additional data on Goal 8 show that more than half of Asia-Pacific’s total employment is in the informal sector.”

The report says while the region has made gains in some areas, they are now at risk due to progress stagnation and reversal, partially explained by factors such mismanagement of natural resources, increasing air and land pollutants, worsening oceans’ health, and falling Official Development Assistance.

It also says there is a lack of data preventing a comprehensive analysis of issues ranging from social protection, violence against women and girls, child and forced labour, food waste and loss, marine pollution, national and local planning of forest management, justice for all and more.

However Wichman says the figures from bigger countries in Asia and the Pacific may be overshadowing or thwarting the figures in comparison to small island states such as the Cook Islands.

She says the Cook Islands uses the Sustainable Development Goals’ as a guide for development.

“We have incorporated aspects to suit the situation in the Cook Islands through Te Kaveinga Nui – the National Sustainable Development Plan. This is a more pragmatic approach for our country,” says Wichman.

“We track Te Kaveinga Nui through our annual indicator report which gives information on the status of our goals and its progress. This progress has recently been reflected in our country medium term fiscal strategy which has prioritised the Goals that need more attention.”

Wichman says Te Kaveinga Nui ends at the end of 2020 and they will need to carry out an end term review and see whether they have achieved their goals.

“So far we have had mixed results in our annual indicator report. However we have refocused with the medium term fiscal strategy and so it is looking promising.”