Tourism, fisheries and labor mobility present opportunities to the development-hungry Pacific, but they’ve got to be balanced off against serious threats, the two worst being climate change and non-communicable diseases.
The bad news is delivered by a World Bank report which contends NCDs are the worst and most immediate threat.
“This crisis already tragically impacts the lives of many Pacific Islanders,” the report states. “It results in severe human suffering and slows advances in standards of living,”
The World Bank report in turn cited a World Health Organization report that NCDs are now the leading cause of death in most countries in the Pacific, ranging from an estimated 60 percent of deaths in the Solomon Islands to 80 percent of deaths in Fiji.
Meanwhile in Palau, an NCD and Risk Factor Surveillance report stated that NCDs are the leading cause of morbidity and mortality in the United States Affiliated Pacific Islands (American Samoa, Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern