At a macroeconomic level, the Global Economic Crisis has had less impact on many Pacific countries than on most other developing countries across the world. However, this does not imply that Pacific country economies are performing well. Economic growth rates for most countries in the Pacific region are expected to be low for 2009 and 2010 and the majority of economies are likely to contract on a per capita basis in these years. Policymakers should look at how the traditional economy and support systems in Pacifi c countries could be supported and strengthened to ensure they continue to provide resilience in times of crisis. At the same time, other forms of social support should be considered to work alongside these traditional systems in cases where they are not meeting current needs, particularly the needs of women and young people.
Business plays a key role in poverty reduction by creating jobs that give people in developing countries the opportunity to work themselves out of poverty. Oxfam believes that better labour standards also benefit business by boosting sales, staff recruitment and retention, and supply chain productivity.
The next 12 months will be critical for the future of Sudan. As the country marks the fifth anniversary of the signing of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement that ended a devastating civil war, southern Sudan has seen a major upsurge in violence. In 2009, some 2,500 people were killed and 350,000 fled their homes. With landmark elections and a referendum on the horizon, the peace deal is fragile and the violence likely to escalate even further unless there is urgent international engagement. Southern Sudan is one of the least-developed regions in the world. Its poverty, combined with limited government and aid agency capacity to respond to emergencies and deliver development, exacerbates the potential for renewed conflict. The people of southern Sudan have shown extraordinary resilience to emerge from decades of war. If they are to have hope for the future, they urgently need development and protection from violence. Sudan faces many interlocking challenges, but if the international community acts now, they are surmountable.