Recognizing the unique challenges that Pacific island countries face (remoteness, population size, isolation from international markets, vulnerability to environmental and economic shocks), GPE's approach in these countries is designed to be relevant to their unique contexts, cost effective, and to promote knowledge sharing.
Geography and People
The countries (referred to as Pacific Small Island Developing States or SIDS) are located in three areas of the Pacific:
- Micronesia (Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru and Palau)
- Melanesia (Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu)
- Polynesia (Niue, Samoa, Tonga and Tuvalu).
Eight of these countries are eligible to receive GPE support: Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, Samoa, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu.
They are culturally and linguistically diverse. English is an official language for all of them (plus French in Vanuatu), but with the co-existence of a large number of local languages.
Together, these states have a total population of 1.4 million, ranging from 11,000 (Tuvalu) to 553,000 (Solomon Islands), living on a land area of just 45,000 km2 (4,500 islands, islets and atolls) and spread across more than 12 million km2 of the Pacific Ocean.
The small size and distance of islands from one another create enormous challenges for economic and development cooperation and communication; challenges with which regional partners are very familiar and which GPE is carefully considering as a part of its support to Pacific education systems.