National Urban Policy: Pacific Region Report
The Pacific Region is very diverse with regard to urbanization. The Region includes countries with levels of urbanization below 20 percent (Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands) as well as countries where more people live in cities and towns than in rural villages or outer islands (for example Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Palau). There are large cities (Port Moresby in Papua New Guinea) and growing urban metropolitan areas (Greater Suva, Fiji); whilst some of the smallest capitals, both in terms of population and area, can be found in the region (for example Funafuti in Tuvalu).
Urban growth rates are as varied; with shrinking urban areas in some countries, and very rapid urban growth in others are documented in this publication. Yet, since 2004, Pacific Island countries have been organizing the Pacific Urban Forum to collectively discuss challenges and opportunities of urbanization despite these differences in urbanization dynamics and patterns. As a result of these dialogues, several countries have developed National Urban Policies (or National Urbanization Policies), have established national offices to manage urbanization and minimise development impacts, and have included urbanization in their national development frameworks.
A draft of this publication was initially presented at the Pacific Urban Forum in July 2019 to take stock of the policy environment in the region focusing on 8 countries (Fiji, Kiribati, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu). The recommendations contained in the document are informed by the discussions at the Pacific Urban Forum as well as its outcome declaration.