UN information stall on MDGs in Samoa. Photo credit: UNDP Samoa MCO.

The economies of the Cook Islands, Niue and Samoa are among the better performing in the Pacific, with consistent economic growth, impressive social development and good progress in MDGs, especially MDG 1 on eradicating extreme poverty and hunger (there is no MDG data for Tokelau).

The Cook Islands, Niue and Samoa have already achieved MDGs 4 and 5 on child and maternal health.  Significant challenges remain in sustaining and improving achievements.

Within countries, the distribution of development benefits is uneven, especially between urban and rural areas and among the main and outer islands. While extreme poverty and hunger largely do not exist in the four countries, many households still struggle to meet their basic needs, and a “poverty of opportunity” affects many communities in rural areas and the outer islands. About 20 per cent of Samoans live below the national poverty line. Many youth are disillusioned by the lack of opportunity, and suicide rates are high.