SPC Geoscience Division

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Fiji Islands

Newsflash

The unique freshwater challenges facing many small islands in the Pacific are highlighted in a new report released today by the UN Environment Programme and the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC).

The report, “Freshwater under Threat – Pacific Islands”, written by David Duncan, Regional Environmental Engineer at SPC SOPAC’s Water and Sanitation Programme, found that the almost total reliance on rain-fed agriculture across all islands puts economies and livelihoods at risk.  Nearly 10% of deaths of children under five in the region are attributable to water related causes; 90% of these deaths, according to the report, can be traced to poor sanitation treatment systems.

The delivery of water supplies and sanitation services in many Pacific countries currently falls well short of Millennium Development Goal (MDG) targets. According to the report, access to improved drinking water sources in Fiji and Papua New Guinea (at 40% and 47%, respectively) is about half the global average and it is anticipated that both countries will fall significantly short of the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) for improved drinking water access.