Regional Service Delivery Among Small Island Developing States of the Pacific: An Assessment
39 Pages Posted: 22 Oct 2013
Date Written: October 2013
Small Island Developing States (SIDS) of the Pacific face a range of development challenges, including smallness, distance from major markets, and capacity constraints. Regional service delivery, or pooling, has been advocated as a means of addressing these challenges. This paper presents the findings from the first comprehensive study of pooling initiatives in the Pacific. It draws on a review of the literature pertaining to all 20 pooling initiatives identified in the region, and on interviews of stakeholders involved in many of those initiatives. The study finds that experience with pooling among Pacific SIDS has not met the optimistic expectations of advocates, including development partners. This is the result of the challenges inherent in voluntary regionalism, which are exacerbated by the diversity of Pacific island states, political economy factors, and issues of accountability and legitimacy. The analysis suggests that expansion of regional service provision in the Pacific will be slow, although prospects at the sub-regional level are more positive.
Keywords: Regionalism, Pacific island countries, Small Island Developing States (SIDS), political economy, club theory
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