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Pacific Debate: Urban Development to Support Economic Growth

07 September 2011 Debate theme: 'That government focus should be on urban development to support economic growth’ Urbanisation has been a relatively ignored issue by governments around the Pacific, however statistics from the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) highlight the need to grapple with this issue now, not later. Following its latest discussion paper Urban Hymns: Managing urban growth, the Pacific Institute of Public Policy (PiPP) will again be staging their annual Pacific Debate on Wednesday, 7 September 2011 at 5.30pm at the Rendezvous Hotel, located at 71 Mayoral Drive & the corner of Vincent Street in Auckland, NZ. Last year PiPP successfully launched its annual Pacific Debate in Port Vila, Vanuatu, where USP law students argued the topic ‘That regionalism has failed the Pacific’. This year, the overarching theme is urbanisation, where Pacific regional policy specialists along with Pacific students from the University of Auckland will debate ‘That government focus should be on urban development to support economic growth.’ By focusing on urbanisation, the topic also ties in with the ‘Sustainable economic development’ theme of this year's Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) meeting. Debate teams will be led by Sarah Mecartney (Vanuatu) and Ben Graham (Republic of the Marshall Islands) with Pacific students from the University of Auckland: Janet Ikimotu (Fiji/Kiribati), Bedivia Tuiloma (Samoa), Jana Epati (Cook Islands) and Nataniela Ali (Rotuma/Fiji). Half the world's population are now living in urban areas and many countries in the Pacific are moving in this direction. As a result, it is time to rethink approaches to urban planning and economic development in the Pacific, which includes the need to frame the conversation in a more positive light – for too long urbanisation has automatically been seen as negative and this has often created a situation of policy paralysis Urbanisation will help define what it means to be a Pacific Islander in the 21st century, so the time for debate - and action - is now. For further information, contact the PiPP team in Auckland on these numbers: Derek Brien (021 044 1955), Ben Bohane (021 081 845 21), Talita Tu'ipulotu (021 022 534 95) and Frida Bani (021 082 348 64). PiPP is an independent think tank that exists to stimulate and support policy debate in the Pacific region. www.pacificpolicy.org ENDS

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