The critical environmental and sustainability issues of Fiji:
Poverty is a major issue facing Fiji. Over 250,000 people in Fiji face poverty, and many more live on or just slightly above the poverty line. It causes many children to drop out of school right after primary, after which majority do not continue with their education. According to the latest estimates, more than 140,000 individuals live in over 200 informal settlements. The income gap between the rich and the poor is very wide and continues to increase. Fiji’s traditional tribal structure is still preserved meaning the land is controlled by tribal chiefs who acquire most of the economic benefit. To make matters worse, Fiji is in the midst of a trade deal which economists predict will increase the poverty rate and inequality gap.
2. Access to clean water
Safe drinking water sources are under increasing threat from contamination, posing potentially far-reaching consequences for the health of children and for the economic and social development of communities and nations. More than 220,000 people living in rural areas in Fiji rely on creeks and rivers to supply fresh water. According to the latest WHO data published in 2017, diarrhoeal diseases related deaths in Fiji reached 63 or 1.10% of total deaths. The age adjusted Death Rate is 8.66 per 100,000 of population, ranking Fiji #71 in the world.
3. Climate Change
Melting glaciers, frequent storms and unprecedented sea levels within a short frame of time are drowning small island states at an alarming rate. An increase in the number of Fijians being pushed into poverty and hardship would increase from 25,700 people per year to an estimated 32,400 per year by 2050. A significant increase in the cost of climate change-related disasters is estimated, with projections of asset losses from floods and cyclones costing up to 30 percent higher than current averages. Sea-level rise and increased intensity of coastal storms, with most models projecting an increase in global sea levels of 17-38cm relative to current levels by 2065, are potentially creating a major threat for the country; with 30 percent of Fiji’s population currently living in risk-prone areas. By 2050, Fiji’s annual losses due to extreme weather events could reach 6.5 percent of GDP because of the impact of climate change. An estimated FJ$9.3 billion (US$4.5 billion) over ten years – almost equivalent to 100 percent of the country’s GDP for one year – is needed to build the resilience and capacity to adapt to climate change.
4. Life Expectancy
According to the latest WHO data published in 2018, life expectancy in Fiji is: male 67.1, female 73.1 and total life expectancy is 69.9, giving Fiji a World Life Expectancy ranking of 118.
Fiji’s Unemployment Rate is forecasted to be 4.50 % in Dec 2019 as reported by International Monetary Fund – World Economic Outlook. It records no change from the last reported number of 4.50 % in Dec 2018. Looking ahead, Fiji’s Unemployment Rate is projected to stand at 4.500 % in Dec 2024. Some of the causes of unemployment are increasing population, decrease in labour force, less number of wage earners (increased only by 0.5%), money spent on imported goods or imported personnel costing a lot.