|Conflict over Natural Resources in South-East Asia and the Pacific (UNU, 1990, 256 pages)|
|6. Conflict over natural resources in the Pacific|
The Pacific region contains some 10.000 islands having a total land area of 550 000 sq. km and a total population of approximately 5 million (Table 6.1; Figure 6.1). The total area claimed by the island states as part of their 200-nmi exclusive economic zones (EEZs) is about 30 000 000 sq. km in an ocean with an area of 165 000 000 sq. km.
The tropical islands of the Pacific are distributed both north and south of the equator roughly between 1400 W and 1300 E longitude (Figure 6.1). These are islands that have long stretches of white sandy beaches, palm trees, and summer all year long. Not all of them are low-lying coral atolls-some, such as Fiji, Vanuatu, New Caledonia, Papua New Guinea, and the Solomons, are high islands. They are relatively rich in land-based natural resources including minerals such as gold, copper, and manganese.
Because of their geographical location, all of these islands have two resources that are particularly important-climate and marine space. Climatic and related conditions provide an environment that attracts increasingly large numbers of travellers, and the islands are becoming resort areas financed by international sources of capital. This development provides jobs for islanders, thus sustaining increasing appetites for foreign-produced goods and services. This is part of the vicious cycle of import dependence and adverse balance of trade that characterizes the islands' economics.
TABLE 6.1 - Population and Land and Sea Area of Countries in the South Pacific Commission Areal
|Country||Population (mid-1978)||Land Area (sq. km)||Sea Area (sq km)||Sea Area|
|American Samoa||31,500||197||390 000||1,980|
|Cook Islands||18,500||240||1 830 000||7,625|
|Fiji||607,000||18 272||1 290 000||71|
|French Polynesia||141,000||3 265||5 030 000||1,541|
|Guam||90,000||541||Included in TTPI||n.a.|
|Kiribati||56,000||684||3 550 000||5,190|
|New Caledonia||138,000||19 103||1 740 000||91|
|New Hebrides||101,500||11 880||680 000||57|
|Norfolk Island||1,900||36||400 000||11,111|
|Papua New Guinea||2,990,000||462 243||3 120 000||7|
|Pitcairn Island||100||5||800 000||160,000|
|Solomon Islands||214;000||28 530||1 340 000||47|
|Trust Territory of the|
|Pacific Islands||133,000||1 832||6 200 000||3,384|
|Wallis and Futuna||10,000||255||300 000||1,176|
|Western Samoa||153,000||2 935||120 000||41|
|Total||4,798,200||551 033||29 390 000||(Av.) 53|
Source: Feleti Sevele and Alan Bollard (1979), South Pacific
Countries: A Statistical Summary, Occasional Paper, v. 15. Noumea: South Pacific
n.a. = not available.
1Includes 200-ntiti EEZs.