This paper seeks to document key characteristics of small island states in the Pacific. It restricts itself to a limited number of indicators which are macro-orientated - population, fertility of land, ability to tap into economies of scale, income, and geographic isolation. It leaves aside equally important but more micro-orientated variables and development indicators. We show that small island states in the Pacific are different from countries in other regional groupings in that they are extremely isolated and have limited scope to tap economies of scale due to small populations. They often have little arable land. There is empirical evidence to suggest that these factors are related to income growth.
Despite their increasing fiscal burden, the public pension systems of BRO countries are failing to provide adequate social protection. Although there is a broad consensus about the need for pension reforms, BRO countries are debating whether to embark on systemic reforms or whether to correct the distortions in their pay-as-you-go (PAYG) pension systems. The paper reviews the measures taken by BRO countries during the transition period to address their pension problems and examines the options for further reform. It makes a strong case for a gradual reform approach aimed at establishing a multi-pillar system over the long run, but initially focused on implementation of “high-quality” reforms of the PAYG system.