DFAT Pacific Series (Short) : Informal Social Protection in Pacific Islands Countries - Strengths and Weaknesses

Pacific Island countries (PICs) have varying social protection systems, informal and traditional. These systems are important in supporting the most vulnerable members of society and those affected by personal and natural disasters. In the Pacific Islands social protection has typically been an area of low government involvement. Knowledge about formal social protection in the region is limited, and there have been no studies on the impact of such schemes on poverty, human development and economic growth.

This research paper, ‘Informal social protection in the Pacific—strengths and weaknesses’, starts with a brief summary of findings. It then sets out a brief summary of received wisdom about informal social protection in PICs and examines the way traditional social protection tends to break down, not just in the Pacific but in traditional societies more widely. The next section identifies the gaps in traditional informal social protection, both in its historical forms, and as a result of being weakened over the decades.