A United Nations Development Program (UNDP) report ''Overcoming Vulnerability to Rising Oil Prices: Options for Asia and the Pacific'' says Pacific island countries are amongst the most vulnerable in the Asia-Pacific region, and the poor are being pushed further into poverty as a result of this situation.
It emphasised that this is because of the Pacific islands countries' dependence on imported petroleum products for transportation and electricity production; they comprise small markets, they have the added burden of higher oil shipping costs to distant markets and the impact of rising oil prices on their economic growth.
The report developed the Oil Price Vulnerability Index (OPVI), which ranks countries in terms of their economic strength and performance, and the extent to which this growth depends upon imported oil.
The OPVI ranks Fiji, Samoa, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu in the group of most vulnerable countries.
Out of 24 Asia-Pacific countries initially included in the OPVI, Vanuatu is ranked as the second most vulnerable country only to the Maldives, also a Small Island Developing State (SIDS). Papua New Guinea, mainly because it is an oil producer is ranked a medium vulnerable country.Source: Fiji Times Online