Asia-Pacific Population Journal

For over two decades, the Asia-Pacific Population Journal (APPJ) has been taking the pulse of population and social issues unfolding in the region. Published by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), APPJ brings out high quality, evidence-based and forward-looking articles relevant for population policies and programmes in Asia and the Pacific. Prominent population experts, award-winning demographers, as well as lesser known researchers have been contributing articles, documenting over the years the evolution of thinking in this important sphere.


Mobility as development strategy: The case of the Pacific Islands

Migration is often portrayed in terms of net gain or loss in which remittances provide the compensation for those States or territories which are seen as disadvantaged in the competition for especially skilled workers. In the Pacific region this dichotomy is illustrated through the loss for countries of origin (Pacific island countries and territories) of their “best and brightest” to the region’s larger and more prosperous States. This has occurred to such an extent that many see the limited development gains made by small island States and territories in the post World War Two period as being largely explained by the failure to counter the resulting inequalities in both “brain drain” and “brain gain”. This article argues that such a dichotomy misses those shared development gains reaped through increased labour mobility. Indeed, migration can underpin a “development dividend” for the region through the enhancement of increased mobility, including for low-skilled workers. Recent schemes have sought to balance both migration opportunities and development needs. While these are promising, much more could be done to support the conditions in which Pacific Islanders of all socio-economic status can circulate.


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