The immense distance between islands in the Pacific creates challenges for accessing resources, particularly for women. Targeted policies, tailored for their needs, are required.

The Pacific atoll nations – Kiribati, Tuvalu, and the Republic of Marshall Islands – have largely and commendably retained their pristine, peaceful and culturally-rich locales.

Their small size and distance from intensely developed islands protects local people from pandemics and encroaching modernity that often erodes otherwise strong indigenous socio-cultural institutions, relations and networks of support. However, the geographic distance also creates issues.

This is perhaps best exemplified in Kiribati – an atoll nation straddling the equator and made up of 33 islands spread across three island groups: the Gilbert Islands, Phoenix Islands and Line Islands.

These islands are located over a vast geographical area equivalent to approximately 3.5 million square kilometers (3900 kms from east to west and 2100 kms north to south).

A version of this article appears in the print on March 30, 2021, of The Himalayan Times.