Executive summary - The Tokelau Government has been very vigilant in looking after its people. Tokelau people are very fortunate to have free access to basic services such as education and health. There are no extreme cases of poverty identified. The Health Programmes that have and are currently being implemented have resulted in Tokelau being free of major communicable diseases such as HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Dengue Fever. However, Tokelau is not exempt from incidences of non communicable diseases and faces the same global challenges regarding the main lifestyle diseases of hypertension, diabetes and obesity. These Health programmes also ensure that diseases are detected in their early stages and treated accordingly.
The global economic crisis and ongoing concerns about the negative effects of climate change can have serious impact on the future development of small island developing states (SIDS) like Tokelau. The global economy is forecast to grow at 3 percent on average per year, a rate below that of the last two decades (Global Economic Outlook 2012). The risk is when the economic slowdown affects the average growth of output per capita which means that people will struggle to maintain the current standard of living. On the environmental front decisions affecting climate change have to be swift and effective because of their undesirable effects in particular on low lying coral atolls such as Tokelau. The slowdown in the global economy will have an effect on the donor’s ability to assist developing countries.
Tokelau faces two main challenges: (i) strengthening and maintaining its partnerships with its development partners against a background of slow economic growth in donor countries themselves and; (ii) the sustainability of its environment against the serious threat of climate change.
Tokelau faces the threat of losing its nation if the strategies it employs today to preserve and sustain its environment are not correct or delayed in implementation. Coral erosion, sea and land pollution and changes in weather patterns all contribute to the future sustainability of their fragile environment. Tokelau will face food security issues and an increase in potential diseases if it fails to prioritize these issues immediately.
Tokelau will have to come up with ways to raise its revenue earning capacity or alternatively explore areas and avenues where they can reduce public expenditures whilst maintaining the required service delivery to its people. Tokelau’s effort to switch to renewable energy will cut down its reliance on imported fossil fuels especially diesel for electricity production.