The Characteristics of Locally Led Development in the Pacific

Open Access Journal | ISSN: 2183-2463

Article | Open Access

The Characteristics of Locally Led Development in the Pacific


  • Chris Roche Institute for Human Security and Social Change, La Trobe University, Australia
  • John Cox Institute for Human Security and Social Change, La Trobe University, Australia
  • Mereani Rokotuibau Balance of Power Program, Pacific Women Shaping Pacific Development, Fiji
  • Peni Tawake Australia Pacific Training Coalition, Fiji
  • Yeshe Smith Institute for Human Security and Social Change, La Trobe University, Australia


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Abstract:  There is a growing recognition of the effectiveness of locally led processes of social change and development. However, most of the case studies that have been discussed in the literature are focused on programs run by international development agencies. This article examines three locally led processes of change in the Pacific. These include the Simbo for Change Initiative in the Solomon Islands, the Voice in Papua New Guinea and a regional process led by the Green Growth Coalition. We explore how local understandings of leadership, preferences for informal ways of working, holistic ways of thinking, the importance placed upon maintaining good relationships and collective deliberation fundamentally shaped each of the cases. We note how these preferences and ways of working are often seen, or felt, to be at odds with western modes of thought and the practice of development agencies. Finally, we conclude by exploring how these initiatives were supported by external agencies, and suggest further research of this type might provide benchmarks by which Pacific citizens can hold their governments and development agencies to account.

Keywords:  coalitions; development; developmental leadership; livelihoods; local development; Pacific; politics

Published:   25 November 2020


DOI: https://doi.org/10.17645/pag.v8i4.3551


© Chris Roche, John Cox, Mereani Rokotuibau, Peni Tawake, Yeshe Smith. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.