This Report on Ascension Island was commissioned by the Overseas Territories Department of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in September 1999. The Report comprises of three sections. Section one, called a fiscal survey, addresses the issue of how to finance the provision of public services on the island. Section two ? an economic survey ? is largely descriptive and provides an introduction to Ascension's geography, population, political-economic environment, constitutional and legal arrangements, and the current public service provision and principal physical infrastructure. In the final section we apply a strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats analysis to the island, and use this as the basis for an examination of the longer-term development options for Ascension Island.
This consultancy project has been predicated upon participation throughout the process of its preparation. The project team visited Ascension Island in November 1999 for a comprehensive programme of meetings; interviews; statistical data collection; social and economic mapping; and archive research. In February 2000 team members visited Saint Helena for two weeks for an extensive consultation programme with the Saint Helenian Government, the Legislative and Executive Councils, and with a wide range of islanders. We anticipate that a second round of consultation may take place after the publication of this report to enable the interested parties to respond to the report. For this reason the report should be regarded as a work-in-progress rather than a signed, sealed and delivered fait accompli.
It is our hope that this Report will provide a basis for taking important decisions about the future role and development of Ascension Island. We are grateful to the many people both in the South Atlantic and in the United Kingdom who willingly gave up their time to meet the project team to discuss Ascension Island. We hope that they will also be prepared to give up their time for the second round of consultation and dissemination. We are also particularly grateful to Ben Cattermoul and Nikola Farmer for the enthusiastic support that they provided for our research. The contents of this Report and any shortcomings are,