The Solomon Islands Government and the Pacific Community (SPC) have formally signed a new Country Program for 2019 -2021.
The care taker Minister of Foreign Affairs and External Trade Hon. Milner Tozaka and the Pacific Community Deputy Director General Dr Audrey Aumua signed the documents on 1st March in a ceremony held at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and External Trade Headquarters.
The new Country Programme (the Programme) provides the direction for the Pacific Community’s (SPC) engagement with Solomon Islands over the next three years.
It outlines key actions that the Government of the Solomon Islands and SPC agreed through a consultation process that began in June 2018.
The signing marks one of the first country programmes for an SPC member that has been developed and endorsed since the ‘joint country strategies’ (precursors to country programmes).
It will be used to guide further planning, implementation and monitoring on an annual basis to support the achievement of development outcomes for Solomon Islands and to consider potential impact pathways to the Sustainable Development Goals.
In his remarks during the signing ceremony, the care taker Minister acknowledged the partnership with the Pacific Community saying that the partnership had been in existence since the country gained independence and Solomon Islands together with other Pacific countries and territories have benefitted greatly from the various technical assistance.
“This occasion is a significant one for the Solomon Islands especially with our preparation for graduation from the Least Developed Country status and our efforts to combat non communicable diseases.
“The Government of Solomon Islands recognised the importance of this partnership and look forward for more enhanced engagement under the key priority areas on data improvement and statistical analysis and sustainable agriculture,” Hon. Milner Tozaka said in his remarks.
The caretaker Minister expressed his confident that the new partnership will increase the level of engagement across the sectorial ministries and may provide an opportunity for SPC to reconsider Honiara a regional hub.
Meanwhile in her reply, the Pacific Community Deputy Director General Dr Audrey Aumua said that SPC has long supported the Government of Solomon islands in many areas such as fisheries, gender and youth, public health, disaster response and risk reduction, environment, climate change.
“SPC will continue to work with your government on existing initiatives that we have with you such as fisheries, Oceans science and governance, education through our PILNA on literacy and numeracy, Disaster risk reduction, gender mainstreaming, youth development and other regional initiatives”, Dr. Aumae said.
The signing ceremony was witnessed by officials from MDPAC, MFAET, MAL, MMERE and SPC.