PM Hou renews call for closer co-operation between government and development partners

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PM Rick Hou opens the Joint SIG-Development Partners dialogue at Mendana Hotel.

Prime Minister Rick Hou has renewed his call for closer cooperation between Solomon Islands and its Development partners in order to further progress socio-economic development in the country.

In his address at the opening of the 2017 Second Joint Solomon Islands-Development Partners Dialogue in Honiara today (6/12/17), Prime Minister Hou said for too long the Government has left our development partners in the cold which has negatively affected the progress of important government programmes.

The dialogue gathers together top representatives from the donor community and senior officials from the Solomon Islands Government to chart a new direction to move the country forward.

“My Government will take extra efforts in working closely with each and every one of our development partners as we work towards our common goal to move this country forward in the interest of everyone,” Mr Hou said.

Considering the slow stagnant growth in recent years and difficulties in providing basic and essential services to people, the current Government under the leadership of Mr Hou has recognized the need to develop a new visionary pathway to guide socio-economic development in Solomon Islands.

This road map is contained in the National Development Strategy (NDS) 2016-2035 which was successfully launched in April 2016.

The NDS provides a longer term framework that lays the foundations for economic growth and long term sustainable developments which some major development partners has already embraced and have taken steps to align their bilateral and multilateral aid programmes with.

At the international level, a number of important development frameworks have been adopted, including the 2030 Agenda on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs); the Paris Agreement and Addis Ababa Action Agenda (Financing for Development Framework) and the Istanbul Programme of Action (IPoA).

These new global frameworks call for a paradigm shift in cooperation especially in seeking partnerships in large transformative programmes and projects in the country’s informal sector where eighty per cent of the population lives. These global frameworks also demand the Government and donors to break with business as usual approach and reset their relations.

At the regional level, the Forum Compact endorsed by Pacific Leaders in 2009, also embrace the global commitments to aid effectiveness and development cooperation. The importance of effective development cooperation was again reaffirmed in Busan in 2011, as espoused in the Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation.

“The Solomon Islands Government fully recognizes the critical role which you, our development partners, play in the development efforts of this country,” Mr Hou said.

The Prime Minister further noted that Development assistance continues to comprise a significant proportion of Solomon Islands development budget and the country is considered one of the most aid dependent nations in the world with foreign aid likely to remain an enduring feature of the Solomon Islands economy for some time.

Mr Hou believes that it is now time to take a cold, hard look at the future of Solomon Islands since all past efforts have too little to hope for and obviously more still needs to be done.

“I suggest there is no better time than now to unite all these efforts more closely under the common goal to make a better Solomon Islands for all Solomon Islanders ‘leaving no one behind’, hence, we must now act in unity to make that difference,” Mr Hou said.

-Gov’t Comms Unit