Prime Minister Hon Manasseh Sogavare says Solomon Islands has much to learn from Finland’s success in the education and forestry sectors.
The Prime Minister made these remarks in a courtesy meeting this morning with the new Finnish Ambassador to Solomon Islands, His Excellency Lars Backström.
The courtesy meeting came after Ambassador Backström’s presentation of credentials to the Governor General, His Excellency Sir Frank Ofagioro Kabui at the Government House yesterday.
“Your Excellency, I’m very interested to learn about the education system in your country which I’ve learned is very successful to see if we can share ideas and learn from your experiences.
“Another area which I’ve also learned your country is successful in is forestry, and I would like to know if we can share ideas to help us improve on our policies on this front.
“Currently Solomon Islands relies very heavily on log exports for the bulk of its foreign currency receipts and this greatly impacts on our forest resources,” PM Sogavare tells Ambassador Backstrom.
Ambassador Backström in response welcomes the kind remarks by the Prime Minister on the Finnish education and forestry sectors and expresses that Finland would be pleased to share ideas and its experiences in these sectors with Solomon Islands.
He says Finland is at the top in Europe in terms of its education system, adding that every Finnish is literate.
The Ambassador adds that the salary and employment condition of teachers in Finland is at the same par with lawyers and medical doctors and this has attracted more people into the teaching profession.
He also says universities in Finland are tuition-free and furthermore, the Finnish Government provides ‘student’ loans for students to meet the cost of accommodation rentals and other welfare costs.
On forestry, Ambassador Backström says Finland is Europe’s mostly densely forested country and takes great good of its forests.
“Sustainable forest management is a key principle in Finland’s forest policy. If you cut down trees, you are required by law to replant them,” he adds.
Mr Sogavare and Ambassador Backström also touches on the issues of anti-corruption, meteorology, climate change, European Union’s (EU’s) Development Partnership with Solomon Islands and world peace.
On anti-corruption, Ambassador Backström acknowledges the Solomon Islands Government anti-corruption efforts and the Prime Minister in turn spoke of his determination to see the anti-corruption strategies and framework through Parliament.
On meteorology, the Ambassador speaks of Finland’s support towards the improvement of meteorological services, particularly in ensuring provision of early warnings of oncoming bad weather situations and this was acknowledged by the Prime Minister.
On climate change, Ambassador Backström acknowledges the efforts of the Solomon Islands Government on this issue and on that note, the Prime Minister expresses appreciation for the kind remarks and further states that Solomon Islands concerns about the issue of climate change will feature prominently in its intervention at the upcoming United Nations General Assembly.
On EU’s Development Partnership with Solomon Islands, Prime Minister Sogavare thanks Finland’s support towards this partnership and on that note Ambassador Backström assured him of Finland’s continued support on this front.
On World peace, both the Prime Minister and the Ambassador expresses desire to see nations live peacefully and harmoniously so as the need to put an end to wars that continue to cause untold suffering around the globe.
Ambassador Backström is also the Finnish Ambassador to Australia and resides in Canberra.
-PM Press Secretariat