- Welcome to the Solomon Islands
- Solomon Islands in the Commonwealth
- Solomon Islands became a member of the Commonwealth in 1978
- Solomon Islands became an independent country on the 7th of July 1978
- Solomon Islands has been competing in the Commonwealth Games since 1982
- Solomon Islander Dr Jimmie Rodgers became Director-General of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community in 2005
- The Commonwealth Youth Programme’s South Pacific Centre is based in Honiara
- The country is an archipelago in the south-west Pacific, consisting of a double chain of rocky islands and some small coral islands
- The rocky islands are remarkable for their steep rugged mountains, of which the highest, Makarakomburu, on Guadalcanal Island, rises to 2,293m
- Almost 80% of Solomon Islands is covered by forest
- The country has some 5,300km of coastline
- 2000 Fourth Commonwealth Youth Ministers Meeting in Honiara
Hon. Manasseh Damukana Sogavare
Prime Minister of the Solomon Islands
Human activities over the years have resulted in environmental degradation, pollution, soil erosion, depletion and near extinction of certain species of flora and fauna. These are being compounded by natural phenomena like El Niño; La Niña; climate change including global warming and sea level rise – posing serious threats to the lives of not only Commonwealth citizens, but the rest of our planet’s citizens.
Among the most vulnerable, are the small islands developing states, including our own country, Solomon Islands. Sea level rise is no longer a potential threat but a real one. Some of our island communities in the Pacific are already experiencing the effects of sea level rise.
My government wish to acknowledge the various steps and strategies that the Commonwealth with other sister organisations like the United Nations, have taken or recommended to address these threats. My government’s creation of a separate Ministry – The Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Meteorology, is in recognition of the urgency to address these environmental threats. In addition, the CNURA Government is fully cognisant of the need to integrate appropriate strategies into our national development plans to ensure our programmes and projects are not only environmentally friendly, but also improve the quality of life of our people.
The Solomon Islands Government is committed to working closely with other Commonwealth countries to fight climate change and collectively implement the ‘Lake Victoria Commonwealth Climate Change Action Plan’, which Commonwealth Heads of Government adopted at their meeting last year in Kampala, Uganda.
We also reaffirm our support for the 1989 Langkawi Declaration on Environment – a declaration which marks the first time Commonwealth Heads of Governments defined their environmental concerns and acknowledges the ‘serious deterioration in the environment and the threat this poses to the well being of present and future generations.’ Members of the Commonwealth must take a united stand to implement the various strategies based on this Declaration, as well as, other strategies adopted by the Commonwealth Environment Ministers.
Climate Change, undoubtedly, is the major challenge facing the Commonwealth, and the world for that matter in the 21st century. It is a global challenge that calls for a global response.
I also on this occasion, acknowledge the continuing relevance of the Commonwealth in its efforts to foster international peace and security; democracy; liberty of the individual; equal rights for all; eradication of poverty, ignorance, and diseases; and its opposition to all forms of racial discrimination. The government espouses or subscribes to these very democratic principles and values.
Furthermore, I wish to express the gratitude and appreciation of the Government and people of Solomon Islands to the Commonwealth Secretariat for its continuing contribution and support to our country’s peace and development endeavours. Solomon Islands is honoured to host the regional headquarters of the Commonwealth Youth Programme (CYP). My government will do its best to support the work of the CYP and fulfil our host country obligations. The onus is also on us to fully utilize the services that CYP can offer, especially in addressing the problems facing our youth.
I wish to assure the Secretary General, Mr. Kamlesh Sharma, of Solomon Islands continuing support and cooperation. We are confident that the sustainable development and environmental challenges facing small island developing states of the Commonwealth will continue to be at the forefront of the Secretariat’s work programme.
The above is an extract from a statement provided for the Commonwealth of Nations website by former Prime Minister, Honourable Dr. Derek Sikua on the Occasion of Commonwealth Day on 10 March 2008, CYP, Honiara.
Solomon Islands in the Commonwealth
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Commonwealth meetings hosted
Assistance for the Administration of Justice – Puisne Judge (2007/08)
The placement of a Puisne Judge was extended for a further two years. The expert, who was provided for by the Commonwealth Secretariat, was one of three specialist judges appointed to the Bench of the Solomon Islands to strengthen the capacity of the judiciary, as some serving judges were ineligible to hear cases arising from civil war. The expert heard criminal and civil cases and was responsible for improving the administration of justice in general. He also worked with the Registrar of the High Court to improve the flow of cases to the court through proper listing, processing and compiling cases and checking all civil and criminal papers filed at the Registry of the High Court.
Assistance for re-opening the Gold Ridge Mine (2007/08)
The Government asked the Commonwealth Secretariat for technical advice on the re-opening of the Gold Ridge Mine. The Commonwealth Secretariat had provided assistance in the 1990s with the negotiation and conclusion of the agreements under which the Gold Ridge Mine was first launched but the mine had recently been shut-down because of civil unrest. The re-opening of Gold Ridge was a key element in sustainable development and poverty reduction.
Assessment Mission and Commonwealth Observer Groups (COG) (2005/06)
COGs are invited by Governments to observe elections in order to assess adherence to the democratic procedures and principles that ensure elections are held in a credible manner, thus contributing to a stable political environment.
Constitutional Lawyer (2003)
A constitutional lawyer was provided, on behalf of the Commonwealth, to the Government of the Solomon Islands to assist in constitutional reform and drafting of a new Federal Constitution. The Lawyer worked together with a UNDP expert team on the constitutional reform project. The constitutional lawyer finalised the drafting instructions and produced a Draft Federal Constitution for the Solomon Islands. The project aimed to facilitate devolution of power and decision making to the provinces, a key factor the peace process.
HIV Aids and the Media Programme (1999)
This was a programme conducted by the Commonwealth, with UN AIDS, to communicate various media messages on HIV/AIDS to targeted social groups within the Solomon Islands.