While there are huge commitments being made and offered to assist countries to conserve, protect and manage their ocean resources, accessing finance for ocean projects is still a major obstacle for many Small Island Developing Countries (SIDS), including Solomon Island.
This sentiment was made by the Minister of Foreign Affairs and External Trade, Hon. Jeremiah Manele during his bilateral meeting with his Portuguese counter-part, Hon. Joao Gomes Cravinho in Lisbon, Portugal at the margins of the United Nations Oceans Conference (UNOC).
The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Portugal inform that there more money or increase in finance for Oceans given there is a lot of interest from investors and from development partners and organizations but the problem is, not enough projects to support.
Foreign Minister Manele welcome the update but reiterate that for Solomon Islands, accessing finance to support Ocean projects, programmes and initiatives in order to promote, protect and conserve our ocean resources is very challenging. There are huge commitments worth billions of dollars made but accessing them is extremely hard.
The criteria set by development partners and organizations although with good intentions makes it difficult for Small Island Developing States like Solomon Islands to access. Such obstacle makes it hard to implement the policies and programmes that countries have.
For Solomon Islands, the National Ocean Policy which was launched in 2019 by His Royal Highest, Prince Charles provided the governance framework and guide to address the issues and challenges faced by Our Oceans so getting the finance and support in the implementation of the National Oceans Policy is important.
Minister Manele thanked the government and people of Portugal for co-hosting the UNOC with Kenya and stressed the importance of the Oceans for Solomon Islands. As a large Ocean State in the Blue Pacific Ocean, “the Ocean defines who we are as people and nation. It is a key pillar of our development, and the foundation of our future. The health of our ocean is crucial to the wellbeing of our people and planet, and all forms of life below and above water”.
Minister Manele further acknowledge the support provided by Portugal to Solomon Islands through the European Union (EU) and further call on Portugal to support Solomon Islands through bilateral and multilateral mechanisms to address Ocean and Climate Change issues. The Portugese Foreign Minister assured Minister Manele that Portugal looks forward to working with Solomon Islands at the bilateral and multilateral levels to support Ocean projects and programmes.