HONIARA, SOLOMON ISLANDS (May 19, 2023) — In her first visit to Solomon Islands, Alicia Phillips Mandaville, Vice President of Policy and Evaluation at the U.S. Government’s Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) announced Viru Harbour, New Georgia Island in Western Province as the first community selected to benefit from the Forest Carbon Activity under the MCC-Solomon Islands Threshold Program (MCC-SITHP). The MCC-SITHP is an economic development partnership between the United States and the Government of Solomon Islands.
“We are excited to announce and begin the work of the Forest Carbon Activity which seeks to strengthen communities with economically viable alternatives to extractive logging,” said Vice President Phillips Mandaville. “The project is part of larger Forest Value Enhancement Project (FoVEP) which is designed to generate more reliable, sustainable benefits for Solomon Islanders through the country’s national forest resources, addressing climate change and enhancing economic opportunities while protecting forests for the future.”
Joined by Solomon Islands Government leaders, including Parliamentary Representative for Fataleka and Minister for National Planning and Development Coordination Rexon Ramofafia the event at Viru Harbour celebrated this important milestone. The project will result in a sustainable alternative income for the community by helping them participate in a system called the voluntary carbon market, where they will receive carbon credit revenue for protecting the site’s carbon reserves. The approach will still allow for traditional community use of the forest, and also provide assistance in reinvesting carbon payments in new community livelihood opportunities. The Solomon Islands Government and MCC-SITHP implementing partners will continue to work together to identify additional sites for inclusion in the Forest Carbon Activity in the coming months, with the aim of the Activity generating benefits on 6000 hectares of forest.
“The Forest Carbon Activity at Viru Harbour is a win for the community and a win for the environment,” MCC Resident Threshold Director Charles Jakosa noted. “Parts of New Georgia are susceptible to the effects of climate change, particularly rising sea levels, and this location is home to the last remaining lowland forest in Western Province. A genuine example of effective partnerships, the project is funded by the Millennium Challenge Corporation, supported by the Solomon Islands Government, and implemented by the Nakau Programme, Live & Learn Environmental Education, and the Natural Resources Development Foundation.”
Permanent Secretary Vaeno Vigulu from the Ministry of Forestry and Research noted that “the partnership with MCC is working to generate more reliable and sustainable benefits from our natural forest resources and preserve them for future generations. Together, this project in Western Province seeks to bolster communities, preserve the benefits that flow from forests, and promote the equal sharing of wealth with local communities.”
About the MCC-Solomon Islands Threshold Program
The MCC-Solomon Islands Threshold Program is a four-year $20 million grant investment developed and implemented in partnership between the Government of Solomon Islands and the U.S. Government through its Millennium Challenge Corporation. The partnership agreement was signed in 2022 and is currently working to increase economic opportunity for Solomon Islanders through investing in sustainable forestry practices and its tourism sectors. The grant funds are provided on behalf of the American people and are not loans our partners need to repay. Rather, they are investments in economic growth designed to enhance opportunities for the people of Solomon Islands. For more information, visit www.MCC.gov and www.sithp.com.sb.