Solomon Islands remains committed to the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the core mandate discipline on peacebuilding, climate change mitigation, sustainable development goals (SDG), protection of cultural heritage and freedom of expression.
Minister for Education and Human Resources Development (MEHRD), Hon. Lanelle Tanangada highlighted these statements when delivering her address at the General Policy Debates of the 42nd Session of the UNESCO General Conference on Wednesday 8th November in Paris, at the UNESCO Headquarter.
She said Solomon Islands as a country is building peace initiatives to maintain peace and harmony amongst its people.
In recognition of that, the Solomon Islands include peace education in its curriculum to promote unity in diversity for future generations.
A testimony of peace building initiative in Solomon Islands is hosting of the Pacific Games from November 19th – 2nd December 2023 that will unify, not only nine provinces of the country but also 24 countries of the Pacific region.
Minister Lanelle also highlighted that the biggest threat to the country is the impact of climate change and natural disaster risks.
She said Solomon Islands, like other Pacific Island countries has experienced disasters and climate change, ranking second highest globally for disaster risk in 2021.
She added that Solomon Islands have experienced 29 major disaster events, primarily comprising extreme weather and climate-related hazards, followed by geophysical hazards over the past decades.
She said to mitigate the situation, the country has come up with measures including learning frameworks, teaching and learning resources to integrate and mainstream climate and disaster resilience and sustainable development, gender equality, conflict resolution, peace and unity, and social inclusion, including disability awareness.
Minister Lanelle also emphasised the pressing education issues that continue to face Small Island Developing States (SIDS) in the Pacific to achieve SDG goals.
She said in the context of Solomon Islands, the diverse cultures, values, geographical location of the Pacific Islands, connectivity, resources and assistance, the COVID-19 pandemic have remained challenges to ensuring students’ learning continuity as well as quality and relevance in basic education are achieved at some level.
“This calls for greater cooperation among SIDS and National Commissions to better contribute to UNESCO’s work in their countries as well as maintaining the visibility of UNESCO’s presence in the Pacific.
“For Education, as enshrined in the SDG4 and the Convention on the Rights of the Child, every child regardless of their background, ethnicity, religion or culture has the right to quality education, health, hygiene, care and protection,” Minister Lanelle said.
She said Solomon Islands is committed and can and will deliver adequate and quality educational services across the country, and is thriving to improve the education system in the country under the current education reform.
Minister Lanelle further highlighted that legal protection of cultural heritages remained a priority of her country to manage and administer.
She made reference in support of the East Rennell World Heritage Site program which Solomon Islands is working closely with UNESCO through Netherland Funds, Japan and interested partners in ensuring East Rennell is removed from the danger list by 2025.
In concluding her address, she emphasized the Solomon Islands long-term commitment to promoting freedom of expression and information.
She said Solomon Islands is pleased to have a media watch set up to maintain freedom of information by the Media Association of Solomon Islands (MASI).
In recognition of that, Minister Lanelle stated that the Solomon Islands National Commission of UNESCO had provided financial support to host the 6th Pacific Media Summit in September 2022 along with PINA and MASI. The theme of the media summit was, “The Digital Revolution – Transforming Threats into Opportunities for the Pacific Media.”