(MPGIS Press 24 July 2023) Speaking during the official opening of a two-week orientation workshop of over 70 officers, including Provincial Secretaries at HP Hotel on 24 July 2023, Minister for MPGIS, Hon. Seleso underscored the importance of the orientation training to the leaders of the Nine Provinces as well as the government of Solomon Islands.
He said, “This training covers relevant areas that are very critical to the achievement of our National Development Strategic Objectives which promotes investment in strategic resilient economic infrastructure to support our economic growth in the aftermath of Covid-19”.
The two weeks training covers various modules such as; how to raise awareness on climate change, resilient informed development planning at provincial and community levels through mainstreaming climate change and disaster risk in provincial planning processes, risk informed planning, resilient building and risk screening and the PCDF processes. “These are international standards that we must try to adopt given the vulnerability of our investments” Seleso emphasised.
The Minister profoundly appreciates the leadership of the MECDM in incorporating training modules that will help participants understand the national policy on climate change and disaster risk management. More so the collaborative efforts between the IEDCR team and the MECDM to incorporate climate change and hazard mapping into ward profiling, which the Minister hopes will help Provinces to generate critical baseline data that may be very useful not only to Provincial level planning but also to Government Agencies who are key stakeholders in adaptation and mitigation efforts.
The Minister commended the Six Provincial Governments that have so far completed the first ever risk screening of all PCDF approved projects of 2022/23 most of which are being implemented in 2023/24. They are Isabel: Choiseul, Malaita, Western, Guadalcanal and Makira Ulawa. This, he stated, demonstrates that the application of risk screening tools to the Provincial Infrastructure projects may soon become an acceptable practice in all Provinces. He expressed hopes that the participants’ understanding of environment and social risk screening of the World Bank and other agencies shall be further enhanced in the training.
Seleso expressed sincere appreciation for the support given by development partners who collaborated with the World Bank funded IEDCR project in organising this orientation workshop. In addition to the technical inputs, the development partners contributed immensely to the cost of the workshop. UN Partners, mainly UNDP Fiji-Governance for Resilience covered the cost of accommodation for Provincial participants. UNCDF and UNDP-UNICEF Solomon Islands covered greater part of the catering cost, while UN Agencies did not only support the World Bank in co-sharing the financing of the workshop, but they are physically here to facilitate most aspects of the workshop in collaboration with the World Bank team. The World Bank team and the UN agencies worked tirelessly in the past couple of weeks to finalise the technical content of the training.
“On behalf of the Government of Solomon Islands, I extend the nations appreciation to the: Head of World Bank Office in Honiara, Resident Representative of United Nations Office in Fiji, and the Head of the UN Joint Presence Office in Honiara for their support to this workshop in particular to the country’s development efforts in general”, Seleso stated.
Minister Seleso spoke highly of such cost-effective collaboration between the SIG and Development Partners delivering as one. He stated that the SIG would like to see more of this joint initiative since all Development Partners are targeting the same people in the same Provinces and in the same communities. This joint approach does not only save time and efforts, but it also saves immense resources critical for usage in other areas of community development, and helps MPGIS and MECDM to avoid duplication of activity funding thus strengthening synergy.
He urges the Ministry to continue this path of collaboration as a concerted strategic move to implement various components of the various projects under PGSP citing that this approach will maximize expected outcomes from various activities that may be delivered in a more cost-effective manner.
With the recent signing of the Letter of Agreement for the implementation of EU funded Provincial Governance Service Delivery Project (PGSD) administered by UNDP and UNICEF, the collaboration between the Provincial Governments and the key sectors of Education and Health at the Provincial level shall be further enhanced, Seleso cited.
The Minister , expressed expectation that this project shall help bridge the gap between Education and Health sectors and the Provincial Governments in Provincial Service Delivery. The Provincial Health Directors and the Chief Education Officers are in the workshop to create a common understanding that there is a need to deliver as one. He emphasised that a disjointed approach towards service delivery will not help in maximizing synergies thus the need to strengthen constructive working relationships and clarify roles and responsibilities to determine who is responsible for what and who is to pay for what in Health and Education Service Delivery to our rural population.
The Minister further urged all provincial participants to pay greater attention to UNCDF Local Climate Adaptive Living Facility (LoCAL) project overview and the tools required for planning and reporting of its investments as preparations for its launching is about to commence. The participation of UNCDF in this workshop to share key areas of LoCAL project as a performance-based grant, anchored on PCDF, is very timely, and appreciated, he stated. He extended the SIG’s appreciation to the Government of New Zealand and the European Union for signing the financing agreement to support our provinces with climate change adaptation funding.
For the first time Provincial Officers who could not make it to the workshop tuned in through the zoom link, an initiative funded by UNDP through IEDCR that is connecting Provinces to Honiara through high technology. This gives opportunity to eight of the nine provinces who have had their IEDCR funded zoom facilities installed and tested to follow the training. This innovative approach would surely promote the participation of our officers in any location, Seleso stated.
Earlier Permanent Secretary of the MPGIS, Stanley Dick Pirione who spoke on behalf of the MPGIS and MECDM cited the relevance of the workshop to the Provincial and Ministry officers. He added that the workshop was a culmination of days of planning by technical officers of the IEDCR at both MPGIS and MECDM, international facilitators, and development partners.
PS Pirione welcomed the international facilitators and participants. The international facilitators are Bonnie Cavanough, World Bank ESF Specialist, Lisa Buggy, UNDP Fiji Resilient Informed Development Specialist, Melissa Tipping, UNCDF Fiji based Program Manager for LoCAL, Abigail Tevera, UNICEF WASH Specialist, Mozammel Haque, UNDP Program Manager for EU funded PGSD project, and Lynelle Tina Popot, UNDP Resilient Development Advisor.
The IEDCR Orientation Workshop is part of activities of the Integrated Economic Development and Community Resilience (IEDCR) project that aims at increasing access to economic and social infrastructure in rural wards, deliver climate and disaster resilience actions, and enhance Provincial Governments’ accountability to citizens. The IEDCR is co implemented by the MPGIS and MECDM through the Nine Provinces using the Provincial Capacity Development Fund (PCDF) modality of the Provincial Governance Strengthening Programme (PGSP). The workshop will end on 1st August 2023. END###