The Solomon Islands Planned Relocation Guidelines was handed over to the Government at a ceremony in Honiara Friday last week.
Funded by the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the Guidelines outline the institutional arrangements for undertaking planned relocation, and the steps to follow before, during and after relocation.
A consultative, evidence-based and gender-mainstreamed approach was adopted to developing the Guidelines, with engagement of over 300 stakeholders through key informant interviews, focus group discussions and consultation workshops at both central and provincial levels.
The Guidelines will equip Government and partners to manage relocation efforts in a way that is safe, rights-based and effective, and that will achieve durable solutions for those affected.
The Solomon Islands Government sought support from the IOM to develop the planned relocation guidelines after identifying this subject as a key gap limiting efforts to manage planned relocations in the context of climate change.
Solomon Islands is prone to tropical cyclones, earthquakes, floods, and tsunamis, and the lives of thousands have been affected due to disaster related displacement. Slow-onset disasters such as sea level rise (SLR) are further undermining the security of communities in low-lying coastal areas of Solomon Islands.
Planned relocation is a planned process in which persons or groups move or are assisted to move away from their homes or places of temporary residence, are settled in a new location, and provided with the conditions for rebuilding their lives.
It is carried out under the authority of the State, takes place within national borders, and is undertaken to protect people from risks and impacts related to disasters and environmental changes, including the effects of climate change.
The purpose of the development of relocation guidelines is to contribute to resilience to disasters, climate change and environmental degradation through planned relocation of communities inhabiting areas affected by slow onset changes and sudden onset disasters in Solomon Islands.
This is to ensure adequate guidelines are in place to support a strategy of last resort. A critical part of achieving this central objective is ensuring that the developed relocation guidelines facilitate the protection of the rights and dignity of relocated persons and the achievement of durable solutions.
The Ministry Environment and the Ministry of Lands are the key implementing Ministries of this planned relocation exercise.