Prime Minister honourable Manasseh Damukana Sogavare this morning hosted Permanent Secretaries of Government Ministries in a historical virtual on-line conference, a precursor to a Virtual Engagement Policy the Government is working on.
Welcoming the Permanent Secretaries on the online platform, Prime Minister Sogavare said, the OPMC-PIMEU under his direction had assigned the PIMEU to consult with relevant Ministries develop and formalize a Solomon Islands Government Virtual Engagement Policy (SIG-VEP).
He explained, the Solomon Islands Government Virtual Engagement Policy (VEP), still under consultation process, once approved will be two-pronged strategy.
“Strategy 1 deals with VEP Mechanism to ensure Public Servants can access and attend to international virtual meetings and engagements, and Strategy two, dealing with the coordination mechanism of all national virtual meetings and engagements to strategically align national goals and objectives to our international engagements and commitments,” the Prime Minister explained.
Prime Minister Sogavare said, the SIG-VEP consultation notes will assist in the actual drafting of the Policy to be adopted by the Government.
The Permanent Secretaries were further informed of the objectives of the policy;
Prime Minister Sogavare underlined, virtual engagement is now the new norm in international relations and diplomacy in foreign policy engagements, bilateral and multilateral meetings.
The closure of international borders and travel restrictions imposed by foreign Governments, has resulted in many countries and organizations are now resorting to virtual platform in the conduct of their meetings and conferences, he adds.
“For Solomon Islands, our regional and international engagements and commitments, continued to be enhanced and advanced, especially during this period of COVID-19pandemic,” said Prime Minister Sogavare.
In this regard, the Prime Minister commended all Government Ministries and officials, who despite the challenges posed by COVID-19 global pandemic, continue to engage and represent Solomon Islands in various virtual meetings.
He said, “this is also in line with Democratic Coalition Government Advancement (DCGA) policy statement of pursuing a forward-looking foreign policy that harnesses maximum benefit from our diplomatic relations premised on an open engagement policy of being a friend to all and an enemy to none.”
The Prime Minister emphasised, having such mechanisms in place, and formalizing our Virtue Engagement Policy, will ensure SIG continue its regional and international engagements and commitments, especially during this COVID-19 pandemic.
In the next couple of days, the Prime Minister explained, officials from the Office of the Prime Minister and Cabinet will be engaging with ministries on the revised draft for submission to Cabinet for endorsement of the Government Virtual Engagement Policy Document.