A one-day workshop to validate the first ever Solomon Islands Constituency Development (SICD) Policy 2023-2033 which is currently in its drafting stage were successfully held on Tuesday 6th December, 2022 at the Heritage Park Hotel in Honiara.
This was after the policy concept paper undergone 3 months of nationwide consultation covering seven provinces including the Solomon Islands working professionals and academics studying at the University of the South Pacific (USP) and various institutions in Fiji.
Government Permanent Secretaries, Senior government officials, diplomatic corps and dignitaries, Private sector and Non-government organization representatives attended the workshop.
It was successful meeting as participants contributed constructively to the home-grown policy with invaluable inputs and recommendations that will lead towards reforming the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) and also on approaches to improve the CDF mechanism towards advancing rural development in our rural areas to improve livelihoods of every Solomon Islanders.
Honorable Minister for the Ministry of Rural Development Dudley Kopu in his official remark said SICD policy is aligned with DCGA Policy Objectives: 18.104.22.168 (a) Review of CDF Act and Implementation of its regulations.
“Despite the many criticisms against the CDF, it continues to touch the lives of our people in the remote areas of the country. Therefore, this policy once implemented will improve and strengthen the governance, transparency and accountability practices of CDF. It is the intention of the government to support this new policy that will lead to the review of the CDF Act 2013.”
Discussions were centered on the structure of the Policy, Vision, Mission, Guiding Principles, Policy Goals, Policy Outcomes, Implementation/ Monitoring and Partnership/Collaboration.
Outcome of discussions were positive giving MRD as the custodian of the policy the nod to move ahead with the development of the policy.
United Nations Development Program (UNDP) Country Manager Berdi Berdiyev acknowledged MRD for undertaking this important policy reform that will lead towards reforming the constituency developments and decentralizing government services in the rural areas.
“As UNDP, we are quite pleased to support today’s consultation event as the work to set up a policy, places CDFs in a framework that is consistent with international norms and values about legislative performances, promotes good governance, transparency reduces opportunities for corruption, and nepotism and promotes a more comprehensive development effort.”
He stated that UNDP, globally and regionally, through several areas of development assistance offered, has been working with countries to support their efforts in the development and implementation of good governance frameworks for CDFs.
Both Minister Kopu and Permanent Secretary Dr. Samson Viulu expressed their profound appreciation on behalf of MRD and the Solomon Islands Government’s to UNDP for its support towards the SICDP Validation Workshop.
Minister Kopu also thanked all the participants for their invaluable inputs and feedbacks towards the formulation of the policy.
“With your respected technical knowledge, experiences, competencies, and comparative advantage, our ministry will take on board all your constructive feedbacks and move forward with the development of the policy for the betterment of our rural people.”
Permanent Secretary Dr. Viulu also applauded participants for their critical input and recommendations and affirmed it will add more value to the draft policy at hand at the moment.
“We know we cannot do this alone, but we believe we can do better by working closely with our stakeholders and partners,” he added.
Dr. Viulu further added that this new policy direction seeks to take an integrated approach and therefore MRD values the strong partnership and collaboration with its key stakeholders and partners (SIG line ministries, Donors, and Private Sector).
Special Secretary to the Prime Minister Albert Kabui from the Office of the Prime Minister also attended the afternoon session and thanked the participants for their contribution and affirmed that the current government fully supports this undertaking.
MRD also acknowledged the presence of the Japanese Ambassador to the Solomon Islands, His Excellency MIWA Yoshiaki, British High Commissioner Tom Coward, Deputy Commissioner of New Zealand Ms. Kate Bradlow, and the Peoples Republic of China (PRC) Embassy Attaché Mr. Wang Xuan at the workshop.
– MRD Press