The Solomon Islands recently launched National Urbanization Policy has attracted the attention of the UN Economic and Social Commission for the Asia Pacific (ESCAP) this week at the 8th Asia Pacific Urbanization Forum in Suwon city, South Korea.
This was highlighted during a bilateral meeting between Lands, Housing and Survey Minister, Hon. Ishmael Avui and the ESCAP Executive Secretary Armida Alisjahbana at the margins of the 8th APUF in Suwon City.
Alisjahbana expressed ESCAP’s eagerness to further bolster its support to Solomon Islands and the policy document is a valuable guideline that will direct further collaboration between ESCAP and the Solomon Islands Government through the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Survey.
“It is vital that your Government has launched this policy, which is a road map for further collaboration between the Solomon Islands Government and ESCAP,” she said.
The Solomon Islands National Urban Policy (SI NUP) was successfully launched on 20th October 2023. The United Nations through its agencies, ESCAP and the UNHabitat for Humanity initially provided technical support for the formulation of the NUP.
Alisjahbana pledge to support the Solomon Islands Government in implementing the NUP, more specifically in areas such as strengthening resilience and digital transformation.
In his remarks, Minister Avui emphasized the importance of linking urban development programmes to rural areas where the majority of people in Solomon Islands reside.
“For a small country like Solomon Islands where 80 percent of land and resources are customary owned in rural areas, it is important that we collaborate to develop programmes that is inclusive for improving the livelihood of rural dwellers,” Avui said.
The Minister referred to affordable housing schemes such as those in the rural areas or semi-urban settlements such as in the Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia as examples of expanding urban development to rural areas or the country’s 50 constituencies.
Avui also emphasized the need for increased urban financing programmes, which countries such as the Solomon Islands can access to implement its urbanization programmes.