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Increase Level of Political Commitment to Green Growth

Political commitments to a sustainable economy achieved through green growth are often a desirable approach by governments but one that is not considered necessary to make. In delivering his speech to Government, business and civil society leaders at the Pacific Islands Development Forum (PIDF), the Prime Minister of Solomon Islands, Honourable Gordon Darcy, reiterated the need for more effective and continuous engagement. “If we see our communities become vibrant, alive, and sustainable, I suggest, leaders must increase their level of political commitment to the Green Growth Framework,” he said. “To look at it another way, political commitment must be added as the fourth pillar to

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Environment Protection, Economic Growth and Social Development, the three existing pillars.” In sharing some broad experiences on sustainability of the archipelagic state, Mr. Darcy highlighted certain activities which the Solomon Islands undertook for the sake of economic growth that were not necessarily sustainable. “The Solomon Islands have extreme patterns of endemism and species differentiation making

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it a biological hotspot. Yet, on the other hand, our population depends on the fish, mangroves, tress and ecosystems for their livelihoods therefore threatening not only the biological diversity, but the systems that support them such as fresh water.” “The national economy is heavily depended on the harvest of tress, minerals, fish and other natural resources are harvested often at an unsustainable rate. Indeed, the country has moved from forestry and soon to be mining, with the real possibility of repeating the same mistakes if no drastic action are taken to change our pattern of extraction.” “We have one of the highest per cent of population growth and natural increase in population. With a small services sector and industrial base, the pressure on primary resource is intense. “Coupled with climate change as a Pacific wide phenomenon, there is a clear risk that consumption and extraction may undermine the systems which support the livelihoods of the majority of our population.” In response to these activities and in recognition of the needs for a more lasting approach to economic gain, Mr. Darcy shared an initiative in which the Solomon Islands government is currently engaged in. “It is pressures such as these that force us to begin re-thinking our future and what it means to be on this trajectory. These provide the set of aspirations and the underlying strategy is sustainable development”

He added, “considering our circumstances and the National Development Strategy 2011-2020 and with the assistance of NGOs and civil society organisations, in March this year, I convened the Prime Ministers Round Table on Development, Society and Environment. “ The Prime Ministers Round Table was set up to focus on three areas of forestry, mining and fisheries. Members of this consultative group included representatives from Government, the private sector and civil society. “The roundtable was established so as the Government can engage in a consultative process to capture the concerns of all stakeholders as well as develop a pattern of development which can achieve our national goals and address sustainable resource management, strengthened resilience towards climate change and create innovative partnerships between development entrepreneurs.” “The real advantage is that it gives people the power to know how their resources had been used. This transparency opens up the space for revenues to be directed properly to build schools and investments for the future generations of the region.” In achieving political commitment, Mr. Darcy shared certain fundamentals. “Having a national set of goals which is broadly supported paves the way for political consensus. The ability to rally support for accomplishing a set of nationally defined set of goals takes you a long way.” “Leaders must stand behind those goals, monitor at every turn of implementation and ready to supply the resources where needed. This applies throughout the process of implementation, whether that at Cabinet level, Senior Official levels or in the field.” “Access to a pool of technical and administrative staff that could be deployed at short notice for reinforcement also paves to have worked in Solomon Islands where human resources are scarce. Multi-year budgeting for crucial national projects is also key for successful implementation.” The Solomon Islands one of several countries that is currently being represented at the Pacific Islands Development Forum alongside each country’s, private sector and civil society representatives. The Pacific Islands Development Forum brings together business and civil society leaders from the Pacific to secure the future of the Pacific through the blue/green economy approach.