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Environment report clears way for new Naha birthing & urban health centre to go ahead

One of the Naha Community Leaders, Tom Nanau, asking a question during the hearing.
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An official environment report has recommended that development consent be granted for the new SBD150-million Australian-funded Naha Birthing and Urban Health Centre in Honiara.

A public hearing of the project Public Environment Report was presented last week by the Ministry of Environment, Climate Change and Disaster Management (MECDM), in accordance with the Solomon Islands Environment Act. The process is being supported by the Solomon Islands Infrastructure Program (SIIP) to ensure that high quality, safe and long-lasting infrastructure is built in Solomon Islands, serving people for many years to come.

Independent report consultant, Mr Moses Biliki, told nearly 30 Naha community leaders and members gathered at the United Church Robert Kimisi Hall, that comprehensive assessments and consultations found the new health centre posed no serious environmental risks and should proceed. “Assessments cover all minimum requirements under the Environment Act and regulations,” Mr Biliki said.

“We have held consultations with many stakeholders including relevant government ministries, Honiara City Council, the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force, the National Council of Women, and now with you the community leaders and elders from Naha.”

The public hearing, which is in compliance with sections 22 and 24 of the Environment Act, aims to get feedback from communities affected by new development projects. It is a legal requirement and a prerequisite for the issuance of the development consent, to enable project activities to start on site. MECDM Principal Environment Officer, Philip Riogano, was on hand to explain the process to the community.

 “The 30-day notice was issued on 28 March by the Director of Environment and Conservation, which gives community members time to submit in writing any grievance or questions they might have regarding the project. Submissions close 27 April when the notice lapses,” said Mr Riogano

Also speaking at the hearing, Solomon Islands Infrastructure Program’s (SIIP) Climate and Community Manager Hudson Kauhiona said that SIIP fully supports the government’s formal processes to ensure that high quality and long lasting infrastructure is built in Solomon Islands to serve people for many years to come.

 “The ministry is leading the hearing which is a very crucial component of the public environment report, and SIIP is playing a supporting role to ensure the requirements are duly met.” The Naha Birthing and Urban Health Centre is a flagship investment in the health of Solomon Islanders, funded by the Australian Government and implemented by the Solomon Islands Infrastructure Program.

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