THE Solomon Islands Government (SIG) and the Embassy of Japan in Honiara have held a fruitful bilateral dialogue on Economic Development Cooperation.
The high-level dialogue took place at the Heritage Park Hotel in Honiara on Thursday 20 October 2022 – some 10 years after a similar dialogue was held in 2013.
Discussions were based on issues of mutual interest and concern, to map out a strategic direction for their partnership and development cooperation over the coming years.
Representing SIG were Permanent Secretaries, Deputy Secretaries and directors from the government ministries.
Representing the Government of Japan were the Japanese Ambassador to Solomon Islands H.E. MIWA Yoshiaki, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) Resident Representative Mr. Watanabe Takeshi, First Secretary at the Embassy of Japan, Mr. Nishimura Yoshihiko and senior officials from the Embassy of Japan and JICA office in Honiara.
The two parties discussed on closely harnessing and building stronger cooperation on the areas of forestry, fisheries, agriculture, maritime security, tourism, renewable energy, communication technology, climate change, disaster preparedness and response, and capacity building.
Minister of National Planning and Development Cooperation (MNPDC), Hon. Rexon Ramofafia highlighted the importance of the dialogue at the opening session.
“Today’s discussions will map out important and relevant priorities for our future engagement moving forward and that you will also carefully consider the nature of our relationship and how we can jointly ensure greater development effectiveness,” Hon Ramofafia said.
The Minister extended his sincere appreciation to the Government and people of Japan for the continuous friendship, support and partnership over the past years.
MNPDC Permanent Secretary and Co-chair of the dialogue, Ms. Susan Sulu stressed that the partnership of SIG and the Government of Japan continues to be forward looking.
On the Forestry, agriculture and tourism sectors, the discussions covered the importance of supporting the supply of value chain in these key sectors, to support small and medium enterprise to thrive.
On waste management, the two governments discussed underlying and critical important elements of solid waste, bringing into focus supportive technology for solid waste management.
It was noted from the Solomon Islands side that Japan continues to be a long-standing partner in terms of funding long and short-term trainings that continues to be accepted with gratitude from the Solomon Islands.
“It continues to be an important priority moving forward, also, the importance of complimenting that with the appropriate technology transfer.
“Climate change and disaster continues to pose significant threats, addressing those fundamental aspects and ensuring resilience continues to remain critical is an important area of focus,” MNPDC PS, Ms. Sulu highlighted.
She noted that moving forward with engagements and partnerships, coordination remain an important aspect.
Ms. Sulu also pointed out that Covid-19 and the Ukraine war “although they are not of our making” impacts food, fuel prices, and continue to exert significant threats on financing for development.
“We continue to seek the support of our partners, and of course Japan, as we have this bilateral dialogue – to support transformative investments and also financing that is concessional and that would allow us to support and grow the economy,” the MNPDC PS said.
Ambassador MIWA Yoshiaki mentioned that a prosperous Solomon Islands is important to Japan.
The Ambassador stated that Solomon Islands has a lot of potentials that can be utilized and harnessed to contribute effectively to drive the economic engine.
“Long-term cooperation is important and through this dialogue, understanding and synchronizing our plans and objectives will be a positive advantage for this long-term cooperation.”
Through this Economic Development Dialogue, the points raised between Solomon Islands and Japan depicts a parallel motion in terms of development aspiration, “we are moving in one direction”.
Moreover, the comments made during this dialogue enables the Government of Japan to really understand Solomon Islands position in its development programs for this long-term relationship.
“The positive momentum we feel today must be continued through continuous bilateral economic dialogue up until another major bilateral dialogue takes place,” The Japanese Ambassador said. – MNPDC, Embassy of Japan, JICA Joint Press