Tuesday, 23 June 2009 7:05 AM

Bilateral Consultations between Solomon Islands and Japan Concludes

The high level bilateral consultation meeting between the Government of Solomon Islands and the Government of Japan was successfully held on Wednesday 17th June 2009 at the Solomon Kitano Mendana Hotel in Honiara.

The aim of the consultation is to discuss and jointly agree on the direction and focus of Japan's Official Development Assistance (ODA) to Solomon Islands and one that is conducive and compatible with the development principles, goals and priorities of both governments.

The last high-level consultation meeting between the two governments was in Honiara in June 2005.

The SIG Delegation was led by Hon. Steve Abana, Minister for Development Planning and Aid Coordination including Permanent Secretaries and Senior Government Officials from most line-ministries. The Japanese Delegation was headed by Mr. Harumitsu Hida, Senior Coordinator, International Cooperation Bureau, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan, accompanied by Charge d' Affairs of the Embassy of Japan in Honiara, Director for the Pacific Division of Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) Headquarter, Resident Representatives of JICA PNG and JICA Solomon Islands, and other Japanese officials in Honiara. The high level consultation meeting is being chaired by Hon. Abana.

Hon. Abana opened the meeting by acknowledging the past and ongoing Japanese ODA assistance to Solomon Islands especially in the areas of infrastructure development, social services, energy and rural development and urged Japan to continue their assistance to current priority areas and other potential areas of cooperation. In his response, Mr. Hida assured the Solomon Islands Government that Japan will continue to support the development priorities of Solomon Islands now and for many years to come.

During the meeting, SIG officials explained its development plans and priorities, Japan used the opportunity to explain its ODA policy and other initiatives as well as its priority areas and programmes which Japan focuses on in Solomon Islands.

Both governments have agreed on the priority areas of current and future cooperation and partnership including (1) equitable economic development, (2) improvement of social services, and (3) environment conservation and natural disaster risk management and six programmes ((i) infrastructure development, (ii) rural economy promotion, (iii) basic education improvement, (iv) rural health improvement, (v) waste management and (vi) community based disaster management). Both Governments have also agreed that these priorities will be reviewed in line with any new SIG's priority areas of a successor of Medium Term Development Strategy (MTDS) 2008-2010.

After the bilateral meeting, both governments signed the Exchange of Notes and the Grant Agreements for two Grant Aid projects funded by the Government of Japan: Project for Reconstruction of Gizo Hospital and Project for Improvement of Water Supply System in Honiara and Auki.