Wednesday, 4 February 2009 3:24 PM

New SPC Office in Solomons

Solomon Islands created history with the official signing of a Host Country Agreement with the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC).

The agreement signing this morning with the Minister of Foreign Affairs, William Haomae, paves the way for Solomon Islands to host a 'national coordination office' of the SPC in the country.

Speaking at the signing ceremony, the Director-General of SPC, Dr. Jimmie Rodgers, said this marks history for the government of Solomon Islands as the country is the first member country to host an official national coordination office of SPC under a formal Host Country Agreement.

The formal signing to open the National Coordination Office for SPC located at Anthony Saru building in Honiara "is testimony to the commitment by the government to continue to play its part in support of Pacific regionalism, in particular those targeting increased delivery of services to members."

"Solomon Islands is the first member country of SPC to host a 'national coordination office' [and] today's signing has provided the framework for SIG and SPC to operationalise the office," Mr. Rodgers said.

A major function of the national coordination office in Honiara is to ensure that all the services provided to the country by the various SPC programmes are coordinated, monitored and quantified so that both the member country and the organization has a good overview of the scope, extent and value of regional services provided to Solomon Islands by SPC annually.

Mr. Rodgers stated that for a technical delivery and developmental organization, the total value of services provided to Solomon Islands through all SPC's programmes would exceed sixty million Solomon Islands dollars each year.

He said the opening of the national coordination office result in increased benefits to Solomon Islands.

"... in particular in relation to faster response to requests and on the ground consultations with the resident office manager who will link directly with the relevant people at the other SPC offices."

Mr. Rodgers said the new establishment will create "closer working relationship between the three Committee of Regional Organisation of the Pacific (CROP) organizations that have physical presence in [Solomon Islands] - Forum Fisheries Agency, Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat and SPC.