The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors has approved US$15 million in support for Solomon Islands’ economic recovery from the pandemic, together with US$5 million for technical assistance for Solomon Islands to improve the regulation and implementation of key laws for better transparency in the mining sector.

Building on earlier support to address significant economic impacts resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, the Second Solomon Islands Transition to Sustainable Growth Development Policy Operation aims to improve government financial management, strengthen private sector growth, address corruption, and help address important environmental challenges – including in reducing the use of single-use plastics and in supporting Solomon Islands to meet its climate obligations under the Paris Agreement.

The US$15 million development policy grant will provide critical budget support to address the immediate fiscal impacts of the pandemic while also supporting policy initiatives that promote Solomon Islands’ long-term sustainable development. This assistance comes as part of wider support through the Core Economic Working Group, through which Australia, New Zealand, the Asian Development Bank, and the European Union all provide budget support.

The World Bank Board also approved the Solomon Islands Sustainable Mining Development Technical Assistance Project. This project builds on previous support to improve regulation and transparency of Solomon Islands’ mining sector and will assist with the implementation of Solomon Islands’ National Minerals Policy. This policy aims to address long-standing issues in the mining sector by supporting government regulators and the Solomon Islands Ministry of Mines, Energy and Rural Electrification to carry out oversight of mining operations more consistently, and with greater transparency and effectiveness.

With unsustainable logging accounting for a large component of Solomon Islands’ national revenue, the mining sector has long been referred to as a potential alternative for sustainable revenue – yet significant social and economic issues have arisen from recent mining operations – including the country’s largest gold mine – and serious environmental and social harm has been associated with nickel and bauxite mining throughout the country.

In an effort to address these issues and support the safe, sustainable growth of the mining sector, this technical assistance aims to build capacity within government to strengthen community engagement, benefit sharing, mining compliance and oversight, and build greater transparency. In addition, the project will also strengthen revenue, land and environmental regulatory agencies related to mining, and will support an independent advisory institution that will assist communities to engage directly with government and mining companies on issues of access to land, natural resources, and local development benefits.

The World Bank works in partnership with 12 countries across the Pacific, supporting 84 additional projects totaling US$2.09 billion in commitments in sectors including agriculture, aviation and transport, climate resilience and adaptation, economic policy, education and employment, energy, fisheries, health, macroeconomic management, rural development, telecommunications, and tourism.

Source: Press Release