The United Nations in Solomon Islands today launched its Joint Presence - collaboration among the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Untied Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).

The launch marks a new era of UN partnership with Solomon Islands. UN agencies announced a significant increase in resources allocation to the Solomon Islands. The three UN Agencies will increase their combined expenditure from SBD$20 million to SBD$50 million by 2010 - which means SBD$30 million more per annum of the funding to the Solomon islands for the next five years.

In his opening statement, the Prime Minister, Honorable Derek Sikua emphasized the need for partnership in development to bring about the necessary results for the people of the Solomon Islands.

The Joint Presence and harmonized programmes of the three agencies are a result of extensive national consultations beginning in 2006 in response to clearly articulated operational needs by the Government of Solomon islands.

The UN Resident Coordinator, Richard Dictus said the Joint Presence in the Solomon Islands represents a unique collaboration among UN agencies.

"The new programmes agreed too with the Government, build on UN agencies, strength and experience in working at the national and provincial levels to achieve real change in people's lives - the new programmes will be more efficient and effective in achieving real results for people," Mr. Dictus added.

UNDP, UNFPA and UNICEF are establishing Joint Presence in Kiribati, Vanuatu, Federated States of Micronesia, Marshall Islands, Palau, Nauru and Tuvalu by the end of this year.

Guiding the work of the Joint Presence is a common, multi-country United Nations Development Framework (UNDAF) which was produced in consultation with our regional and national partners. This will guide UN development activities in 14 Pacific countries during 2008-2012.

Last month the Government of the Solomon Islands approved the five years Country Programme Action Plan for UNDP, UNICEF and UNFPA.