The Solomon Islands Government (SIG) and the European Union (EU) have signed a Financing Agreement, which will add 10 million Euro (about SBD 90 million)to the Rural Development Phase II Programme (RDP II).

The Agreement, signed by Hon. Danny Philip, Minister of Development Planning & Aid Coordination (MDPAC), and H.E. Leonidas Tezapsidis, EU Ambassador to Solomon Islands & Vanuatu, increases the total grant endowment of the multi-donor programme by 50% to SBD 270 million.

This will support agri-business and community development activities in all
172 rural wards across the nine provinces. About 65,000 households, or 60% of Solomon Islands' population, will benefit from the Programme.

In signing the financing agreement Hon. Danny Phillip said “the Solomon Islands Government (SIG) will always value and appreciate the support from EU and the fruitful cooperation thus far. Under the 11th EDF SIG is thankful of the EU support towards the RDP II. RDP, amongst other channels, provides a practical platform that enhances community and overall rural development.

“I am pleased to say that this funding assistance will go a long way in improving the lives of our people by helping them to be self-reliant and to become prosperous,” Hon. Danny Philip said RDP II started its activities in March 2015 and is a good example of collaboration between SIG and donors.

SIG contributes funding to RDP II, joining hands with Australia's Department of
Foreign Affairs & Trade (DFAT), United Nations' International Fund for Agricultural
Development (IFAD), World Bank's International Development Association (IDA) and the EU.

All partners together have committed the equivalent of SBD 330 million in grants and loans. The World Bank is in charge of the overall management of the programme, with coordination and implementation of activities lying with the Ministries of Development Planning & Aid Coordination and Agriculture & Livestock. Eight other Ministries and all the respective provincial government are key stakeholders in the implementation of the project.

EU Ambassador to Solomon Islands & Vanuatu, Leonidas Tezapsidis, said: "RDPII is about helping rural people in Solomon Islands lead more prosperous and resilient lives. I am pleased that the project has developed mechanisms for channelling funds where they are needed, to support activities identified by the rural communities themselves. RDP II represents an innovative partnership between the SIG, development partners like the EU, World Bank, DFAT and IFAD, as well as with the private sector through business partnerships. Smallholder
farmers will be helped to link with markets, resulting in higher employment and income in rural areas".

A first call for expression of interest has already taken place to support agri-businesses. Out of more than a hundred proposals, 27 have been shortlisted and 13 approved for funding, with implementation commencing soon. The second call for EOI was launched last week. 

RDPII also emphasises "social accountability", and will pilot community score cards with relevant stakeholder and communities to measure the quality of services delivered to final beneficiaries under the Programme. This will help improve service delivery and will provide valuable information for future support to rural communities.


Source: Press Release, European Union Office, Solomon Islands