The Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Rural Development (MRD) Dr. Samson Viulu has attended a regional workshop on Constituency Development Funds (CDFs) and Anti-Money Laundering in Wellington, New Zealand from 28-29 November, 2022.

The meeting brought together parliamentarians along with integrity officials including Ombudsmen and Leadership Commission from the Pacific region.

PS Viulu said the inclusion of Solomon Islands more especially MRD in the meeting was necessary because Solomon Islands like other Pacific Island countries are also adopting the CDF programme towards advancing its rural development aspirations.

He said the meeting ratifications will lead to a new Pacific-focused toolkit on CDFs to boost fund oversight, accountability, transparency and strengthen good governance.

PS Viulu added that CDF allocation to constituencies has since increased over the years therefore, guaranteeing standard practices are adopted is crucial while citing the first ever Solomon Islands Constituency Development (SICD) Policy that MRD is currently developing as a way forward to improve the CDF programme and rural development undertaking in the country.

“CDF is one of the very few funds that go directly to the rural people. The only programme that government through MRD is executing to decentralize development and government services in our rural areas. Yet, standard practices need strengthening to improve delivery mechanisms and boost accountability of the fund and its process,” PS Viulu highlighted.

He added that with the reforms that MRD is undertaking and the political support from the government towards reforming the CDF programme, he is hopeful that CDF will remain one of the priority programmes of the government towards advancing rural development in our rural areas to improving social and economic livelihoods of Solomon Islanders.

PS Viulu also used the opportunity and did a presentation on the new SICD Policy which was well received by everyone in attendance.

PS Viulu had suggested during the regional workshop for an annual regional CDF conference bringing different countries to share their best practices, successful experiences and challenges in implementing the CDF program in their respective countries.

PS Viulu along with Ombudsman Fred Fakarii, Ombudsman Legal Advisor Nelson Dhitta and LCC Chairman Stevenson attended the workshop in NZ.

A biennial GOPAC Oceania General Meeting was also held during the workshop.

United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) supported the two-day CDF conference and development of the CDF toolkit through the UN Pacific Regional Anti-Corruption Project (UN-PRAC), supported by the New Zealand Aid Programme. Global Organization of Parliamentarians Against Corruption (GOPAC) Oceania is assisted financially by the GOPAC Office in Qatar and the Government of Qatar.

Source: Press Release