Solomon Islanders will now have better service delivery at the local level as the European Union (EU), together with UNDP and UNICEF, and the Solomon Islands Government today launched a new EUR 8 million (SBD 65.5m) project on provincial governance.

Between 2022 and 2025, through this Provincial Governance and Service Delivery Project, the EU, UNDP and UNICEF will work closely with the Solomon Islands Government at national provincial and community levels to improve service delivery and strengthen government capacities to support people-centered development.

Through the project, sector grants for health and education will be provided to the nine Provincial Governments to deliver vital water and sanitation activities. The project will disburse the sector grants through the existing Provincial Capacity Development Fund (PCDF) that is being administered by the Ministry of Provincial Government and Institutional Strengthening. Consultation on key policy areas to improve decentralized people-centered service delivery will also be a main feature of the project.

The Minister of Provincial Government and Institutional Strengthening, Hon. Rollen Seleso, expressed gratitude to the European Union on behalf of the Government.

“I wish to take this opportunity to thank the European Union for this important gesture that would surely go a long way in improving water and sanitary conditions of our schools and communities.”

Hon. Seleso further assured the Ministry’s commitment to “coordinate with all the implementing partners for the smooth delivery of this important service delivery project.”

“As we aim to empower the nine provincial governments to deliver water and sanitation projects and support the service delivery of the two essential ministries at sub-national level, it will also serve as the beginning of many collaborative efforts between the Ministry of Provincial Government and the European Union through our partner UN agencies – UNDP and UNICEF.”

“Let me express my sincere appreciation to our partners for the great and close collaboration – thank you to the European Union for the financing and to UNDP and UNICEF for this partnership to deliver this project,” said the Minister for National Planning and Development Coordination, Hon. Rexon Ramofafia, during his welcome address.

Hon. Ramofafia further stressed the importance of monitoring and evaluation, stating that “development effectiveness remains critical, and that whilst improving governance is a key vehicle to ensuring effective service delivery, the ultimate end that we strive for is effective service delivery to our rural communities.”

Speaking at the launch, the EU Ambassador to Solomon Islands, His Excellency Sujiro Seam, reiterated the importance of cooperation with the countries of the Pacific region for Europe and underlined their support for the enhanced and long-term engagement of the EU and its Member States through concrete actions and projects like this one.

“The National Development Strategy splices local governance and service delivery into its DNA as it is fundamental for accomplishing economic growth and efficient public service delivery. And the European Union is proud to be part of this project and support the people of Solomon Islands in this incredible milestone,” said Ambassador Seam.

In his welcoming remarks, Mr. Levan Bouadze, Resident Representative, Pacific Office in Fiji thank and saluted the renewed relationship, collaboration and re-engagement between EU and UNDP Office Solomon Islands and the Ministry of Provincial Government and Institutional Strengthening and Ministry National Planning and Development Coordination.

“This will contribute to the institutional strengthening of governance systems for service delivery within the provinces and the country,” he stated.

Another objective of this initiative is to work with the Government toward decentralized social service delivery.

“UNDP in the Pacific and globally has a long track record of supporting local governance, decentralization and service delivery, including managing similar EU-funded grant mechanisms for local service delivery and enhanced governance systems,” said Mr. Bouadze.

“UNICEF values this great support from the European Union and our partnership with UNDP, and above all, our joint commitment with the Solomon Islands Government to improve the access and quality of services in health and education, including water, sanitation and hygiene,” said UNICEF Pacific’s Chief of Solomon Islands Field Office, Dr. Zelalem Taffesse.

“This project will expand the partnership for service delivery to fully include provincial governments to ensure that these services reach even those living in the most remote communities,” Dr. Taffesse concluded.

Funded by the European Union under the European Development Fund , the new Provincial Governance and Service Delivery Project will be implemented by UNDP and UNICEF in Solomon Islands, in partnership with the Government of Solomon Islands under the Ministries of Provincial Government and Institutional Strengthening, Education and Human Resources Development, and Health and Medical Services.

Source: Press Release