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Goff signs education MOU with EU, Solomon Islands

Goff signs education MOU with EU, Solomon Islands

New Zealand, the European Union and Solomon Islands have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that will provide up to NZ$33 million over three years to ensure children in the Solomons receive a good basic education.

Foreign Minister Phil Goff signed the MOU today in Honiara, where he is leading a delegation of parliamentarians, business and civil society representatives.

"New Zealand assistance has been vital in keeping schools open for young children during the crisis in the Solomon Islands. It will continue to be critical for children to get a quality of education if the Solomons is to progress as a nation and be able to stand on its own feet," Mr Goff said. “New Zealand's international development agency, NZAID, will provide assistance using the Solomons' own systems and processes. This will ensure that the Solomons' Ministry of Education and Human Resource Development can keep doing the job when the RAMSI mission and special aid is no longer in place.”

NZAID’s funding to Solomon Islands increased by $8 million in this year’s Budget to over $16 million. The education sector will receive $12.5 million, with the rest going towards improving governance and supporting economic reform.

Today Mr Goff also met with Solomon Islands Prime Minister Sir Allan Kemakeza; key cabinet ministers, and leaders of the Regional Assistance Mission (RAMSI). He also opened a course at the small business centre.

“New Zealand is committed to the long-term development of the Solomon Islands, and we want to work with the Solomons government to help them meet their own development objectives.

“Such a partnership requires the active engagement of both parties and must be based on trust, openness, and mutual accountability. The Solomons government has stated that it is equally committed to progressing reforms in key areas, including governance and accountability.

“We also discussed a number of regional issues, including the implementation of the PACER regional trade and economic framework, counter terrorism, reform of the Pacific Islands Forum, and Solomon Islands' position on commercial whaling."

Tomorrow Mr Goff and the delegation are due to meet with business figures and NGO representatives; visit a number of NZAID projects, and tour the local markets to meet stallholders. The party returns to Wellington on Wednesday.

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