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MRD team meets Japanese Ambassador to Solomon Islands

A three-member team from the Ministry of Rural Development (MRD) led by Permanent Secretary Dr. Samson Viulu has met with the Japanese Ambassador to Solomon Islands His Excellency MIWA Yoshiaki, Thursday 16 February 2023.

The meeting was to exchange ideas on possible areas of cooperation and seek areas of common interest where the Government of Japan through its Embassy Office in Honiara can assist the Solomon Islands government through MRD.

H.E. Ambassador MIWA was also briefed on the ministry’s priorities for 2023.

Some potential areas of collaboration discussed in the meeting include staff capacity training, Monitoring & Evaluation framework development, possible support for MRD’s internship program and project planning, and rollout of constituency development growth centres. Other areas of shared interest that were also discussed are agriculture, fisheries and environment.

PS Viulu and his team also informed the Ambassador on the current reforms that the ministry is undertaking which include the new Solomon Islands Constituency Development (SICD) Policy which is being discussed with Caucus for endorsement.

It was a successful meeting as both sides openly discussed potential areas of close collaboration and a way forward for a better Solomon Islands.

PS Viulu said the Japanese rural model of One Place, One Product Approach is something that Solomon Islands must learn from especially on how Japan transforms its economy to one of the most vibrant economy in the world.

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“Solomon Islands can learn from the Japanese experience and customize it to the Solomon Islands context.”

He then thanked Japan for its continuous commitment and assistance to the country in terms of infrastructure developments, education and other areas of mutual interests.

Director Governance Hickson George also took the time and briefed H.E MIWA on the proposed Constituency Development Growth Centre (CDGC) concept that the ministry is currently formulating.

He told Ambassador MIWA that the CDGC focus is on the development of mini- administrations and commercial hubs or centres in all constituencies across Solomon Islands, where rural dwellers/people can access social and economic services.

Mr Hickson said making sure rural people having access to important social and economic opportunities through the established CDGCs is crucial.

“Such setup would encourage government services and support through the Constituency Offices, other SIG line ministries, basic commercial and industrial developments to be stationed and operate from the established CDGCs.”

During the meeting H.E Ambassador MIWA also highlighted many areas where Solomon Islands can learn from Japan including their technology expertise that Solomon Islands can directly benefit from.

He also emphasized sustainable development for Solomon Islands should be an area of priority to explore.

The Ambassador also informed the MRD team on the ongoing project that Japan pursued with the Solomon Islands National University (SINU) with the purpose to integrate agriculture, fisheries and environment. He also informed the team on the other projects that they piloted and supported in the country which brought positive impacts to rural livelihoods.

Ambassador MIWA also informed MRD team of a new concept on integrated development that will see the establishment of a Centre of Excellence in SINU and Community Satellite Centres in pilot sites in the provinces.

The new concept introduced by H.E MIWA is called the “Industry-Government-Academia Collaboration Project”, to promote sustainable agriculture, forestry and fisheries.

The Japanese Ambassador encourages MRD to incorporate the new concept into the draft Solomon Islands Constituency Development Policy so that it can pave the way for alignment and collaboration.

Ambassador MIWA assured PS Viulu and his team that Japanese government remain committed and will continue to assist Solomon Islands in its development aspiration towards improving the livelihood of its rural people.

He said his office will look into these potential areas of partnership and assist where appropriate in due time.

PS Viulu on behalf of his team acknowledged Ambassador for his time and for the fruitful discussions.

The meeting was part of MRD’s outreach to all donors to better understand their areas of cooperation in the country.

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