Aid to Solomon Islands
Australia has a major bilateral aid programme to Solomon Islands, and also provides development assistance through the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI).
There have recently been attempts to clarify the role of Australian development personnel working through the Australian High Commission, and Australian personnel seconded to positions through RAMSI – key positions in RAMSI such as the Special Co-ordinator are reserved for Australians and there has been concern over the predominance of Australian technical assistance in a regional initiative (152 of 173 civilian advisors were Australian in mid-2006, with only five Pacific islanders in civilian roles).
There has also been extensive debate over the priority given to security activities and strengthening the machinery of government in the capital Honiara, in comparison to broader programs focussing on community development and rural livelihoods.
Pacific Partnerships for Development with Solomon Islands and Kiribati , Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, Media Release, 27 January 2009.
“Prime Minister Kevin Rudd today signed Pacific Partnerships for Development with Prime Minister Sikua of Solomon Islands and President Tong of Kiribati. This significant signing occurred at the Special Pacific Forum Leaders’ Meeting on Fiji in Port Moresby. Pacific Partnerships for Development are the centre piece of Australia’s new approach to the Pacific region which commits Australia and its Pacific partners to working together to meet common challenges. The Partnership with Solomon Islands will have an initial focus on: better service delivery, particularly in rural areas; more sustainable economic growth and reform; improved economic livelihoods; and improved economic infrastructure. The Partnership will complement work to support peace and prosperity being undertaken through the Regional Assistance Mission to the Solomon Island (RAMSI).“
Overseas development assistance — Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands — continuation, Budget Paper No.2, Part 2 Expense measures – Foreign Affairs and Trade.
“The Government will provide $777.3 million over four years (including $4.8 million in capital funding) to continue the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI). The measure was announced in the 2005‑06 Budget with $771.0 million already included in the forward estimates.
“The extra funding provided above the forward estimates over the four years represents the combination of: the net additional cost of extending Operation ANODE in 2009‑10 (Australia’s military contribution to Solomon Islands); additional funding for an enhanced public diplomacy strategy and further assistance to customs and excise activities; and a gradual phase‑down of RAMSI’s work as the capacity of the Solomon Islands Government improves. The measure is also expected to lead to a reduction in revenue of $31.6 million over four years reflecting concessional tax treatment of certain deployee base pay and allowances.
“The capital funding includes $4.4 million in 2009‑10 for the Australian Federal Police to supply housing and diesel generators to personnel deployed in Solomon Islands and local police, and $0.4 million over four years from 2009‑10 for the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, for the fit out and refurbishment of accommodation, telecommunications equipment and motor vehicles to support seven overseas positions.
“This measure will assist the Solomon Islands Government to: build capacity to deliver sustainable economic growth and balanced budgets; strengthen the public service by providing advisory support and implementing a public sector improvement program; improve capacity in the law and justice sector by continuing the deployment of Australian Defence Force and Australian Federal Police personnel; and enhance advocacy, public diplomacy and anti‑corruption activities.”
RAMSI and Australian Bilateral Aid to be Further Separated, Qila Tuhanuku, RAMSI Media release, 19 June 2007
“The management of Australia’s aid to Solomon Islands is to be further separated between RAMSI and the Australian High Commission. Following a decision to separate the responsibilities of the RAMSI Development Coordinator and the head of AusAID in Solomon Islands, the Australian Government’s overseas aid agency is upgrading its bilateral aid representation at the Australian High Commission. Under the new arrangements RAMSI’s civilian programs will remain the responsibility of the RAMSI Development Coordinator while a new AusAID post at the Australian High Commission will be responsible for managing Australia’s bilateral aid program to Solomon Islands.
“Mr Exell said the move was partly in response to concerns expressed by the Solomon Islands Government that the demarcation between Australia’s assistance to the Regional Assistance Mission and its bilateral aid program in Solomon Islands was not obvious or clear enough.”
Country Program Solomon Islands, AusAid
Detailed official account of Australian current aid to Solomon Islands.
Outlines allocations of development assistance for law and justice; economy and governance; machinery of government; education and training; community development; agriculture and rural livelihoods; peacebuilding and natural resources.
Australian NGOs supporting projects & operations in Solomon Islands, Australian Council for International Development (ACFID)
List of Australian NGOs and their programs in Solomon Islands
ACFID members’ work in Solomon Islands, Australian Council for International Development (ACFID)
Links to NGO reports and analysis of aid programs
Following the April 2006 riots in Honiara, AusAID revised its development priorities in Solomon Islands, and this transitional strategy outlines the new focus.
Bridging the gap between state and society – new directions for Solomon Islands, Oxfam Australia and Oxfam New Zealand, July 2006
“This report documents a widespread feeling that ordinary Solomon Islanders are excluded from government processes and decision-making, pointing to a lack of linkages and engagement between government and citizens. Whilst many Solomon Islanders have welcomed RAMSI’s role in ending the conflict of the late 1990s, the assertion that the public is both informed about and supportive of all aspects of the intervention needs to be qualified. ’s resources, especially for the bulk of the population who live in rural areas and outer islands. There are also new pressures on government, as citizens express their concern over elite corruption.”
Updated: 9 June 2009