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Solomon Islands and the EU

12/05/2016 - 17:31
EU relations with Country

The EU is seeking an increasingly close relationship with Solomon Islands and Vanuatu going beyond development co-operation, to gradual integration in the global economy and deepening political dialogue.

The EU is seeking an increasingly close relationship with Solomon Islands and Vanuatu going beyond development co-operation, to gradual integration in the global economy and deepening political dialogue.

The aim of our partnership is to promote human rights, democracy and good governance, economic and social development, climate change adaptation and risk mitigation, environmental protection to name just a few issues.

The European Union also supports economic and social development, offers additional funding for projects to reduce socio-economic inequality and increase stability. For instance, the EU is an active partner of the Solomon Islands' Government in an effort to bring about reforms to increase political stability and the participation of women in politics.   

As of 1 January 2008, ACP countries benefit from the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP). These preferences permit market access of industrial and agricultural products to the European Union. In addition, Solomon Islands as a Least Developed Country is one of the ACP countries benefiting from the European "Everything but Arms" initiative (EBA).

The EBA was launched in 2001 to allow 48 countries full duty-free, quota free access to the EU for all products except arms and ammunition. This now includes all agricultural products including beef and other meat; dairy products; fruit and vegetables from apples to asparagus and from cucumbers to courgettes but also processed fruit and vegetables; maize and other cereals; starch; oils; processed sugar products; cocoa products; pasta; and alcoholic beverages.

The EBA makes the EU the world's first major trading power to commit itself to opening its market fully to the world's poorest countries.

Each ACP country and region are allocated EU financial resources over a six – seven year period to finance activities under their National or Regional Indicative Plans.

The 11th EDF National Indicative Programme (NIP) for Solomon Islands covering the period 2014-2020 has been allocated EUR 40 million (SBD371 million). The NIP focuses on two sectors (Water, Sanitation & Hygiene –WASH and Rural Development) in line with the priorities of Solomon Islands Government Medium Term Development Plan’s (MTDP).

The NIP includes provision of basic services to both rural and urban areas. It aims to support public sector reforms as well as private sector and institutional development aimed at creating employment and increasing income to with a special focus on WASH and agriculture.

Through the Technical Cooperation Facilities (TCF), the EU supports capacity development in key ministries, including the Ministry of Development Planning and Aid Coordination (MDPAC). The overarching objective is to help the Government to plan, monitor and evaluate its development agenda.

Non State Actors (NSA) are increasingly important partners of the European Union in Solomon Islands.

Development Service Exchange (DSE) is an umbrella structure of civil society organisation (CSO) which is involved with the EU at various levels

  1. Participation in the last two political dialogues.
  2. Participation in the MTR of the 10th EDF CSP.
  3. Participation in the Steering committees of the EUR 1.65 M NSA support programme under 9th EDF and the rural Advancement Micro-Project. (RAMP)
  4. Dissemination of information about calls for proposals to their members and assistance to prepare grant applications.

DSE also sits in various Committees organised by the Government (education natural resources, etc.)

Collaboration with the private sector takes place through the chambers of commerce which counts 74 Members (mostly from the retail/wholesale and financial/professional services, and mostly Honiara based). The role of the chambers of commerce is mainly advocacy for policy issues and their recognition as Partner by the Government. This is exemplified by the fact that they are now invited to participate in six Committees (such as anti-corruption, trade, tourism, etc.). Being a Membership based organisation, the chamber of commerce has been so far constrained by the lack of resources. They have been benefited a 10 000 grant contract under NSA thematic programme.

The European Union has also supported some associations such as the Women's National Coalition, and religious organisations.