UN supports peacebuilding in Solomon Islands
Women and youth are to be the main focus of a United Nations peace-building programme being rolled out in Solomon Islands over the next 18 months.
The US$2.5 million dollar initiative hopes to engage the voices of young people to foster national unity and reconciliation in the country, which has been divided by ethnic tensions.
It also comes as the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands prepares to leave the country next June.
The UN's Resident Coordinator in the Pacific Osnat Lubrani spoke with Koroi Hawkins about what the program hopes to achieve.
OSNAT LUBRANI: A lot of the activities are, if I can give you around the youth, it's training young people to become peace advocates but also looking into, getting them more to understand the political processes so like organising a youth parliament forum and also supporting the ministry to really organise these sort of cross provincial and engagements between people, supporting women's organisations to become more involved in that kind of work. Some technical assistance, capacity development, meetings, trainings, there's now in Honiara, one of the experts from the UN's standing mediation team, that is already working with the peace and unity ministry so that's the kind of activities that we will be supporting.
KOROI HAWKINS: What is the significance, you mentioned earlier, the departure of the regional assistance mission, the multi country mission to Solomon Islands that's been there since 2003.
OL: I think that the mission has played a very important role in bringing stabilisation, in building capacity particularly in the area of security and law enforcement and rule of law. There is, to some extent, confidence that the country is ready for that but there is also room to build, to boost that confidence further so we feel that it is a good contribution the UN is bringing in this time of transition.
KH: Is this filling a gap in the government's peace policy re women's involvement in peace building or is it supporting it?
OL: The government is very much welcoming of this support, this has been very much at the interest and really based on government's interest and demand. The focus on women and youth is something that was very much welcomed by the prime minister and the government, it's something that has not been adequately represented nor tapped into as elements in society that can really support and are needed to support the peace and unity cohesion agenda. Women were not involved in the peace processes although they played quite an important role in reducing, in bringing the periods of the tension to conclusion and that role was never fully recognised, so this is an area that I think needs more work. What I want to say is that all of this work isn't something that is developed that is separate from other ongoing initiatives, other policies in place for example, there is a policy that is finalised on women peace and security that the government has adopted but this project can help to make those sort of policies come alive in terms of being implemented and supporting some actions and building capacity for implementation. For us this programme is also an opportunity to also link the Solomon Islands agenda to the sustainable development goals agenda and as you may know there is a particular goal 16 that focuses on strong governance, institutions, peace and accountable institutions, so that is again, we feel that this programme can again help to jump-start, this year being the first year of implementation of the sustainable development goals and that goal is a priority for the Solomon Islands.
To embed this content on your own webpage, cut and paste the following: