The validation workshop of the Solomon Islands State of Environment (SoE) Report and National Environment Management Strategy (NEMS) ended on Friday 31st May, 2019. The consultation included a presentation on the Solomon Islands national environment portal and the development of a draft communication strategy for the SoE and NEMS.
The workshop was coordinated by the Environment and Conservation Division (ECD) of the Ministry of Environment, Climate Change, Disaster Management, and Meteorology (MECDM), with support from the Environmental Monitoring and Governance Programme at the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP). The workshop was held at the Paul Tovua complex at National Parliament, Honiara.
Mr Jope Davetanivalu, SPREP Environment Planning Adviser, led the validation workshop with the support of Ms Julie Callebaut and Mr Emile Adams.
Prior to the workshop, the SPREP team made courtesy visits to environment officials. The first visit on Monday 27th was to the Permanent Secretary for the MECDM, Dr Melchior Mataki, who was briefed on the purpose of the mission. He expressed his appreciation to SPREP for leading the work in finalising the SoE report and NEMS. Earlier this year in March, during the 4th United Nations Environment Assembly, Mr Mataki made reference to the draft SoE report when delivering Solomon Islands’ statement.
The validation workshop started on Tuesday 28th with representatives from ECD, Ministry of Mines, energy sector, fisheries, water resources, agriculture, and development partners including World Wide Fund (WWF), The Nature Conservancy, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), Live and Learn, and media representatives.
An introductory presentation on the Inform project was delivered by Ms Julie Callebaut, the Environmental Monitoring and Reporting GIS Specialist for Inform project at SPREP. The project is establishing national environment data portals in 14 Pacific island countries. The national data portal is an effective and useful tool for storing and accessing environment related data. Information on the portal is useful to support the preparation of national reports such as the State of Environment report, reporting to various multilateral environment agreements (MEAs) and other key commitments such as national sustainable development plans and the UN’s sustainable development goals (SDGs). The Solomon Islands national portal is now live and actively used to refer to environment information. The portal can be assessed accessed in the link: https://solomonislands-data.sprep.org.
A communications strategy was also developed by the group with the aim to help disseminate the SoE report to a wider audience of decision-makers and general public. Communications activities identified include news stories published in the two local newspapers, weekly radio programme, TV news coverage of specific events, and use of social media platforms. Banners, brochures and posters were also identified. Knowledge and information sharing sessions with parliamentarians, provincial administrators, NGOS, international partners, the media were put forward.
National stakeholders also deliberated on the National Environmental Management Strategy (NEMS) a document of actionable items to address environmental issues identified in the SoE. A draft NEMS document was submitted for review by ECD.
In a meeting with Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Mines, Dr Chris Vehe, and Mr Davetanivalu discussed Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) capacity building for the mining sector. Dr Vehe said that extractive industries like mining need guidance on environment issues. Ministry of Mines is currently preparing a national policy on minerals and subsequent mining legislature. An EIA training for the mining sector is planned for October; a welcomed intervention given that the Mining Act is under review.
The mission concluded with a courtesy call on Friday 31st May to the Minister of Environment, Climate Change, Disaster Management, and Meteorology (MECDM), Dr Culwick Togamana, who expressed appreciation to SPREP for leading the development of the SoE document. The Minster said the Solomon Island Environment Act stipulated the preparation of the State of Environment (SoE) report every three years. The Minister mentioned the unique environment challenges of Solomon Islands and expressed support for the ban on plastics, and highlighted awareness efforts to directly address sources of waste pollution.
For more information on the SoE document, please contact Mr Jope Davetanivalu: [email protected].
Visit the Pacific Network for Environmental Assessment (PNEA) website (https://pnea.sprep.org/) to learn about support to government officials from Pacific island countries and territories who work with environmental impact assessment (EIA) and strategic environmental assessment (SEA).