The Solomon Islands is a group of over 990 islands in the Pacific Ocean with a land area of 28,390 sq km and an Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of 1.3 million sq km. The country suffered from political tensions and outright violence in recent years, leading to regional intervention from 2003 and an uneasy subsequent peace. Political strife remains a real threat, fuelled by ethnic tensions. There has been an improving economic performance in recent years but this is offset by the high population growth (2.8% annually). With an estimated GDP per capita of around €520, the Solomon Islands still ranks among the poorest countries in the Pacific. Social indicators are equally low and the provision of adequate social infrastructure and services, especially in rural areas, remains a difficult task due to limited capacities, financial and management constraints as well as poor transport and communications.
The Country Strategy Paper for Solomon Islands (2008-2013) presents the strategic framework for the co-operation of the European Commission (EC) with the Solomon Islands under the 10th European Development Fund (EDF). EC assistance will focus on sustainable rural development including capacity building. A community-driven approach will be taken, with emphasis on strengthening local and national institutions. Support will supplement ongoing interventions in agriculture, forestry, fisheries and transport.
The multi-annual indicative programme for the Solomon Islands under the 10th EDF allocates €16.5 million to address these priorities.
EC interventions in the Solomon Islands will also mainstream cross-cutting issues, in particular good governance, gender equality, environmental sustainability as well as the fight against HIV/AIDS.
The Country Strategy Paper for Solomon Islands (2001-2007) under the 9th EDF adopted direct support to sustainable rural development, with a particular emphasis on micro-projects and capacity building through a micro-projects programme, as principal sector for co-operation activities. Support has also been provided to Non State Actors (NSAs).
Under the STABEX funding instrument, the EC is supporting the development of the development and implementation of the national agricultural strategy, providing key infrastructure for inter-islands connectivity such as wharfs, is supporting the forestry sector. In addition, it has delivered essential equipment and training to the national competent authority in order to strengthen its capacity to certify the compliance of fish products in line with EU health and sanitary regulations. Significant support is also provided to the education sector.
In the wake of the severe earthquake and tsunami that hit the Solomon Islands in April 2007, the EC provided immediate emergency assistance of €550,000. Further €7.8 million have been allocated to medium-term reconstruction, including specific support for damaged schools and infrastructure.
Other sources of information
The Directorate-General for Development is responsible for drawing up the co-operation strategy with the Solomon Islands.
For further details on projects and programmes on the Solomon Islands funded from the European Development Fund and the general budget of the EU, please contact the Delegation of the European Union to the Solomon Islands, which is responsible for co-operation activities in the country.
Information on trade relations in the ACP region can be found on the website of the Directorate-General for Trade.