Discussions on resettlement commences to help in draft policy

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BY LYNTON AARON FILIA

Dr Jack Maebuta presenting implications for resettlement policy and practices.

A GROUP of academics in Solomon Islands have presented case studies that might assist the government to establish a National Resettlement Policy for the country.

Organised by the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Survey, the two-day session convened diverse groups of more than 20 participants that include stakeholders that represent national government, local government, NGOs, and faith-based organisations.

During the discussion, climate change was the most talked about subject with natural disaster identified as the main driver of relocation and land as the main obstacle to facilitate such resettlement.

Dr Jack Maebuta from the Solomon Islands National University (SINU) in his presentation highlighted implication for resettlement policy and practice that are important to consider when looking at formatting the National Resettlement policy.

He said from their research implication for resettlement policy should consider building infrastructures as area to reduce poverty associated with resettlement as well as economic bases and livelihood of the population.

He suggested if the RCDF can be used as starter to finance resettlement since money is the government’s main challenge—from the RCDF it can support for purchasing land or meet other demand needed.

With that he adds education is one important tool as well which the intended policy should look at by building more schools or upgrade schools across the province to avoid migration of people to urban centres.

Moreover, he suggested in any development or relocation plans churches can be regarded as key partners when considering resettlement initiatives.

Besides, the workshop last week gave opportunity for all presenters to shared one thing in common highlighting that it is important to formulate resettlement policy with holistic approaches.

It should look at facilitating the sustainable livelihoods of people, ownership and equal opportunities, they said.

Permanent Secretary for Ministry of Lands, Housing and Survey Mr Stanley Waleanisia said resettlement and relocation is faced by small islands nation which includes Solomon Islands.

He said Solomon Islands are vulnerable to natural hazards including extreme weather events as floods, droughts and tropical cyclones.

It also includes seismic activity such as earthquakes and tsunamis which pose risks to internal displacement of vulnerable communities, Waleanisia said.

He said presentation of the findings by presenters is important for them to understand resettlement and transformation of the rural communities in the country and how the policy will be implicated.

Other presenters include Dr Tammy Tabe, a lecturer from USP, Fiji who did a presentation on case study climate change migration and displacement: learning from the past relocation in the pacific.

Country’s PhD Michael Ha’apio from USP, Pacific Centre for Environment and Sustainable Development (PACE-SD) did his presentation on a case study carried out in Western province

He also did a presentation on a Case study, the Transformation of rural communities: lessons from a local self-initiative for building resilience in the Solomon Islands.

Furthermore, other presenters presenting case studies on Minevi resettlement in Temotu, Auki and western province about the Tsunami victims in Gizo.

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