By Alfred Sasako
SOLOMON Islands has been asked to prepare national projects valued at three times the USD86 million being made available to it under the Green Climate Fund (GCF), Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare has announced.
Mr Sogavare arrived in Honiara on Monday after attending the Pacific Forum Leaders’ summit in Funafuti, Tavulu last week.
He was met by the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Fisheries and Marine Resources, John Maneniaru and five other Ministers including the Minister for Health and Medical Services, Dickson Mua and the Minister for Youth and Women’s Affairs, Freda Tuki.
Prime Minister Sogavare told reporters at a news conference at Henderson Airport shortly after he arrived on a flight from Fiji that Pacific Leaders discussed a number of issues including contentious ones such as Climate Change, which he said had left the future of the Pacific “uncertain.”
“The good thing about it is that as a family, the leaders have adopted a give-and-take approach, taking into account shared values including security concerns,” Mr Sogavare said.
On the Green Climate Fund (GCF), Prime Minister Sogavare said the Director of Mitigation and Adaptation, Jerry Velesquez explained how the GCF works, confirming GCF’s interest to commission together with Solomon Islands, initial assessments of several major projects.
These projects include:
- The relocation and greening of the National Referral Hospital (NRH);
- The relocation of the Choiseul Provincial headquarters from Taro Island to Choiseul Bay;
- A series of potential hydro projects in the provinces including in Choiseul-Bay and Vangunu and;
- The accreditation of the Development Bank of Solomon Islands (DBSI) to be able to secure direct financing arrangements with the GCF,
“GFC has up to US$1million per year for 3 years to assist countries build their capacity and prepare bankable projects,” Mr Sogavare said in prepared notes.
“GCF will finance climate related aspects of any project emanating from these assessments, including for instance investments on renewable energy on infrastructure that maybe funded by other donors,” the notes said.
“We have been asked to tripple the USD86 million we have secured under the GCF funding. But because we lack the capacity, we are getting help to help us come up with bankable projects,” Mr Sogavare said.
Mr Sogavare also announced that the Commonwealth Secretariat will help the government in preparing bankable projects to be funded under the GCF funding.
Because the government lacks the capacity, a Commonwealth Secretariat staff will soon arrive in Honiara to help out.
Meanwhile, Mr Sogavare told the news conference that the World Bank had reaffirmed “its support to the Tina Hydro project and is working with other partners to ensure Condition precedents are met on time.”
“The International Finance Corporation (IFC) (an investment arm of the World Bank) is interested to consider other key projects in the country including, the Bina harbour development, assessment of the tourism potential in Western Province and a public housing scheme.”
Under the public housing scheme, the Government plans to build about 1, 000 public houses, largely in Honiara.