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Peace Dialogue a start to tangible peace efforts

The National Dialogue on Peace and Stability commenced yesterday and will conclude today at the Heritage Park Hotel (Photo Credit UNDP Solomon Islands Facebook Page)

PRIME Minister Hon Manasseh Sogavare says the theme of the national Peace Dialogue cannot be overstated because in any society, the need for sustainable peace is important to social and economic development.

“Without peace, development cannot take place. Without peace, children cannot go to school. Without peace, the realization of our potentials and aspirations will be undermined.

“The nexus of peace and development, therefore, cannot be over emphasized. We need peace in order to have optimal and sustainable development. The inverse is equally true: we have to have development in order to have peace in our communities throughout the country,” the Prime Minister said.

Sogavare then added that development in Solomon Islands is not just about achieving and sustaining a high economic growth rate measured by Gross Domestic Product.

It is about engineering a development pathway that will allow growth to take place and at the same time, for people at our far-flung villages and communities to feel empowered with space and encouragement for innovativeness and creativity; a development pathway that empowers women and youth, harnesses comparative advantages in their localities, and engage them so they can benefit and feel they are contributing to nationhood building.

“The general consensus from the provincial consultations in Malaita, Guadalcanal and the Western Province clearly demonstrate the strong nexus between peace and development.

“You have not only highlighted your comparative advantages, you have also identified very clearly the challenges we have to overcome in order to have optimal and sustainable development.

“These are indeed the underlying challenges to attaining lasting peace and stability in the country,” Prime Minister Sogavare further added.

He then said that there are, generally, three fundamental challenges that impede sustainable development. These include:

  1. i) the problem of availing customary land for economic development with fair returns to landowners;
  2. ii) the problem of poor governance, in particular corruption, that diverts public resources and inhibits the effective delivery of public services like education and health; and

iii) the frequency of natural disasters that continuously have setback effects on our development progress when we set out to reconstruct or relocate villages from the effects of climate change.

The Prime Minister then told participants of the National Peace Dialogue yesterday that he hopes this will be the last dialogue on peace as he wants efforts to be more tangible and to move from talking things over and putting them into action instead.

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