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Date Posted: 19:27:17 07/10/03 Thu
Author: Anonymous
Subject: More on SG

Updates | Socio-Economic Study| Contact Details

In March 2002 the Solomon Island Government (SIG), through the Ministry of Provincial Government and Rural Development (MPGRD), asked the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) for assistance in the process of constitutional reform.

Even prior to independence, debate over the advantages and disadvantages of "state government" was taking place in some parts of the country. Over the years, many reports have been written on the topic of decentralisation, offering a variety of recommendations on the most effective way to devolve authority to lower levels of government.

Participants Team leaders/Members training at CYP SICHE Venue (Jan 27-30).
Following a troubling period of civil unrest, the Townsville Peace Agreement (TPA) was signed in October 2000 between rival parties and the SIG. The TPA stipulates the formation of Constitutional Council to devise a new system of governance that would ensure greater delegation of central government power to the provinces. In response, the SIG mandated the MPGRD to study and recommend the most suitable form of government to facilitate "autonomous political status to the people of the Solomon Islands to manage their own affairs". In November 2000, the MPGRD organized the Premiers Millennium Conference, which recommended expedient adoption of a "home-grown State System of Government" and amending the National Constitution to enable each Province to become a State with its' own State Constitution (Buala Communiqué).

In December 2000, Cabinet mandated the appointment of a State Government Taskforce (SGTF) to study the 'Report of the 1987 Constitutional Review Committee' as the basis for development of a suitable model of state government. After considering the report of the SGTF, the SIG endorsed the concept of federalism through State Government as the most suitable method of governance in the Solomon Islands. The widespread assumption
is that federalism will allow greater devolution of power, ensure equitable distribution of development benefits and enable greater involvement in decision-making by local communities regarding their own affairs.

Constitutional Reform Project Team

From left to right: Moses Mose, (Project Assistant), Steve Wilmot (Sub-Office Support Officer), Henry Kellam (Project Coordinator) Dykes Angiki (Media-Campaign Coordinator)

Following the December 2001 national elections, the new Cabinet decided to draft an entirely new Federal Constitution rather than amending the existing Constitution. On 28th March 2002, Parliament accepted, in principle, the State Government Taskforce Report as a basis for developing the new Constitution, an important part of which is the provision for State Governments. Once a new Federal Constitution is in place, individual State Constitutions are to be prepared.

The Solomon Islands Government is being assisted in the process of constitutional reform by UNDP, in collaboration with other interested donors. The Constitutional Review Project will be implemented in stages, designed in response to emerging needs and priorities. The first stage of the project (September 2002 to June 2003) involves three primary components aimed at supporting the SIG in preparation and development of a new Federal Constitution.


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