A high-level delegation from the Solomon Islands Government will solicit support for the country’s request for extension of its preparation period to graduation from LDC Status at the 5th United Nations International Conference on LDCs which will be held in Doha, Qatar from the 5 – 10th March, 2023. Over the five days, world leaders will gather with private sector, civil society, parliamentarians and youth to discuss and advance ideas and raise pledges of support, and to spur delivery of agreed commitments to help address LDC specific challenges. Solomon Islands will also use the opportunity to gather support for the delay. The Cabinet endorsed the country’s position for an extension in the transition and preparatory period for Solomon Islands graduation from a Least Developed Country (LDC) status from 2024 to 2027. The reasons were because of the Covid-19 global Pandemic, the November 2021 civil unrest and by multiple crises and two earthquakes between the years, 2020 -2022.
The government has taken initial steps to prepare a smooth transition strategy in 2019 with support from UNDP but work was disrupted by the unforeseeable crisis. The country also did not meet the Economic and Environmental Vulnerability Index (EVI) which measures remoteness, dependence on a narrow economic base and vulnerability to natural disasters. Climate Change remains the single greatest threat to development and security for Solomon Islands. It was therefore concluded that the country is not ready for graduation in 2024. Cabinet recommends that it is necessary for Solomon Islands to recalibrate a smooth transition strategy that will be fit for purpose, responds to a changing development context and addresses vulnerabilities and threats that arise from domestic and external shocks. A UN Joint technical mission assessment conducted in January 2023 concluded that Solomon Islands remains above the graduation thresholds even with the negative macroeconomic, socio-economic, socio-political and environmental impacts of the multiple crises directly related to the LDC Graduation criteria indicators.
“Regaining graduation momentum and accelerating preparations as we emerge from multiple shocks may be more difficult and need to consider the wider implications of the multiple crises, beyond graduation and supplementary graduation indicators. “An extended transition timeframe will help us to properly recalibrate for ensuring a smooth transition and a sustainable and irreversible graduation,” cited the Cabinet paper. The Ministry of National Planning and Development Coordination was mandated to lead the preparation of a Smooth Transition Strategy for Solomon Islands. The Cabinet has also directed all SIG Ministries and stakeholders to support the preparation of the National smooth transition strategy.
MNPDC Minister Rexon Ramofafia and Foreign Affairs Minister, Jeremiah Manele are leading the government delegation to the Doha conference.
In 2018, Solomon Islands was recommended by the UN’s Committee for Development Policy (CDP) to graduate from LDC category status by 2024. This recommendation was based on Solomon Islands having met two out of three LDC graduation criteria on two consecutive triennial assessments. These were the Gross National Income (GNI) per Capita which measures income status and the overall level of resources available to a country, and Human Asset Index (HAI) which measures health and education outcomes. Solomon Islands remains committed to its vision to graduate from the LDC category, and it is important to ensure that graduation is sustainable and irreversible.