BY JOHN HOUANIHAU
THE United Nations Resident Coordinator, Mr Sanaka Samarasinha recently made talks with the national Government, the Opposition and other important stakeholders this week.
Mr Samarasinha told local Journalists on Wednesday 27 this week during a short press conference at Mendana Avenue Hotel in Honiara.
“We engage in discussion with Ministers and Ministries as well as with the Prime minister this morning (Wednesday),’’ he said.
Mr Samarasinha said his mission this week which is the first UN visit after the COVID-19 is of course ultimately all about people.
“We will focus to enact time, broadly speaking on four pillars of action, on Peace, on Planet-climate change, environment; on prosperity such as job creation and people,’ he said.
Mr Samarasinha confirmed his talk with Prime Minister Hon Manasseh Sogavare about the Global Crises in Ukraine.
He said he talk with Prime Minister Sogavare on issues relating to the impacts of the war on Solomon Islands and how to lessen the impacts on Solomon Islands.
“In particular the war in Ukraine, how that has an impact on countries like Solomon Islands, driving up prices of fuel, and eventually the price of food.
“Coming back to COVID19, I remain consciously of domestic that we have got over the worst but of course, we have to prepare for any and all eventualities.
“To that extent, I think we need to work harder, all of us together, not just the government but the UN and civil societies to make sure that we drive up those vaccination numbers.
He said with the borders opening with people coming in the country with possible new variant is emerging around the world, the lower the vaccination rate, the greater the risk of serious illness and immortality.
“And I have discussed that with the prime minister how we can ramp up the support that we provide through the UN agencies like WHO, And UNICEF,’’ he said.
“So we will work closely with the Prime Minister’s office to do some analytical work that is already impacting SI and help to do some projection and come up with some mitigating measures to SI deal with the negative impact of that crises,’’ he said.
“We are about to launch a new corporation agreement with the entire Pacific Region and specifically one that focuses, on SI which will be implemented from January 2023 onwards over a period of five years,’’ said Sanaka Samarasinha.
“So whether we are talking about programs in Education, Health, and Social Protection, different agencies we will come together and implement these different initiatives.
“We also have a program currently in implementation that will run through to the end of this year, the estimated budget for this year 2022 program is close to 30 million US $,’’ he told journalists.
During his meeting with the Speaker of Parliament and the opposition leader, the Trio discussed how the SIG can be strengthened through the new programme.
“We had a good exchange on how in the coming years during the new program UN can work directly to strengthen the role of Parliament.
“Of course, the speaker is also the head of the electoral commission and we have an ongoing program to work with them. We look forward to expanding that,” said Samarasinha.
He said an area of key concern and to address is to ensure the young population is involved as well as making sure women are well represented in decision making.
“One of the key areas for us is to ensure that young people are engaged, have a job, becomes engaged in their political participation at the provincial level, the national level is key.
“A greater participation of women in political processes, decision making, so we have much work to be done in terms of representation, for example increasing those numbers,’’ said Samarasinha.
“We also talk about the need to ensure that Parliament exercises its oversight and legislative role in a more robust manner for which we can provide some support, help with analysis with data, with research and so on.
He also talks with six ambassadors, and High Commissioners resident here in Honiara discussing their views and opinion on how SI might be able to expand collaboration.
The UN Rep led a team of UN officials who join them from Suva along with those UN representatives who are present in Honiara.
“Almost 200 UN staff representing 9 different UN agencies are in SI working with different Ministries, the Electoral Office, Police, NGOs, Civil Societies and different Provincial Governments.