When the Solomon Islands gained its independence from the British colonial power in 1978, and consists of hundreds of small islands. On the six main islands, 90% of the population are ethnic Melanesians. However, the Solomon Islands are ethnically very diverse and have seen intense rivalry between the Isatabu Freedom Movement from Guadalcana, the main island, and Malaita Eagle Force from the neighbouring island. From 1998 to 2003, the Solomon Islands faced multiple interrelated conflicts following a campaign of intimidation and violence between the militants of Guadalcanal and Malaitan settlers in late 1998.
The state has been plagued by instability, socio-economic problems, and lawlessness, and despite the Australian-brokered peace deal signed in October 2000, the Solomon Islands have witnessed a continued cycle of civil unrest. Upon the request of the government, the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI), a partnership between the Solomon Islands and fifteen countries of the Pacific, was set up in June 2003. The international security contingent led by Australia and New Zealand supported the Mission in order to restore confidence in the state. Since then, RAMSI has helped the Solomon Island to work on reconciliation, establish internal order and boost the economy.
In the context of the approaching withdrawal of RAMSI, the Peacebuilding Commission (PBC), held an expert-level meeting on 8 June 2017 to provide an update on the current situation in the country and discuss the ongoing transition and peace process. The meeting was requested by H.E. Mr. Manasseh D. Sogavare, Prime Minister of the Solomon Islands with presentations by Mr. Jeffrey Feltman, Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, Ms. Osnat Lubrani, Resident Coordinator to the Pacific, Mr. Oscar Fernandez-Taranco, Assistant Secretary-General for the Peacebuilding Support Office (PBSO), and Ms. Regina Lepping from Young Women’s Parliamentary Group Solomon Islands.
Among the issues discussed were international, regional and national commitment to the peacebuilding process and the participation and inclusion of all stakeholders to help the government address the challenges it faces in the post-conflict situation. The Prime Minister of the Solomon Islands highlighted the importance of the PBC’s support to achieve sustainable peace and the participants encouraged the ongoing efforts but also called for a stronger collaboration and support from the UN.
Read the complete report on the meeting here.
This update was written by Anne-Laure Méar.