UN development programme to boost constitutional reforms in Solomon Islands

UN development programme to boost constitutional reforms in Solomon Islands

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) today announced the launch of a new project aimed at supporting constitutional reforms in the Solomon Islands, a Pacific Ocean archipelago which has recently been the scene of political and ethnic tensions.

Under the new initiative, signed today by Prime Minister Allan Kemkeza, UNDP will carry out a socio-economic impact assessment and conduct widespread consultations in all of the country's nine provinces on proposals for the devolution of constitutional power and decentralization.

Based on the impact assessment, other reports and consultations, the project will help in developing a framework for a new federal constitution for the Solomon Islands.

"The Constitutional Reform Project is about 'governance' not just 'government,' so everyone must be involved, not just elected officials and government workers," explained UNDP's Peter Witham.

Speaking at the signing ceremony, project coordinator Henry Kellam stressed UNDP's neutral role "as a catalyst in helping facilitate the process of constitutional reform." He urged the country's people to put behind them the recent civil unrest and suffering, "bearing in mind the painful but important lessons Solomon Islanders have learned."