The Solomon Islands delegation to the 5th UN Least Developed Countries (LDC) conference in Doha, Qatar has issued statements at two important round table discussions on day three of this important gathering.
The head of the Solomon Islands delegation to the conference and Minister of Foreign Affairs and External Trade, Hon. Jeremiah Manele issued statements during discussions on “Enhancing the participation of LDCs in international trade and regional integration” and “Addressing Climate Change and supporting the environment”.
On the issue of enhancing participation of trade, Minister Manele highlighted a number of issues key towards unlocking the potential for trade with countries categorized under the LDC banner.
Among them and key to the Solomon Islands case is having in place market access Agreements and Non reciprocal trade Agreement as called for by the Doha Program of Action. Solomon Islands has trade Agreements in the Pacific, sub regionally with Melanesian countries (MSG Trade Agreement), the European Union, United Kingdom and a Non-Reciprocal Trade Agreement with China.
Minister Manele, however, points out that Trade Arrangements should be accompanied with visa waiver Agreements to further facilitate trade further pointing out that Solomon Islands has visa arrangements with a number of trading partners and still working on that issue with two of its immediate markets in Australia and New Zealand.
The Minister further called for partner donor countries to have faith in our national systems and frameworks and to allow LDCs to own and drive external assistance received so as to guarantee the sustainability of projects.
He made mention of the WTO Enhanced Integrated Framework mechanism for LDCs as a success story for Solomon Islands in building its supply-side capacity to trade.
“EIF intervention is nationally driven, with in built flexibilities that takes into account the special situation and characteristics of the country,” he added.
On roundtable discussion in addressing Climate Change, Minister Manele said the time has come for us to look at developing a legally binding climate Agreement that shifts away from voluntary to mandatory climate commitment to ensure everyone do their fair share in protecting our planet, people and future.
He said doing more climate action is part of Solomon Islands efforts to have a resilient Smooth Transition Strategy (STS) to graduate out of our LDC status.
He stressed that there is enough technology, finance, capacity and capability to turn things around but it requires the “haves” to invest in the “have nots”. The Doha Program of Action provides a framework to do that as the world needs to adopt a low carbon economy.
“Renewable energy will open economic opportunities, create jobs and transform the lives of LDC citizens including Solomon Islands.
“ The Doha Program of Action is about building resilience, it is a cross cutting issue in the Doha Program covering all six key deliveries of the Program.
Minister Manele warned that ambitions under the Paris Agreement is so low as already, global temperature is at 1.2 degrees Celsius. Under current trajectory we are heading to a more than 3 degrees world and the slow global climate action is undermining the 2030 Agenda.
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