The European Union has this week released the final payment of EUR 6,450,000 (nearly SBD 60,000,000) to the Government of Solomon Islands as part of its partnership signed with the Government in 2014 to improve access to water and sanitation in rural areas, under the European Development Fund (10th EDF).
The EU has been supporting the efforts of the Ministry of Health and Medical Services to provide safe drinking water and promoting sanitation and hygiene in rural areas as these are fundamental elements for a life in dignity. The release of these funds is timely as it allows to continue providing access to safe, sufficient and affordable water, sanitation and hygiene facilities that are essential to protect the population from several diseases, including COVID-19.
The EU Ambassador to Solomon Islands and for the Pacific, His Excellency Sujiro Seam said: “The EU has supported water, sanitation and hygiene in rural areas of Solomon Islands since 2014. This long-term commitment translates today into a payment of EUR 6.45, which at the same time strengthens a key sector for the health response to COVID-19 and contributes to create a welcome fiscal space for Solomon Islands in challenging socio-economic circumstances”.
Under the 10th and 11th EDF, the Government of Solomon Islands and the EU have been working together to improve living conditions of the rural areas through better community infrastructures and services, including water and sanitation. The EU will continue to accompany the efforts of national and provincial governments to bettering quality and availability of essential services with new projects. The EDF also feeds into regional architecture which contributes to the ACP-EU Post Cotonou Agreement that the Solomon Islands is part of, due to be signed near the end of 2020.
The Minister of National Planning and Development Coordination acknowledged the EU support stating “Solomon Islands Government greatly appreciates this fourth tranche disbursement to support the improvement of rural communities’ access to water and sanitation. In this period of the Covid 19 global pandemic, access to water and improved sanitation remains critical and will enable government to extend and broaden water and sanitation services and facilities to rural communities”.
Minister Ramofafia further stated that, “Solomon Islands and EU continue to maintain a longstanding close and positive relationship, premised on principles of mutual trust and cooperation. The release of the final payment from the European Union to the Government of Solomon Islands signifies the strong partnership built over the years together”. Minister Ramofafia further assures that Solomon Islands Government will continue to partner and work closely with the European Union to deliver sustainable development to the people of Solomon Islands”.