Press Release

Solomon Islands commit to design and implement National Employment Policy 2023-2027

Reinforcing the interlinkages between employment, peace, security, economic diversifications, and environmental sustainability

Press release | Honiara, Solomon Islands | 11 October 2022
Participants in Honiara, Solomon Islands.
Honiara (ILO News) The ILO Office for Pacific Island Countries with support from the Ministry of Commerce, Industry, Labour and Immigration began a two-day Employment Policy Prioritization Workshop for the Development of National Employment Policy at the Heritage Park Hotel which will take place from 11 to 12 October 2022.

The main aim of this consultative workshop is to facilitate national discussion and exchange information across national stakeholders on the national employment priorities. The workshop included participants from the Government, employers’ and workers’ organizations and other stakeholders. The discussion evolved around the employment policy design, addressing labour market challenges and introducing a substantive priority that comprise the technical arrangements of alternatives that can potentially resolve the employment and labour market problems at hand in the country. The discussion also looked at the procedural elements that need to be in place to review, manage and coordinate the implementation of the employment policy over the next 5-year cycle.
During the opening of the workshop Riley Mesepitu, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Commerce, Industry, Labour and Immigration said "Solomon Islands have always been inherently susceptible to disruptions like external economic and financial shocks, and natural disasters which have had a direct effect on growth, impact on livelihoods and often lead to a high degree of economic volatility, especially due to limited fiscal space. Participants have been selected to be here for a noble purpose that hopefully should pave the way for a realistic policy on National Employment that must be comprehensive, to follow, and to place us in a concerted frame to move our country towards a more stable, and equal for everyone."

Group Discussions.
The discussion in the seminar emphesized that it is critical to have greater clarity on key linkages with demand-side policies and how they can support job creation in Solomon Islands context. In this regard, the design of employment policy requires careful consideration of the specific constraints facedby the country . This policy design should consider not only the labour market, sectoral and financial structures and the external position of the economy but also the long-run development goals of the country.

Mr. David Tuhanuku, President of the Solomon Islands Council of Trade Unions, in his remarks said “This gathering at this point of time is very crucial for us in the Solomon Islands as we are living in a world that is fast-paced and rapidly changing economic, political and social landscapes. It is important and timely for tripartite partners and stakeholders to come together to discuss and support the labour department of the Ministry (MCILI) to reform policies and introduce legislation for the ruling Government that comes from all of us, not only international level but regional and national level too. On behalf of labour advisory board, I’d like to extend our sincere thank you to ILO for this gathering to help us come together and find ways to work together in combating the economic and employment challenges we are faced with”.

The ILO Decent Work & Employment Specialist for Pacific Island Countries Mr. Kinan Bahnassi during his remarks said ‘’ the discussion today will emphasize on the importance of designing NEP that addresses the root causes of the compounded challenges in Solomon Islands associated with building peace and tacking the climate change impacts. Such challenges are exacerbated by decent and green jobs deficits, particularly for youth. The discussion will introduce an integrated approach to policy framework design to amplify the objectives across multiple sectors and safeguard people against labour market vulnerabilities that were revealed during COVID-19”.

This Development on the NEP will be further supported under a new ILO project titled “Advancing the SDGs by Improving livelihoods and resilience via economic diversification and digital transformation” and the Solomon Islands is one of the target countries under this project.
Group Discussions.
The Joint Programme (JP) aims to simultaneously advance the development of foundations for the digital economy in the South Pacific Small Islands Developing States (PSIDS), support economic diversification and build greater community resilience across the three dimensions of sustainable development (social, environmental, and economic). It recognizes that to enhance the community resilience of the PSIDS, integrated strategies for development focusing on strengthening economic resilience, promoting decent work, improving social protection, protecting human rights, supporting digital connectivity and environmental sustainability go hand in hand.

For more information contact: 

Kinan Bahnassi
Decent Work & Employment Specialist
ILO Office for Pacific Island Countries

Bimlesh Raj
National Programme Officer
ILO Office for Pacific Island Countries