Government clarifies embargo on Mission ‘Country Visits’
The Ministry of National Planning and Development Coordination (MNPDC) on behalf of the Solomon Islands Government clarified today that the Mission (Country visits) embargo notice issued this week is made in reference to Annex D: Mission Guideline of the Solomon Islands Aid Management and Development Cooperation Policy and The Partnership Framework for Effective Development Cooperation policy document.
“There is no geopolitical strings attached, nor ban on diplomatic missions from visiting the country or preferential treatment as falsely portrayed in the social media,” a statement from MNPDC said.
MNPDC Permanent Secretary Ms. Susan Sulu clarified that the use of a temporary periodic restriction on missions is a normal aid management tool which is intended to allow already stretched capacity within government agencies to concentrate on important activities, which in this regard is the annual budget preparation process.
“The restriction on missions is in line with the approved Solomon Islands Aid Management Policy and Partnership Framework for Effective Development Cooperation, in particular Annex D of the document which specifically makes provisions for the effective management of programme/project related missions into the country. The Aid Management Policy and its mission guidelines has been in place since 2016 and is not something new”.
The statement further clarifies that the Aid Management Policy acknowledges that visiting missions, technical visits to discuss, monitor and implement programmes of development assistance are essential and welcomed components of effective aid delivery, however, the persistence of multiple and an increasing number of missions and technical visits can be duplicative and exacerbate capacity issues especially during critical times such as budget preparation.
Hence the use of a temporary periodic restriction to allow SIG officials to concentrate on budget preparation as there is a very short timeframe for preparation of the 2024 Government budget. The restriction also does not mean that already planned missions and other diplomatic visits cannot take place but is rather to allow for better management of in country missions.
MNPDC as a central government agency responsible for aid coordination and management maintains close and positive partnership with all development partners working with government and will continue to work to ensure that aid and development cooperation remains effective and delivers tangible benefits to the people of Solomon Islands.