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Speech Transcripts

May 7, 2014

Joint News Conference with Solomon Islands Prime Minister Lilo

Solomon Kitano Mendana Hotel, Honiara, Solomon Islands

Honorable Prime Minister, Gordon Darcy Lilo,
Senior Government Officials,
Diplomatic Corps,
Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,

First of all, please allow me to offer my deepest condolences on the loss of precious lives and to express my heartfelt sympathy for those affected by the serious rainstorm and the subsequent catastrophic flood just one month ago here in Solomon Islands.

JICA has provided emergency supplies including blankets, jerry cans and water purifiers. I hope that these supplies supplemented part of restoration activities. JICA is now planning to rehabilitate the old and new MATANIKO bridges, which were severely damaged by the flood. About two weeks ago, we dispatched a mission here to grasp the post-flood situation and now we plan to reflect the findings into the bridge design.

After the catastrophic rainstorm, your country has experienced several earthquakes of Magnitude 7 level. JICA would like to continuously extend cooperation in the field of Disaster Risk Reduction and Management. We are ready to further contribute to Solomon's early recovery and reconstruction, and to help Solomon Islands be more resilient to disasters .

It was also encouraging to hear that you have effectively utilized the shortwave radio system previously equipped under a Japanese Grant. This system helped Solomon Islands Broadcast Corporation (SIBC) promptly disseminate precise disaster information to the public. I would like to praise the great efforts made by SIBC staff, and to express my gratitude for letting us know this story through a letter to JICA Solomon Islands Office.

The Government of Japan holds a summit-level dialogue, so-called PALM, Pacific Islands Leaders Meeting, which has been an important official venue to guide our activities. We at JICA are ready to strengthen our cooperation in various areas as agreed in the PALM6 of 2012. The next PLAM, PLAM7, will take place in Fukushima in May 2015. As you may know, Fukushima is located in the north-east area of Japan and severely affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami occurred in March 2011. Japan intends to show the leaders of Pacific Islands Countries its recovery from the devastating earthquake. I am convinced that active discussions among the leaders of Pacific Islands Countries and Japan will lead to a vibrant PALM7 declaration, which will guide our cooperation further.

Taking this opportunity to be here in Honiara, please allow me to briefly share with you JICA's cooperation policy for the Pacific Islands Countries.

Our cooperation is based on two premises. First, we share the Pacific Ocean as global commons. You know the slogan adopted at PALM6? That was: "We are Islanders!" As islanders of the Pacific, we are all responsible to protect and sustain this valuable global commons called the Pacific.

Second, Japan and the Pacific Islands Countries including Solomon Islands are close partners in our diplomacy and other activities in the international community; we have successful history of friendship and cooperation in the international arena. With these two points in mind, JICA would like to enhance its cooperation for the Pacific Islands Countries as a "Co-working Peer" which our Foreign Minister, Mr. Kishida, mentioned at the Ministerial Interim Meeting last October.

I believe that the Pacific Islands Countries have great potential for better future. But due to their economic, geographical, and climatic characteristics, the Pacific Islands Countries could face serious vulnerabilities physically, socially and economically.

In order to tackle such challenges, together with Solomon Islands and other Pacific Islands Countries, and to enhance their "resilience" to vulnerabilities, JICA has been extending cooperation in mainly 4 priority areas, utilizing Japanese comparative advantages.

The first area is "Environmental Conservation and Management". For Pacific Islands Countries, environment is of paramount importance as economic resources and as a place to live in. JICA has been providing assistance in natural resource management, solid waste management, safe and stable water supply, and so on, for realizing "Eco-Island".

The second is "Climate Change and Disaster Management". JICA has been implementing various projects responding to negative impacts caused by climate change and natural disasters such as earthquake, tsunami and cyclone. Through our projects, JICA also would like to share relevant Japanese experiences and to mutually learn from natural disasters.

The third is "Infrastructure Development". For Pacific Islands Countries, maritime transport infrastructure is especially fundamental not only for economic development but as their "lifeline". JICA has been supporting port and vessel projects in many countries in the Pacific. Energy is also a crucial aspect of infrastructure. We have been extending cooperation for the promotion of both renewable energy and energy efficiency.

The last and fourth priority area for cooperation is "Improvement of Social Service". JICA has been providing assistance for a better quality of basic public services such as education and healthcare, and also for improving a delivery of such services to every remote island in a country. For this purpose, JICA has dispatched many volunteers as well.

With such variety of cooperation activities, JICA would like to contribute to sustainable development of Pacific Islands Countries including Solomon Islands.

Thank you very much.

[REFERNCE]

(1) Japanese ODA for Solomon Islands (Unit: 100 million JPY)

JFY ODA Loan Grant Aid Technical Cooperation
2008 -  4.47 3.99
2009 - 12.92 4.01
2010 - 24.42 4.14
2011 - 19.85 3.39
2012   0.52 4.32
Cumulative TOTAL - 241.70 97.71

(2) JICA's Technical Cooperation for Solomon Islands

JFY 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 Cumulative
TOTAL
Training Participants
(persons)
49 60 97 39 46 905
Experts
(persons)
13 16 14 25 29 224
Missions
(persons)
15 12 4 3 11 533
Equipment
(million JPY)
0 0 0 0.87 12.71 656.77
JOCV
(persons)
7 12 20 9 12 342
Other Volunteers
(persons)
- - 3 1 4 8

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