Solomon Islands, also well-known as the Hapi Isles, is an archipelago of 992 islands with over 720 000 people who speak more than 70 languages, which testifies to the islands’ tremendous cultural diversity.
Solomon Islands is a youthful nation: seven out of ten Solomon Islanders are below the age of 34. This huge demographic segment has not been targeted enough by development assistance and peacebuilding work and suffers from high unemployment. The lack of stable employment opportunities affect income generation and poverty reduction efforts and makes youth extremely vulnerable to crime and violence. The 2018 Solomon Islands State of Youth Report reveals youth challenges: they feel disadvantaged, disempowered and have low self-esteem. Youth are marginalized from social, economic and political activities in their communities.
Solomon Islands’ women have had full suffrage since 1974 however, the country has only ever had three women Parliamentarians. The political marginalization of women contributes to women's undervaluing and the high rate of sexual and gender-based violence. Both are factors in the alienation of half population, weakening the social fabric essential for peace and stability. Young women face the double disadvantage of both social expectations of their age and their gender. Women have played an important role as advocates for peace, but their influence on decision-making processes limits that role.
Solomon Islands ranked 151st for 2020 in UNDP’s 2020 Human Development Report, which put the country in the Low Human Development category. Since 1990 Solomon Islands’ life expectancy at birth, mean years of schooling, and expected years of schooling have increased, as well as the country’s GNI per capita increased by about 20.2 per cent, to USD 2,493 in 2020. Yet, besides all the signs of progress, Solomon Islands faces many development challenges.
National Development Strategy (NDS) and Voluntary National Review (VNR) highlight economic instability, governance, and law rule among countries' key challenges. Another major challenge is the high cost and administrative difficulty of delivering services to a largely subsistence population dispersed across many islands with minimal infrastructure and expensive transport links. The majority of Solomon Islanders (approx. 85%) live in remote rural areas. Because of the geographic situation, they depend not only on energy supply and connectivity but also on climate change and the increasing frequency of natural disasters.
The UN Development Programme (UNDP) in Solomon Islands, on the ground since 1999, has earned a reputation as a trustworthy development partner in the collective effort of supporting Solomon Islands in achieving the objectives of the National Development Strategy and the Sustainable Development Goals. UNDP works with people and their governments to address the country's various development challenges.
We support Solomon Islands in implementing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and sustaining its growth trajectory by modernising institutions, reducing inequalities, digitally transforming communities, combating climate change and sustainably managing natural resources.
As part of the UNDP Pacific Office in Fiji, which covers 10 countries in the Pacific region and guided by the Sub-regional Programme Document for the Pacific Island Countries and Territories 2018-2022, UNDP in Solomon Islands has a growing portfolio of country focused interventions in the areas of:
- Effective Governance
- Inclusive Growth
- Resilience and Sustainable Development
UNDP also partners with the Solomon Islands Government in undertaking policy level initiatives, including the impact of COVID-19 on the economy, digital transformation, and others.