The Permanent Secretary for Solomon Islands Ministry of Lands, Housing and Survey, Stanley Waleanisia, is in Port Vila to meet with Vanuatu government representatives to discuss ways to strengthen physical planning in each country.
Waleanisia, with the assistance of the ministry’s Chief Technical Advisor, Alan McNeil, presented a half-day seminar on Solomon Islands planning schemes, and facilitated dialogue on mutual planning challenges and ways to improve planning guidelines, community consultation and urban design.
He said: “Vanuatu and Solomon Islands share similar challenges in relation to physical planning including rapid population growth, insufficient public infrastructure and services, non-compliance with planning and building laws as well as climate change and other natural hazards.
“The lessons we’ve learned during the preparation of our planning schemes will be relevant to Vanuatu. I believe today’s discussions will be mutually beneficial to both our countries”.
The initiative is supported by the Government of Australia and the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) through a programme of technical support to the Solomon Islands Ministry of Lands, Housing and Survey.
The programme, which commenced in 2014, focused on a number of areas including capacity building, the development of local planning schemes for Honiara and the provincial centres of Auki, Gizo and Henderson as well as policy and legislation reform which has contributed to the passing of the Solomon Islands Town and Country (Amendment) Act by the National Parliament in February this year.
The half-day seminar was hosted at the Melanesian Spearhead Group Secretariat.