The CBSP is a result of several years of community consultations that paved the way for the idea and design of the pilot project and demonstrates the government and the developer’s dedication to involving the communities in the project.
More than 250 meetings were conducted since 2011 and around 5000 people are expected to benefit within the Bahomea-Malango region of Central Guadalcanal under the CBSP arrangement.
The SIG, along with the World Bank under a USD $2.8M Japan Social Development Fund (JSDF) grant is supporting the design and implementation of the CBSP.
“Benefit sharing arrangements as a part of large-scale infrastructure investments, particularly hydro-power, are gaining more attention globally as a good practice for ensuring that host communities benefit from projects hosted in their areas” said Guido Rawanga, World Bank Country Representative for Solomon Islands during the initiation ceremony.
“We are pleased to be partnering with the government to launch this innovative approach, using the Tina River Hydro-power Project to demonstrate how benefit sharing can work and to show the world that Solomon Islands can set an example for others to follow,” he added.
“The launch of this project today is an important step in securing community rights and benefits into the future,” Mr. Rawanga concluded.
With the full support of the SIG behind the pilot scheme, the Minister of Ministry of Mines, Energy and Rural Electrification (MMERE) Bradley Tovosia said the government was excited to officially launch the program.
“It will introduce and test an innovative approach to benefit-sharing that will provide a stream of benefits to the project host communities for the lifetime of the Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) between the Development and Solomon Power, and likely beyond,” he said during the initiation ceremony.
He went on to add.
“For the Solomon Islands and indeed the Pacific region, the success of the Community Benefit Sharing Project will set a precedent for future large-scale infrastructure projects.”
“It will demonstrate that significant development can occur with the Melanesian people in a way that respects their culture and the past, while benefiting their future.”
Source: Solomon Star News.