Solomons PM Holds Resource Management Discussions

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Communities reportedly not receiving monies for mining rights

By Jemima Garrett

MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, March 5, 2013) – Solomon Islands Prime Minister, Gordon Darcy Lilo, has called for a new, more sustainable approach to management of his country's mining, fisheries, and forestry sectors.

Prime Minister Lilo is holding a three-day high-level Roundtable on Development, Society and Environment in Honiara.

Poul Engberg-Pedersen, International Union for the Conservation of Nature's deputy director general, has told Radio Australia's Pacific Beat he will be promoting the forging of partnerships with local landholders and mining companies before mining begins.

"What are the possibilities for the Solomon Islands to engage in a different development strategy?" he said.

Mr. Engberg-Pedersen will be speaking at the roundtable and says he will be encouraging the Solomon Islands to embrace the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI).

"We have to rely on governments, this is their responsibility to make sure that... the wealth from the natural resources, including mines, are being distributed equitably," he said.

"The complaints we hear, communities say that the money being paid for mining rights is not getting down to them."

Mr. Engberg-Pedersen says, through the EITI, Solomon Islands can ensure there is a public discussion about where the money goes.

He says there should also be sanctions in place for companies who don't meet transparency standards.

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