Jenifer Wate Demands the Prioritization of Climate Change Issues

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BY JOHN HOUANIHAU

CLIMATE Change seems to be a hot topic in politics for the country, however, are local politicians under the current government which is guided by the Prime Minister’s leadership doing enough when it comes to climate change issues in the Solomon Islands?

Development Service Exchange (DSE) General Secretary Mrs. Jennifer Wate when speaking during the week-long climate justice and symposium had emphasized the importance of prioritizing climate change issues in the country.

The General Secretary also underlined that they understand that prioritizing climate change issues remain a challenge for the government.

“Development Service Exchange had attended the round table discussion with the national steering committee of the global environment facility, facilitated under the UNDP through the ministry of environment and climate change.

“And it is very interesting to see that one of the area’s communities have been seeking assistance under the small grand fund is water and sanitation,” Mrs. Wate told attendees at the event.

However, she said that when they looked at these community’s proposals and to identify which areas to be supported under the small grant fund; the need for prioritizing is very important.

“We need to understand that there are a lot of issues happening, but there are priority issues we must prioritize. And therefore climate change is one of the main issues.

She added that just recently, last month June they organized a budget consultation with the national government and relevant NGOs to look at issues to do with governments plans in preparation for 2022 national budget.

“And so, one of the issues that emerged during the consultation is climate change. However, when doing our planning, are we prioritizing the issue of climate change?

“If you look at the current budget, even the relocation budget for the National referral Hospital doesn’t reflect what it should like, too small, and so, if the government is very serious about climate issue, they must prioritize it in its budget,” she said.

In 2017, the Development Service Exchange, General Secretary was also part of the first consultation meeting for the proposed relocation of the national referral hospital.

“One project that government needs to work on is the National Referral Hospital. DSE also sits with the committee during that time and it’s sad to see that there is little, nothing has been yet done, and the risk of coastal erosion or cyclones will badly affect the hospital in ten years.

“We do need to be serious about that and we need to prioritize climate change and importantly the health plans of our government as we are facing the double impacts of Covid-19 and climate issues,” Mrs. Wate argued.


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