PM Welcomes New Canadian High Commissioner As He Takes Up Posting

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High Commissioner Maddison presents a gift to the Prime Minister to reciprocate a shell-money necklace gifted to him by the Prime Minister.

Prime Minister Hon Manasseh Sogavare has welcomed the new Canadian High Commissioner to Solomon Islands, His Excellency Paul Maddison on his first visit to the country and wished him well during his term in office.

His Excellency Maddison who came to the country to present his Letters of Introduction and Credentials to the Governor General, His Excellency Sir Frank Ofagioro Kabui paid a courtesy call on the Prime Minister yesterday.

“Your Excellency welcome to the country. I would like to take this opportunity to convey to you well wishes on behalf of myself and the Government and People of Solomon Islands during your term in office,” Prime Minister Sogavare said.

The High Commissioner in turn thanked the Prime Minister for his welcome and said he had been looking forward to come to Solomon Islands for quite some time.

An issue, among others, they touched on during their courtesy discussions was Canada’s assistance in the area of climate change. Canada is one of the major contributors to the Green Climate Fund (GCF) which is a unique global initiative to respond to climate change by investing into low-emission and climate-resilient development. GCF was established by 194 governments to limit or reduce greenhouse gas emissions in developing countries, and to help adapt vulnerable societies to the unavoidable impacts of climate change. Given the urgency and seriousness of the challenge, the Fund is mandated to make an ambitious contribution to the united global response to climate change. The Solomon Islands Government has recently secured cornerstone finance worth USD$86-Million finance from the GCF for the Tina Hydropower Project on Guadalcanal.

The High Commissioner said Canada’s assistance on climate change focusses on resilience and adaptation capacity building.

The Prime Minister said Canada’s assistance focusses on issues ‘dear to our heart.’

He said Small Island states would be coming very strongly on the issue of climate change at the upcoming United Nations General Assembly.

The Prime Minister said Solomon Islands, in particular, had already lost six islands because of climate change. The Prime Minister also highlighted that impacts of climate change are substantial given that, among other impacts, our coast-lines are eroding.

“An immediate challenge to deal with the effects of climate change is to relocate people to higher grounds,” he said.

Prime Minister Sogavare and His Excellency Maddison also touched on the issue of ‘youths.’

His Excellency Maddison referred to young people as the fastest agents of change.

He said in Canada, the Prime Minister is the Minister responsible for Youths and this is a powerful message reflecting the importance that the Canadian government attaches to youths.

Prime Minister Sogavare appreciated the emphasis placed on youths by the Canadian Government.

He said in Solomon Islands the Prime Minister serves as the Coordinating Minister with no specific portfolio and reassigning the youth portfolio to the Prime Minister is something worth considering.

His Excellency Maddison is based in the Australian Capital Territory, Canberra.