The Solomon Islands are facing mining developments that will have both environmental and social impacts. 80 percent of Solomon Islanders live in rural areas and rely on natural resources for their food, shelter and income.
Often, communities have limited information or access to information and decisions regarding their land despite most land being under local customary ownership. TNC is supporting and training a network of local community facilitators to undertake mining awareness across remote areas of the Solomon Islands.
This work is in partnership with local women’s groups to develop and strengthen the program to ensure that women — who are often left out of the decision-making process — have access to information about mining and better involvement in decision making.
The program prioritizes communities within mining tenement sites, and we are building the capacity of a core group of community facilitators to ensure the training is clear, consistent and useful for communities in remote areas. Now, more than 40 community facilitators are able to deliver a simple awareness package on what mining is and what it will mean for their communities.
To date, their work has reached over 12,000 people in remote communities, and their inputs are informing the national mining policy reform process. This process has been so successful that it is being implemented in three more provinces in the Solomons. TNC was invited by the Guadalcanal Provincial Council of women to give awareness training to participants from 21 wards.
In 2015, TNC convened the first-of-its-kind national mining forum that brought together over 185 diverse stakeholders including industry, national government, provincial government, community members, landowners and civil society organizations.
As a result of the forum, a new National Minerals policy was established that better addresses both the environmental and social and community impacts of mining. TNC played a significant role in crafting the details of the policy.