The proposed Solomon Islands Sustainable Transport Infrastructure Improvement Program (the program) will improve the transport sector's capacity to sustain improved mobility and accessibility to socioeconomic opportunities through key policy reform actions.
The impact will be that the people of the Solomon Islands have sustainably improved mobility and accessibility to socioeconomic opportunities. The outcome will be that the government achieves safe, efficient and effective transport infrastructure through continuing rehabilitation, maintenance, and improvement of transport infrastructure by promoting the National Transport Plan (NTP), National Transport Fund (NTF), and central project implementation unit (CPIU). Subject to further design dialogue, the program will deliver three outputs below.
Output 1: Comprehensive transport policy development. The program will assist the Ministry of Infrastructure Development (MID) to develop a comprehensive transport policy to promote sustainable transport sector development to deliver rehabilitation, maintenance, and improvement works. The agenda will include: (i) consultation with civil society organizations during planning process; (ii) an update of a 3-year action plan under the NTP; and (iii) implementation of a safety audit system.
Output 2: Sustainable transport sector development funds. To manage existing infrastructure assets through rehabilitation and maintenance and to deliver safer and more efficient and effective transport systems, the government's continued and increased commitment to the NTF is necessary. This output will: (i) ensure an appropriate government contribution to the NTF based on MID's future work program; and (ii) develop a user charge scheme for transport infrastructure management.
Output 3: Implementation capacity development for safe, efficient and effective transport infrastructure. To realize safe, efficient and effective transport infrastructure development, MID will: (i) improve operational capacity such as procurement and disbursement processes, technical audit, and climate change adaptation; (ii) implement a strengthened framework for social, gender and environmental safeguards being developed through ADB administered technical assistance (TA) (i.e., Strengthening Country Safeguard Systems in the Transport Sector) and Transport Sector Development Project (TSDP); and (iii) continue a capacity development program for the government staff and private sector under TSDP (e.g., workshops, external training courses, and on-the-job training).
|Project Rationale and Linkage to Country/Regional Strategy
Economic growth has been quite strong in recent years and has been largely driven by resource extraction (forestry and mining). Outside of these sectors, growth has been centered in Honiara and a few other population centers. Rural communities generally rely on subsistence agriculture, resulting in large disparities in living standards across the country. Inadequate transport infrastructure, due to lack of infrastructure capacity and deterioration, is a significant constraint that limits opportunities in rural areas. Poor inter- and intra-island transport infrastructure constrains the efficient movement of goods and people, and affects the scope and quality of essential government services. Improvements in transport infrastructure will help expand economic opportunities for poorer communities, thereby making growth more inclusive.
An efficient national transport system, especially in urban areas, is a necessity to further enhance economic growth by enabling international and regional trade. For example, severe traffic congestion has hampered activities in the central business district of Honiara in recent years. Oversaturated roundabouts, curb side parking, and traffic flow in and out of the Honiara ports and markets along a narrow corridor, cause severe traffic congestion. Pedestrians crossing the corridor are exposed to high safety risks due to the absence of adequate pedestrian crossings. Proper traffic management, traffic control, and demand management are required.
The MID has overseen various projects to maintain and rehabilitate transport infrastructure in coordination with the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the Australian Government, the European Union, the New Zealand Aid Programme, and Japan International Cooperation Agency. MID is currently implementing the TSDP, with support from ADB, the Australian Government, and the New Zealand Aid Programme, to address transport-related issues through establishing the environment for a comprehensive transport sector-based approach based on long-term partnerships, sector coordination, capacity development, and reliance on government systems. MID is also participating in TA for strengthening country safeguards systems in the transport sector.
The comprehensive transport sector-based approach is supported by the NTP and the NTF. The NTP sets out a strategic and policy framework to develop transport services, maintain and develop physical infrastructure, and improve the capacities of government agencies and the private sector. The NTF serves as a sustainable mechanism to fund rehabilitation and maintenance of infrastructure, as well as maritime transport services, to uneconomic destinations. Since the NTF establishment in 2011, the Australian and Solomon Islands governments have contributed $27.3 million equivalent, of which contributions from the Australian Government represents about 80% of the total value.
In 2013, the government and development partners jointly assessed the current government's practices and capacity in the transport sector and built on the lessons from past projects. This identified the need for: (i) more efficient and effective operational capacity in the CPIU and NTF Board Secretariat; (ii) reliable quantity and quality of investments in transport infrastructure; and (iii) continued capacity development for achieving sustainable transport system development. The government will implement corrective measures under the TSDP operation and then reinforce the implementation through the proposed program for subsequent investment.
The program will further promote the trinity of the transport sector (i.e., the NTP, NTF, and CPIU) with a policy matrix indicating future directions for incremental reforms to be identified as a post-program monitoring framework. The program will benefit populations in rural and urban areas by facilitating the establishment of an improved transport sector capacity for achieving improved mobility and accessibility through a better transport infrastructure system, which will stimulate growth of domestic industry and expand socioeconomic opportunities. The program will also increase the government's ownership of the transport sector.
Transport sector development is a national priority in the Solomon Islands' National Development Strategy, 2011 2020. Transport is a strategic priority in ADB's Solomon Islands Country Partnership Strategy 2012 2016. The program is included in ADB's Solomon Islands Country Operations Business Plan 2014 2016.