Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare has urged the PNG Prime Minister, James Marape for a collective approach to address the current issues with climate change and health issues which are becoming regional and global threats.
Sogavare made the statement at a welcome dinner, hosted in the honour of the Prime Minister of the Independent State of Papua New Guinea James Marape, after the arrival over the weekend.
He said beyond the two country’s bilateral cooperation, there are many challenges faced both in the region and beyond.
“These challenges need our collective efforts to address whether through established mechanisms or institutions such as our membership with the MSG, the Pacific Islands Forum, the Commonwealth Secretariat or the United Nations,” he said.
He said Solomon Islands is committed to working closely with PNG to address areas of mutual interest.
“The impacts of climate change provide a daily reminder to us of our vulnerabilities. It also reminds us of the urgent need for major industrial nations to do more in meeting their global commitments to reduce greenhouse gases,” he said.
Sogavare said the Non-communicable diseases have evolved as the single largest killer of people in the Solomon Islands and he hopes in Papua New Guinea as well.
“Nearly 8 deaths out of every 10 deaths in the Solomon Islands are due to Non-communicable diseases. These deaths are largely preventable. We need to do more individually and together to help reverse the current NCD epidemic in our countries. We need to pull our people back from the jaws of death,” he added.
He said both our countries have signed up to the Asia-Pacific Leaders Malaria Alliance target to eliminate malaria from our countries by 2030.
“I am told that with the right level of political commitment, leadership and resources each of our countries can eliminate malaria even if not by 2030, but that it is achievable,” he said.
He added the current coronavirus epidemic has again shown our vulnerability to such epidemics.
“We lack diagnostic, quarantine and treatment capacity and facilities to address any incursion of such viruses to our shores.
“The challenge posed by such virus epidemics is so enormous, it requires a national as well as a multi-country approach to address them effectively,” he said.
Sogavare said these challenges in health, and climate change would only benefit the two countries from a collaborative approach.
“I propose that we consider setting up a joint task team to explore further the possibility for a joint strategy between our two countries to address these priorities in health that are currently killing or have the potential to kill the people in our countries.
“We could learn from each other’s experiences including through sharing of information and technology to protect our borders and our people,” he added.