|Overview : |
As a Small Island Developing State (SIDS), Solomon Islands experiences major development challenges associated with the small size and remoteness from major markets, which are compounded by inadequate domestic infrastructure. The country is estimated to graduate from its Least Developed Country (LDC) status in 2024 following the development of accessing certain concessional finance instruments as well as preferential market access for exports. The UNDP Country Office in Solomon Islands is implementing a range of projects in support of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). UNDP has a mandate to work in partnership with governments and institutions within countries to achieve the 2030 agenda, which is the realization of the SDGs. These are: SDG 1 on no poverty, SDG 5 on gender equality, SDG 8 on decent work and economic growth, SDG 9 on industry, innovation and infrastructure, SDG 10 on reduced inequality, SDG 12 on responsible consumption and production, and SDG 17 on partnerships to achieve the goals. The coconut sector is one of the fastest growing in Solomon Islands. Its current focus is on the shell contents, producing oils, soaps, and copra. Despite the contribution of coconut to export earnings and income for the country, the sector is constrained by limited variety of products, with low-income revenue to farmers due to overdependence on primary coconut products. Coconut husk is a by-product which is currently underutilized. Solomon Islands Government developed its national Coconut Sector Strategy, anchored on the vision of having a modernized coconut industry that is able to contribute significantly to national peace, unity and economic development for prosperity Solomon Islanders. The opportunity to enhance economic development, modernization and prosperity depends on the level of development of the key sectors where Solomon Islands has comparative advantage. Husk utilisation for coir and pith is a national priority within Solomon Islands Coconut Sector Strategy because it is identified as supporting industrialisation, job creation and entering rapidly expanding international markets.1 There is increased international demand for coir-derived products of natural geotextiles (erosion-control materials) and cordage, in the context of rising awareness of the health and environmental benefits of natural fibres and addressing climate change. To support in the development of a feasibility study lead by an international expert on coir and cocopith, a national consultant with experience in blue/green economy is sought for further national stakeholders. The feasibility study will provide an evidence base for potential development in the coconut husk utilization space. The process should be consultative with key stakeholders ensuring effective participation and ownership.