Costly price of conflict

Solomons rises again from the ruins of the past

THE United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) include peace-building as part of a changing paradigm of how to achieve “development.” As a set of guiding principles that cover a broad range of issues, it is hard to interpret the SDGs as 17 stand-alone goals; the keys to “sustainable development” are difficult to isolate.

Hence why the SDGs have expanded beyond pure economics. In particular, Goal 16 is “dedicated to the promotion of peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development.” Starting in 1978, the Solomon Islands achieved and sustained peaceful postcolonial independence for two decades. But by late 1998, uneven economic development had aggravated ethnic animosity on Guadalcanal Island. Approximately 1000 firearms were looted from local police armories and between 2000-2003 ethno-tribal conflict escalated into a civil war.

In 1999 economic installations and infrastructure were also targeted, such as Goldridge Mine and Solomon Islands Plantations Limited’s palm-oil plantation. In the ensuing violence, approximately 200 people were killed and 30,000 people were displaced. According to estimates from Amnesty International, at least 100 child soldiers took part in the conflict.

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