Solomon Islands. According to COUNTRYAAH, Honiara is the capital of Solomon Islands which is located in Melanesia. Corruption continued to plague the country. Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare said at the beginning of the year that his newly appointed government would set up an independent anti-corruption agency. But in April, the members of Parliament decided on tax exemptions for their own recently raised wages. Sogavare defended the measure, but the decision was met by popular protests. According to the anti-corruption agency Transparency International, it was “outrageous” in light of an economy with major shortcomings in schools, services and roads. Solomon Islands is one of the world’s most aid-dependent countries. Only about a tenth of the residents have paid work, while most of them live on self-catering.
In May, local landowners on the island of Guadalcanal had to take over the Gold Ridge gold mine from the Australian owner. The mine had been lying down for a year after severe floods that stopped production. The rain of the tropical cyclones threatened to flood the mine’s waste dust with the risk of discharges of large amounts of arsenic, cyanide and heavy metals. The mine has previously accounted for about 5% of the country’s GDP.
During the year, the Solomon Islands were haunted by the cyclone Pam, which caused severe damage to the islands in the east, where Tikopia was described as a desert landscape with many houses and 90% of the harvest and fruit trees destroyed.
Dissatisfaction with Prime Minister Sogavare in October led to seven of his ministers leaving the government and demanding his resignation following allegations of corruption. The opposition demanded a vote of no confidence against Sogavare, but did not get a sufficient majority so the vote was withdrawn.
Prior to the UN Climate Summit in Paris in December, Solomon Islands’ first climate refugees were noted. Residents of the Atong Java Atoll have left their homes, some 40 miles out in the sea, and settled in a slum area in the capital Honiara on the Guadalcanal. Their atoll is flooded with salt water which reduces the harvest while the population grows. Warmer climates, worse weather, elevated sea level and worse surge waves are seen as threats to many of the Solomon Islands low-lying islands.