Today, rapid urbanisation is a worldwide phenomenon. Is it equally applicable to the Pacific island countries? Discuss the growth pattern of the Solomon Islands and its urban development issues including rural to urban migration, opportunities for migrants, and housing and infrastructure issues.
Growth Pattern of Solomon Islands
Urbanisation is the worldwide phenomenon that is linking with the movement of people from urban to rural areas. The urban areas are growing faster than the rural areas. In 2011, it is been evolved that the 50% of the world population are existing in urban areas. The fraction of population of Melanesian countries was much lesser then the recorded figures and in Solomon Islands it was just 20%. The rapid growth of cities and towns were increasing the demand for education, housing, utilities and other services (Connell, 2011). Migration is also a vital phenomenon that affects the growth process of countries worldwide. At Solomon Islands, inner migration is arrived as a big issue rather than international migration. The process of migration involves various issues such as providing labour force, encouraging business development, facilitating education, enabling political participation and many other issues (Fraenkel, Allen & Brock, 2010). This essay is developed to understand the growth pattern of Solomon Islands, various issues which involves the migration of people from rural to urban areas and various facilities and opportunities provided by Government and Private Sectors to migrants such as housing, infrastructure.
In South-Western Pacific ocean Solomon Islands is situated. Solomon Islands consist of the coral and double chain of volcanic islands Melanesia and atolls. Solomon Islands are a sovereign country that consists of 900 small islands and 6 major islands. The total land area of Solomon Islands is 28400 sq. km. Honiara is the capital of Solomon Islands that is located on Guadalcanal Island. The majority of Solomon Islanders are Melanesian that is 94.5% and rest are Micronesian, Polynesian and ethnic Chinese (Foster, 2016). In Solomon Islands English is an official language but only 2% people are able to communicate fluently in English. The people of Solomon Islands are Christian and they follow the Christian religion. The main Christian denominations are Seventh day Adventist that is 10%, United Church in Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands that are 11%, South Seas Evangelical Church that is 17%, Anglican Church of Melanesia that is 35% and rest are covered by some other region. In Solomon Islands, schooling is not obligatory only 60% of children have access to primary education (Lacey, 2011).
Most of the Pacific countries have a solitary leading urban area that is greater than the next chief urban area, the largest city among them is known as a primate city. Honiara is the urban area of Solomon Islands (Amnesty International, 2011). The concept of Urban and rural is not much clear in the Solomon island. Each province that is having administrative centres except Rennell-Bellona is considered as an urban area small centres are not considered as urban area.
The concept of migration is started when the people from rural areas or other countries start moving toward urban areas in search of food, employment, shelter and to fulfil other basic needs that they are unable to fulfil their needs at their native place. The economy of Solomon Islands is affected more by internal migration in place of international migration. As per the Census of 2009, there is no info of out-migration of Solomon Islanders. The survey of other companies gives a knowledge of the scale of their global movement, but these data are not available for most countries. The Australian Census 2011 revealed that 1758 residents who are born in Solomon Islands were moved to Australia. Internal movement comprises of movement which takes place within Solomon Islands may be measured as a variety of scales (Zhao, 2015). The undertaking within the community or between nearby village is considered to be as internal migration.
In 2011, Urban Profiling in Solomon Island was started which is followed by a partnership agreement between UN-Habitat and the Government of Solomon. The agreement is retort to the maintainable development issues of speedy urbanisation. In Pacific area, Solomon Island has the chief annual urban growth rate that is 4.7%. The increased rate of urbanisation is placing huge pressure on urban facility delivery, which is already in short supply and deteriorating in Solomon Islands (Alhojailan, 2012). The city service and infrastructures such as housing, sanitation, water, solid waste management, health services, education services, power, and roads have weakened over the years due to minimal improvement and maintenance. These issues have been impaired due to weak governance, poor management and lack of skilled human resources. The nationwide urban profile for Solomon Islands is the main long-standing recognised activism tool which is developed to inspire a policy shift towards refining the urban management and planning of cities to attain anticipated consequences for the country (Anderson, 2016). To resolve the issues of urban development urban profile will play a crucial role that will transform the cities into liveable and productive places.
Operative supremacy and strong official links among the stakeholders, local specialists and national government play a vital role in providing better services in the cities. The urban authorities in most of the cities such as Honiara city are facing problems like inadequate resources and technical capacities to address the urban management and planning matters. The feeble institutional links and monetary management mixed with lack of national urban vision has participated in the poor service delivery and urban development in Solomon Islands. This will also affect the local revenue collection of the government. Numbers of native specialists have recently helped from supported schemes such as Rapid employment Project by World Bank, the Honiara City Council Institutional Strengthening project by CLGF/New Zealand and provisional government strengthening Programme supported by United Nation Development programme (Bray, Zhan, Lykins, Wang & Kwo, 2014). These programmes are at improving, strengthening, and basic service delivery capacity. However, various local authorities provide their emphasis on improving the internal revenue collection and management practices.
Urban Development and Urbanisation Issues
The shortage of houses and high rent cost in the urban areas has increased the number of informal settlements, exacerbating health and social issues. The migrant population who has come to urban areas are facing problems of housing and due to that, they are developing an informal housing in the cities. The casual colonisers have sustained to expand their homes unlawfully over the years that result into the combination of housing superiority and casual settlements notwithstanding with lack of tenancy safety over the land they occupied (Connell, 2014). The problem of availability of housing in Honiara forms a long time. A report shows that in 1958 the problem of inadequate housing is been noted especially for Solomon Islanders working as artisans, or labour. This was suggested that the level of access of households should have the basic facilities like waste disposal, toilets, electricity and safe drinking water and these amenities are the main indicators of successful urban development.
Urban cities are the main part of economic development, as they provide economic and social opportunities to the people. The government experts receive internal revenue form the fiscal activities that take place in cities but the government of Solomon Island did not have sufficient funds to offer capital work and to keep the quality facilities for city residents. The speedy urban populace development because of migration has surpassed the job creation in urban centres especially in Honiara that is leading to increased urban poverty and high unemployment. It is important for the government of Solomon Islands to create employment for the urban informal sector, providing job opportunities to the migrant population and actual population of urban areas who are not having a proper formal education (Coxon & Munce, 2010). The informal or migrant sector needs to provide support by policies to live in the urban areas.
The greater rate of redundancy and an increased gap amid the poor and rich people combined with the poor resources and low policy capacity result into issues like urban safety and security related to cities such as Honiara. This has provided an impact on the national and local economy, such as investment in the social wellbeing of urban communities (Fleming, 2015). To achieve the sustainable urban development it is important to maintain urban security and safety. With the development of a built environment and with the speedy development of urban centres, the urban environment in Solomon Island has undergone many transformations. Some of the urban spaces have become very hazardous and unliveable such as housing development on gullies, swampy area, riverbanks and slopes. The Authorities need to makes sure that the cities are protected by climate change and by incorporating environmental risk reduction in the urban planning.
Housing and Infrastructure Problems
The land plays a very important role in every form of development especially, in urban land development. The limited supply of land to the people by the authorities has hindered the facility of satisfactory accommodation and the issue of safety of affordability and tenure. The issue of inadequate supply of land increase the level of corruption practice, poor work ethics and weak land administration that result in increased rent prices. Most of the lands are developed with usual land possession. The Usual land is the only alienable through the compound and long procedure. The administration cannot have any authority over the usual land (Godemann, Haertle, Herzig, & Moon, 2014). The cities and towns in Solomon Islands were agonised from deprived corporeal planning, and it is owing to the lack of policies and plans or strategies to address the issue of land use effectively. It is important for the government of the country to develop the policy which can maintain the effective use of the available land by introducing proper planes for failing infrastructure, road networks, absence of green space and deprived accommodation values. The development is to be complete in a peaceful way with no assembly with other communities, consultation, sectorial tactics and facility provider. The main challenge in front of the government and authorities is to improve the terrestrial supervision and reinforce planning capability as well as development of comprehensive framework for government agencies.
The national Government is liable for urban and rural infrastructural development. As per the national development strategies of 2011-2020 of Solomon Islands is developed for the development of the rural areas and to improve the link of the market between urban and rural areas. Connecting the urban areas with the rural area is a challenge for the government because of geographical dispersion. Due to the improper infrastructure, many communities are facing difficulties in retrieving superiority education, water, health care, and transport. The state government has shaped the nation urban centres, but still there is a weak speculation, management and reliance lie. Building the better roads to link the urban and rural areas and made to offer advantages for improved livelihood (Gamlen, 2014). In Solomon Islands, many problems like environmental issues, food security and poverty cannot be solved without improving the linkage between urban and rural areas.
In recent years with the Support of international organisation lie IOM and Government of Solomon Islands, the country are making significant efforts to combat migration. The new immigration act is been develop by them to provide opportunities to the internal and international migrants (Gibson-Graham, 2015). The government of the Solomon Islands has developed many strategies to provide proper housing and infrastructure to the migrants and urban population. The authorities are providing the people with a chance to get employment the main source of income for the people at Solomon Islands is wages and salaries besides that the government are providing the facilities to run their own business of fishing, farming or handicrafts.
Employment and Informal Sector
The process of urbanisation and migration has emerged as a big challenge for the imminent of Solomon Islands. The options of international migration are limited and the main problem that the Solomon Island is facing is all due to the internal migration or in other words, internal migration is the main problem for the economy of the country. The people in search of employment or people who are educated preferred to move to urban areas. Due to the high rate of migration in the problem of housing, transportation, education, health care, and infrastructure will arise in the country. To overcome the issues the government has goes into a various agreement with national and international authorities and in addition, they have developed an urban profile system. To control the rapid growth of the urbanisation or internal migration is suggested to the various local authorities and government of Solomon Islands is to provide all basic facilities to the rural population at their native place.
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