Geographic and Governmental Profile of Solomon Islands

Background
The UK established a protectorate over the Solomon Islands in the 1890s. Some of the most bitter fighting of World War II occurred on this archipelago. Self-government was achieved in 1976 and independence two years later. Ethnic violence, government malfeasance, and endemic crime have undermined stability and civil society. In June 2003, then Prime Minister Sir Allan KEMAKEZA sought the assistance of Australia in reestablishing law and order; the following month, an Australian-led multinational force arrived to restore peace and disarm ethnic militias. The Regional Assistance Mission to the Solomon Islands (RAMSI) has generally been effective in restoring law and order and rebuilding government institutions.
Location
Oceania, group of islands in the South Pacific Ocean, east of Papua New Guinea
Geographic coordinates
8 00 S, 159 00 E
Continent / Subcontinent
Oceania
Area
total:
28,896 sq km
rank:
144
land:
27,986 sq km
water:
910 sq km
Area - comparative
slightly smaller than Maryland
Land boundaries
0 km
Coastline
5,313 km
Maritime claims
measured from claimed archipelagic baselines
territorial sea:
12 nm
exclusive economic zone:
200 nm
continental shelf:
200 nm
Climate
tropical monsoon; few extremes of temperature and weather
Terrain
mostly rugged mountains with some low coral atolls
Elevation extremes
lowest point:
Pacific Ocean 0 m
highest point:
Mount Popomanaseu 2,310 m
Natural resources
fish, forests, gold, bauxite, phosphates, lead, zinc, nickel
Land use
arable land:
0.62%
permanent crops:
2.04%
other:
97.34% (2005)
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Irrigated land
NA
Total renewable water resources
44.7 cu km (1987)
Natural hazards
typhoons, but rarely destructive; geologically active region with frequent earthquakes, tremors, and volcanic activity; tsunamis
volcanism:
Tinakula (elev. 851 m) has frequent eruption activity, while an eruption of Savo (elev. 485 m) could affect the capital Honiara on nearby Guadalcanal
Environment - current issues
deforestation; soil erosion; many of the surrounding coral reefs are dead or dying
Environment - international agreements
party to:
Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Environmental Modification, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Marine Life Conservation, Ozone Layer Protection, Whaling
signed, but not ratified:
none of the selected agreements
Geography - note
strategic location on sea routes between the South Pacific Ocean, the Solomon Sea, and the Coral Sea; on 2 April 2007 an undersea earthquake measuring 8.1 on the Richter scale occurred 345 km WNW of the capital Honiara; the resulting tsunami devastated coastal areas of Western and Choiseul provinces with dozens of deaths and thousands dislocated; the provincial capital of Gizo was especially hard hit
Country name
conventional long form:
none
conventional short form:
Solomon Islands
local long form:
none
local short form:
Solomon Islands
former:
British Solomon Islands
Government type
parliamentary democracy and a Commonwealth realm
Capital
name:
Honiara
geographic coordinates:
9 26 S, 159 57 E
time difference:
UTC+11 (16 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
Administrative divisions
9 provinces and 1 capital territory*; Central, Choiseul, Guadalcanal, Honiara*, Isabel, Makira, Malaita, Rennell and Bellona, Temotu, Western
Independence
7 July 1978 (from the UK)
Constitution
7 July 1978
Legal system
mixed legal system of English common law and customary law
International law organization participation
has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCt
Suffrage
21 years of age; universal
Executive branch
chief of state:
Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952); represented by Governor General Frank KABUI (since 7 July 2009)
head of government:
Prime Minister Gordon Darcy LILO (since 16 November 2011)
cabinet:
Cabinet consists of 20 members appointed by the governor general on the advice of the prime minister from among the members of parliament
elections:
the monarchy is hereditary; governor general appointed by the monarch on the advice of parliament for up to five years (eligible for a second term); following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party or the leader of a majority coalition usually elected prime minister by parliament; deputy prime minister appointed by the governor general on the advice of the prime minister from among the members of parliament; Gordon Darcy LILO elected on 16 November 2011
Legislative branch
unicameral National Parliament (50 seats; members elected from single-member constituencies by popular vote to serve four-year terms)
elections:
last held on 4 August 2010 (next to be held in 2014)
election results:
percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - SIDP 14, OUR 4, SIPRA 3, RDP 3, IDP 2, DDP 2, PCP 1, PFP 1, RUPP 1, SILP 1, SINP 1, independents 17
Judicial branch
Court of Appeal
Political parties and leaders
Direct Development Party or DDP [Dick HA'AMORI]; People's Alliance Party or PAP [James MEKAB]; People's Congress Party or PCP [Fred FONO]; People's Federation Party or PFP [Rudolf DORA]; Ownership, Unity, and Responsibility Party or OUR [Manasseh SOGAVARE]; Reform Democratic Party or RDP [Danny PHILIP]; Rural and Urban Political Party or RUPP [Samuel MANETOALI]; Solomon Islands Democratic Party or SIDP [Steve ABANA]; Solomon Islands Liberal Party or SILP [Derek SIKUA]; Solomon Islands National Party or SINP [Francis HILLY]; Solomon Islands Party for Rural Advancement or SIPRA [Job D. TAUSINGA]; United Party [Sir Peter KENILOREA]
in general, Solomon Islands politics is characterized by fluid coalitions
Political pressure groups and leaders
Isatabu Freedom Movement (IFM); Malaita Eagle Force (MEF); note - these rival armed ethnic factions crippled the Solomon Islands in a wave of violence from 1999 to 2003
International organization participation
ACP, ADB, AOSIS, C, ESCAP, FAO, G-77, IBRD, ICAO, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, IOC, ITU, MIGA, OPCW, PIF, Sparteca, SPC, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UPU, WFTU, WHO, WMO, WTO
Diplomatic representation in the US
chief of mission:
Ambassador Collin David BECK
chancery:
800 Second Avenue, Suite 400L, New York, NY 10017
telephone:
[1] (212) 599-6192, 6193
FAX:
[1] (212) 661-8925
Diplomatic representation from the US
the US does not have an embassy in the Solomon Islands; the US ambassador to Papua New Guinea is accredited to the Solomon Islands
Flag description
divided diagonally by a thin yellow stripe from the lower hoist-side corner; the upper triangle (hoist side) is blue with five white five-pointed stars arranged in an X pattern; the lower triangle is green; blue represents the ocean; green the land; and yellow sunshine; the five stars stand for the five main island groups of the Solomon Islands
National anthem
name:
"God Save Our Solomon Islands"
lyrics/music:
Panapasa BALEKANA and Matila BALEKANA/Panapasa BALEKANA
adopted 1978
Government - note
by the end of 2007, the Regional Assistance Mission to the Solomon Islands (RAMSI) - originally made up of police and troops from Australia, NZ, Fiji, Papua New Guinea, and Tonga - had been scaled back to 303 police officers, 197 civilian technical advisers, and 72 military advisers from 15 countries across the region
Data source 1: All Above textual data, maps and flags were extracted from The World Factbook which was prepared by the Central Intelligence Agency and made available on the following link: The World Factbook. Lebanese Economy Forum is not sponsered or affiliated, in any way, by the US Central Intelligence Agency
Data source 2: Plots and Charts are constructed using the world bank public data catalog which can be viewed by visiting the following link: World Bank Data Catalog. Lebanese Economy Forum is not sponsored or affiliated, in any way, by the worldbank

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