Pursuing Solomon Islands international interests from a distance amidst coping with the Covid-19 threat
According to the latest Radio New Zealand news bulletin, the New Zealand government believes the Pacific will need significant investment to recover from the Covid-19 fallout.
The foreign affairs ministry says the region is facing an array of uncertainties in a significantly altered international environment and New Zealand will have to do more to help the Pacific's weakened states through serious challenges, even if the coronavirus is kept at bay.
In a report released by the government it also says international engagement on climate change will be dampened - but there is an opportunity for what it calls a green recovery.
The foreign affairs ministry says its priority will involve reinforcing the Pacific reset.
Reading sections of the published report, I was struck how New Zealand sees pursuing its international interests faced with the demands of coping with the Covid-19 pandemic by a reassessment of how the country should operate and project itself on the international stage in an environment where the ability to travel is very limited.
The Solomon Islands might well feel it necessary to carry out its own assessment by -
Relying more heavily on its offshore networks in the absence of regular international travel on which the country has hitherto depended;
Use enhanced “virtual diplomacy” tools and practices to ensure the means of advancing foreign and trade policy interests from a distance;
Make greater use of the internet and other technologies, i.e. virtual meetings, telephone calls, digital correspondence and social media to maintain relationships;
Re-envisage the approach to public diplomacy to allow publics around the world to engage with the Solomons in a virtual way.
In such new ways of working, which can be expected to remain for some time, look for opportunities for innovation that might outlast the COVID constraints.
Source: Radio New Zealand.