Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Australian National Centre for Ocean Resources and Security


Globally, community-based resource management (CBRM) is viewed as an effective tool for management because it enables a bottom-up approach and acknowledges the role of communities as a key ingredient in governance. However, ensuring that CBRM contributes to wider development goals has remained challenging. One facet of this has been a disconnect between CBRM and rural development (RD) initiatives.

Solomon Islands has a rural base that makes up 80% of its population, and numerous communities have participated in resource management efforts over the past two decades. However, among coastal communities in Solomon Islands, the wider development impact of CBRM (which is mainly community-based fisheries management) has been perceived as limited.

Governance and policy can have a significant influence on community outcomes, and this disconnect poses the question of how fisheries management (FM) and RD can be better aligned in the policy process. Using a pragmatic research approach drawing on qualitative methodologies, this thesis research analyses the dynamics of policy and governance related to CBRM and RD in Solomon Islands. Building on the emphasis on governance in FM approaches, the focus of the research was on improving alignment in policy and governance at multiple levels, from national policy through to the community.

The documentary analysis and interviews conducted in Chapter 4 indicated that RD has been an ongoing policy priority since the country’s pre-colonial era, but FM received minimal attention from earlier governments and CBRM was not introduced as a national strategy until the early 2000s. In the policy community, both these spaces have evolved over the years, and in sectors such as fisheries, environment and rural development national agencies are implementing their specific policy agendas. The responsible provincial departments received directives to implement from line ministries.

Concurrently, in understanding the policy interface between FM and RD, there is explicit recognition across sectors that CBRM approaches have the potential to link fisheries policy and another critical development issue: nutrition. However, interviews with key stakeholders across national policy sectors (Chapters 5 and 6) found that challenges prevail, such as gaps in implementation and specific capacity needs for institutions and individuals including slow information flows, inadequate human resourcing and skills gaps at multiple levels of governance (i.e., including the community).

The interactive governance analysis summarized in Chapter 7 revealed that within the governance landscape (i.e. the GS and SG) there were a number of influential actors. These actors interacted in a two-way engagement process on CBRM and RD activities across the three levels of governance. Further analysis (Chapter 8) showed that the levels of participation with considerations to gender and social characteristics was crucial to enabling inclusive participation in decision-making.

Across all the studies conducted for this thesis, it was clear that there are strengths in the policy community that allow for alignment of FM and RD across sectors and across the levels of governance. National government funding initiatives, together with national frameworks and networks (e.g., the National Plan of Action, National Ocean Policy and the National Coordinating Committee) allow for improved integration and collaboration. There is ongoing support from NGOs working with communities on development projects and there is potential to increase levels of participation through women’s faith-based groups and capacity efforts on CBRM and community development work. Overall, the national government and Solomon Islanders recognise the importance of their natural resources and continue to seek better development outcomes.

This thesis points to three specific opportunities to further strengthen alignment between CBRM and RD and between the levels of governance. All relevant stakeholders should engage in the three dimensions of the policy design process: policy context, policy content and agenda setting which can bring about a good policy that is endorsed in a timely manner. Clarifying the roles and responsibilities of all key actors and networks participating in the policy process will improve communication and, in turn, enhance integration. Capacity building should be central across and within sectors and across all three levels of governance.

The research contributes to the understanding of governance and implementation of FM and RD policies across and within sectors in Solomon Islands and provides a more collective approach to addressing the misalignment of FM and RD at the three levels of governance. Additional research on this subject will bring about practical solutions to enhance the policy design process across all levels of governance.



Unless otherwise indicated, the views expressed in this thesis are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the University of Wollongong.