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Australia-Oceania :: Solomon Islands
page last updated on October 28, 2009
Flag of Solomon Islands
(CONTAINS DESCRIPTION)
Location of Solomon Islands
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Map of Solomon Islands
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Introduction ::Solomon Islands
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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.
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Geography ::Solomon Islands
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Oceania, group of islands in the South Pacific Ocean, east of Papua New Guinea
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8 00 S, 159 00 E
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total: 28,896 sq km
country comparison to the world: 143
land: 27,986 sq km
water: 910 sq km
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slightly smaller than Maryland
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0 km
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5,313 km
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measured from claimed archipelagic baselines
territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
continental shelf: 200 nm
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tropical monsoon; few extremes of temperature and weather
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mostly rugged mountains with some low coral atolls
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lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m
highest point: Mount Makarakomburu 2,447 m
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fish, forests, gold, bauxite, phosphates, lead, zinc, nickel
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arable land: 0.62%
permanent crops: 2.04%
other: 97.34% (2005)
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NA
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44.7 cu km (1987)
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typhoons, but rarely destructive; geologically active region with frequent earthquakes, tremors, and volcanic activity; tsunamis
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deforestation; soil erosion; many of the surrounding coral reefs are dead or dying
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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
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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
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People ::Solomon Islands
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595,613 (July 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 166
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0-14 years: 39.5% (male 119,875/female 115,127)
15-64 years: 57.1% (male 171,792/female 168,023)
65 years and over: 3.5% (male 9,849/female 10,947) (2009 est.)
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total: 19.7 years
male: 19.5 years
female: 19.8 years (2009 est.)
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2.392% (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 35
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27.69 births/1,000 population (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 56
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3.77 deaths/1,000 population (July 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 209
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NA (2009 est.)
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urban population: 18% of total population (2008)
rate of urbanization: 4.1% annual rate of change (2005-10 est.)
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at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.9 male(s)/female
total population: 1.02 male(s)/female (2009 est.)
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total: 19.03 deaths/1,000 live births
country comparison to the world: 107
male: 21.65 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 16.28 deaths/1,000 live births (2009 est.)
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total population: 73.69 years
country comparison to the world: 100
male: 71.14 years
female: 76.37 years (2009 est.)
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3.52 children born/woman (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 57
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NA
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NA
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NA
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noun: Solomon Islander(s)
adjective: Solomon Islander
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Melanesian 94.5%, Polynesian 3%, Micronesian 1.2%, other 1.1%, unspecified 0.2% (1999 census)
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Church of Melanesia 32.8%, Roman Catholic 19%, South Seas Evangelical 17%, Seventh-Day Adventist 11.2%, United Church 10.3%, Christian Fellowship Church 2.4%, other Christian 4.4%, other 2.4%, unspecified 0.3%, none 0.2% (1999 census)
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Melanesian pidgin in much of the country is lingua franca; English (official but spoken by only 1%-2% of the population); 120 indigenous languages
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NA
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total: 8 years
male: 9 years
female: 8 years (2005)
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3.3% of GDP (1999)
country comparison to the world: 135
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Government ::Solomon Islands
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conventional long form: none
conventional short form: Solomon Islands
local long form: none
local short form: Solomon Islands
former: British Solomon Islands
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parliamentary democracy and a Commonwealth realm
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name: Honiara
geographic coordinates: 9 26 S, 159 57 E
time difference: UTC+11 (16 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
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9 provinces and 1 capital territory*; Central, Choiseul, Guadalcanal, Honiara*, Isabel, Makira, Malaita, Rennell and Bellona, Temotu, Western
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7 July 1978 (from the UK)
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Independence Day, 7 July (1978)
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7 July 1978
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English common law, which is widely disregarded; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
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21 years of age; universal
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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 Derek SIKUA (since 20 December 2007); note - Prime Minister Manasseh SOGAVARE defeated in a no confidence vote in parliament on 13 December 2007; SIKUA elected on 20 December 2007
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 monarch 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 is 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
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unicameral National Parliament (50 seats; members elected from single-member constituencies by popular vote to serve four-year terms)
elections: last held on 5 April 2006 (next to be held in 2010)
election results: percent of vote by party - National Party 6.9%, PAP 6.3%, SIPRA 6.3%, Liberal 5%, Democratic 4.9%, SOCRED 4.3%, LAFARI 2.8%, independents 60.3%; seats by party - National Party 4, SIPRA 4, Democratic 3, PAP 3, LAFARI 2, Liberal 2, SOCRED 2, independents 30
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Court of Appeal
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Association of Independent Members or AIM [Thomas CHAN]; Christian Alliance Solomon Islands or CASI [Edward RONIA]; LAFARI Party [John GARO]; National Party [Francis HILLY]; People's Alliance Party or PAP [Sir Allan KEMAKEZA]; Social Credit Party or SOCRED [Manasseh Damukana SOGAVARE]; Solomon First Party [David QUAN]; Solomon Islands Democratic Party [Gabriel SURI]; Solomon Islands Labor Party or SILP [Joses TUHANUKU]; Solomon Islands Liberal Party [Bartholomew ULUFA'ALU]; Solomon Islands Party for Rural Advancement or SIPRA [Job D. TAUSINGA]; United Party [Sir Peter KENILOREA]
note: in general, Solomon Islands politics is characterized by fluid coalitions
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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
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ACP, ADB, C, ESCAP, FAO, G-77, IBRD, ICAO, ICCt (signatory), ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, IOC, ITU, MIGA, OPCW, PIF, Sparteca, SPC, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UPU, WHO, WMO, WTO
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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
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the US does not have an embassy in Solomon Islands (embassy closed July 1993); the ambassador to Papua New Guinea is accredited to the Solomon Islands
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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
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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
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Economy ::Solomon Islands
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The bulk of the population depends on agriculture, fishing, and forestry for at least part of its livelihood. Most manufactured goods and petroleum products must be imported. The islands are rich in undeveloped mineral resources such as lead, zinc, nickel, and gold. Prior to the arrival of RAMSI, severe ethnic violence, the closing of key businesses, and an empty government treasury culminated in economic collapse. RAMSI's efforts to restore law and order and economic stability have led to modest growth as the economy rebuilds.
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$1.078 billion (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 195
$1.005 billion (2007 est.)
$910.8 million (2006 est.)
note: data are in 2008 US dollars
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$473 million (2008 est.)
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7.3% (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 29
10.3% (2007 est.)
6.1% (2006 est.)
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$1,900 (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 188
$1,800 (2007 est.)
$1,600 (2006 est.)
note: data are in 2008 US dollars
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agriculture: 42%
industry: 11%
services: 47% (2005 est.)
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202,500 (2007)
country comparison to the world: 164
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agriculture: 75%
industry: 5%
services: 20% (2000 est.)
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NA%
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NA%
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lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
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revenues: $49.7 million
expenditures: $75.1 million (2003)
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6.3% (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 105
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NA% (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 51
14.12% (31 December 2007)
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$NA (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 163
$94 million (31 December 2007)
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$NA (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 161
$85.47 million (31 December 2007)
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$NA (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 167
$126.5 million (31 December 2007)
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cocoa beans, coconuts, palm kernels, rice, potatoes, vegetables, fruit; timber; cattle, pigs; fish
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fish (tuna), mining, timber
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NA%
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71 million kWh (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 195
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66.03 million kWh (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 195
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0 kWh (2008 est.)
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0 kWh (2008 est.)
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0 bbl/day (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 118
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2,000 bbl/day (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 180
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0 bbl/day (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 205
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1,323 bbl/day (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 184
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0 bbl (1 January 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 202
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0 cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 203
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0 cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 114
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0 cu m (2008)
country comparison to the world: 47
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0 cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 73
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0 cu m (1 January 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 107
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$-143 million (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 81
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$237 million (2006)
country comparison to the world: 178
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timber, fish, copra, palm oil, cocoa
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China 47.5%, Thailand 6.6%, South Korea 6.3%, Spain 5.3% (2008)
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$256 million (2006)
country comparison to the world: 196
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food, plant and equipment, manufactured goods, fuels, chemicals
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Singapore 27.7%, Australia 18.7%, Fiji 4.6%, Papua New Guinea 4.4%, NZ 4.2% (2008)
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$166 million (2004)
country comparison to the world: 183
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Solomon Islands dollars (SBD) per US dollar - NA (2007), 7.3447 (2006), 7.5299 (2005), 7.4847 (2004), 7.5059 (2003)
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Communications ::Solomon Islands
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8,000 (2008)
country comparison to the world: 207
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14,000 (2008)
country comparison to the world: 209
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general assessment: NA
domestic: NA
international: country code - 677; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Pacific Ocean)
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AM 1, FM 1, shortwave 1 (2004)
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.sb
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4,067 (2009)
country comparison to the world: 136
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10,000 (2008)
country comparison to the world: 199
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Transportation ::Solomon Islands
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36 (2009)
country comparison to the world: 106
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total: 2
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 1 (2009)
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total: 34
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 8
under 914 m: 25 (2009)
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3 (2009)
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total: 1,360 km
country comparison to the world: 177
paved: 33 km
unpaved: 1,327 km
note: includes 800 km of private plantation roads (2002)
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Honiara, Malloco Bay, Viru Harbor
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Military ::Solomon Islands
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no regular military forces; Solomon Islands Police Force (2009)
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males age 16-49: 141,051 (2008 est.)
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males age 16-49: 121,368
females age 16-49: 122,821 (2009 est.)
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male: 7,091
female: 6,837 (2009 est.)
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3% of GDP (2006)
country comparison to the world: 47
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Transnational Issues ::Solomon Islands
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since 2003, RAMSI, consisting of police, military, and civilian advisors drawn from 15 countries, has assisted in reestablishing and maintaining civil and political order while reinforcing regional stability and security
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IDPs: 5,400 (displaced by tsunami on 2 April 2007) (2007)
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