Working together to ensure economic growth, security and stability in the Pacific is at the cornerstone of Australia’s strengthened engagement in the Pacific as highlighted in Australia’s new Foreign Policy White Paper.

When disaster strikes, the world’s focus can lock into a region for a short period and then as quickly as it trended on the world’s headlines it is forgotten. This can lead to the risk that donors will fatigue or the political will is insufficient to stay the course until the job is done. This was not the case of Solomon Islands.

On June 30, Australia’s 14-year participation in, and leadership of, the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI) concludes.

I was struck by the beauty of the country and the determination of its people. Some of my ancestors sailed from Scotland to be missionaries in the Pacific, and I can see why they thought they had arrived in the Garden of Eden.

Understanding and recognising the uniqueness of our individual differences is what makes our communities and countries strong, inclusive and progressive.