A workshop in Honiara, called Beyond Intervention - Navigating Solomons Islands Future, has been told the first step must be eliminating corruption, which is endemic.
About fifty community and political leaders are attending the workshop, which is sponsored by the East-West Centre in Honolulu.
Among other issues they are discussing how to combat corruption, particularly once the RAMSI intervention force leaves.
Dr Tarcisius Tara Kabutaulaka, who is an academic at the East-West centre and a Guadalcanal Weathercoast native, says corrupt public officials are not the only problem.
"It's not only public servants receiving bribes and so forth. It's taking financial resources in particular away from services such as education, health and so forth, to be used in other places where they should not be used. So it's maladministration as well."