Vanuatu Ministry of Internal Affairs Sector Strategy Workshop

February 23, 2022

The Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Internal Affairs, Honourable Ishmael Kalsakau

Cherol Ala Inanna, Director General of Internal Affairs

Representatives of the Diplomatic Corps and International Organisations

Distinguished guests, colleagues,

Halo and a very good morning to you all

I am honoured and privileged to connect virtually this morning and say a few remarks for this important Sector Strategy Workshop.

Innovation as a tool for resilience and organisational change is an important focus of not just UNDP as an organization but as a personal interest of mine.

I have listened with interest to the historical example of Chief Roi Mata who established a 400-year-old system of collaboration and cooperation to provide the basis of planning to mitigate risks in times of disasters and emergencies, to improve community resilience through resources sharing and storage and of course to create a strong framework for stability, prosperity and peace.

The ripple effects of this approach are still being felt today not only in Vanuatu’s strong system of Chiefly traditions, custom and culture but in the way the Government of Vanuatu undertakes the development of its core planning such as the National Sustainable Development Plan (2016-2030) drafted only after extensive community consultations across the whole archipelago of Vanuatu in 2015.

Many of these meetings would have only taken place in Government offices, churches and schools but it was also held in village ‘nasaras’ to ensure that as many voices as possible were heard and included in what became truly “The People’s Plan.”

UNDP is pleased to support the continuation of this tradition of consultation and of voices being heard through the Ministry of Internal Affairs Sector Strategy Workshop – a modern nasara of consultation with the key sector stakeholders who will not only jointly develop the Sector Strategy but also jointly implement, resource and monitor its prioritised initiatives.

Innovation in response to risks has been a key feature of UNDPs Vanuatu Electoral Environment Project generously funded by the Government of New Zealand. You will hear shortly how the VEEP project in close partnership with its delivery partners broadened the project’s reach and impact across the sector. This Workshop is no stranger to that approach.

With concerns about large meetings taking place in an Omicron/COVID environment, it was decided to break up the meetings into small groups linked by Zoom, and have our opening remarks pre-recorded - ahead of the Focal Point group meetings later today in six different locations. I have been told that Provincial Secretaries General and Provincial Planners, partners caught by border closures abroad and are not able to be present will attend virtually – in effect a Virtual Nasara – so that all voices will still be heard.

I am confident that this process will be watched with great interest as Oceania pivots, anticipates challenges, change and risk but continues the process of innovation based on your strong heritage of custom, culture and community cooperation.   

With these few words, I wish you well in your deliberations and I look forward to hearing the outcomes of your Virtual Nasara.

Thank you and please stay safe.