Vanuatu Diplomats Return To Port Vila For Annual Meeting

Heads of Missions, Prime Minister to formulate foreign policy for 2017 and beyond

By Godwin Ligo

PORT VILA, Vanuatu (Vanuatu Daily Post, April 6, 2017) – Vanuatu Heads of Missions abroad converged in Port Vila this week in a Meeting convened by the Government of Vanuatu (on regular basis) where the Vanuatu Prime Minister and the Vanuatu Government Ministers and officials meet with heads of Vanuatu diplomatic missions abroad to update them on developments at national level as well as provide new directions based on policy changes that may have been adopted by the Government.

The objectives of this meeting are; to monitor progress on actions recommended by the previous Heads of Missions, the Prime Minister to set out the Vanuatu Government’s vision on Foreign Policy for 2017 and beyond, the Government to set out Vanuatu’s National Sustainable Development Plan 2016 to 2030, to enable participants of the Heads of Missions Meeting to understand the plans and how they would factor these in carrying out their duties, for the Heads of Missions overseas to present their reports setting out their report to past year’s activities and their work programs for future, to ensure that in implementing foreign policy directives, the priorities to be achieved through bilateral and multilateral strategy are clear and which must aim at consistent application by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and external trade, ensure that political and security issues are properly set out and how Ministry of Foreign Affairs will carry out duties related thereto; and for the meeting to be updated on the status and priorities of the social sectors covering health and education.

The official opening of the two-day meeting took place Tuesday morning at the Aquana Resort in Eratap on Efate, with welcoming speech by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Bruno Leingkone, and the official opening speech by Prime Minister Charlot Salwai.

In his welcoming speech, the Foreign Affairs Minister recalled that the first Heads of Missions Meeting took place in 2010 and to be on annual basis. He said it was designed to ensure more effective and efficient delivery of services through the nation’s growing diplomatic and consular service.

“For the very first time in its brief history, members of the resident diplomatic corps have been invited to the formal part of the consultations.

“From my perspective this is another significant introduction in the evolution of the ministry’s programs aimed at strengthening another segment of direct interfacing with our development partners and friends on the development challenges, and opportunities in Vanuatu.

“The promotion and advancement of the country’s national interests through a determined and vibrant foreign policy cannot be successful without a strong launching pad.

“That is why the annual Heads of Mission are absolutely critical for sharing of ideas, open and frank conversations in bringing out the best representations abroad.

“The ministry’s resources are very modest at global, and even regional standards, hence it is my fervent hope that these consultations will further enhance collaboration from key national stakeholders.”

The Foreign Affairs Minister went on to state that: “With those considerations in mind, for the very first time the Foreign Ministry introduced a full one-day Internal Consultations yesterday (Monday) where together with the Public Service Commission and the Ministry of Finance, we spent considerable time looking at performance benchmarks, allocation of resources, institutional strengthening initiatives, major foreign policy issues, and legislative changes to the Foreign Services Act.

“As the Foreign Minister, I can provide my assurances that these ongoing reforms will better shape the Vanuatu Foreign Service in representing the country’s political and development agenda.

“The Vanuatu Foreign Service has well represented the nation over the years with very limited resources available, but we believe that with improved and better coordinated institutional and policy support from the whole of Government machinery that external outreach and engagement with our partners and friends, will only grow stronger,” Mr Leingkone emphasized.

Vanuatu Daily Post
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