UNICEF East Asia and Pacific Regional Office Director, Ms. Karin Hulshof, met with children, communities, health workers, teachers, and government counterparts during her mission to Vanuatu from 21 – 25 January. She gained insight into highlights and challenges of providing supplies and services to children in a Pacific Island Country.
226,241 people have been registered since TC Pam, including 68,760 children and 157,481 adults. A total of 45,864 children were issued with replacement birth certificates throughout the six provinces while 22,896 children were newly registered.
Over 90 participantstrained on the child protection community facilitation package during the pilot phase with lessons to be integrated into the review of the package at the end of March.
15 youthstrained in facilitation of the child protection community facilitation package conducted a child protection baseline in pilot site.
UNICEF seconded a specialist to the Department of Water (DoW) to develop a National Water Policy.
In 2017 UNICEF support to both the Vanuatu National Recovery TC Pam plan and longer term development activities within line Ministries is largely embedded in respective Ministries’ Business Plans. This purposes to reinforce Government systems by reflecting support ‘on plan and on budget’. Advantages include greater ownership, mutual accountability, transparency and stakeholder commitments in Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH), Health, Nutrition, Education and Child Protection.
On 18 January the Vanuatu Government launched ‘Vanuatu 2030’, the country’s new National Sustainable Development Plan (NSDP) for which UNICEF and other UN agencies provided input. The NSDP defines steps to deliver on the national vision for achievement of ‘a Stable, Sustainable and Prosperous Vanuatu’ in keeping with the new SDGs. It builds on progress made and lessons learned under the previous plan, ‘Priorities and Action Agenda’ (PAA) 2006-2015 that was aligned with the MDGs.
The NSDP is broadly centered on three pillars: Society; Environment; and the Economy. Unlike previous plans, the Vanuatu 2030 has culture and kastom (custom) at the heart of the document. This theme was prominent during the initial stages of writing the plan and reaffirmed during extensive public consultations. In launching the plan, the Prime Minister challenged development partners to engage with ‘Vanuatu 2030’ as a tool to encourage better alignment of government and donor resources, and to work together in true partnership to deliver on the aspirations of the people of Vanuatu. The Department of Strategic Policy, Planning and Aid Coordination is working to finalise a monitoring and evaluation framework of the plan. Ministerial Corporate and Business Plans will serve as the accompanying budgetary and implementation framework.
From 21 to 25 January, UNICEF East Asia Pacific Regional Director, Ms. Karin Hulshof, visited Vanuatu accompanied by UNICEF Pacific Representative, Mr. Sheldon Yett. The mission served to provide the Regional Director with a deeper awareness of opportunities and challenges related to UNICEF Pacific’s multi country programme approach. The field level experience in Vanuatu was an opportunity to engage with children, caregivers, health workers, teachers, community leaders and the government on particular logistical challenges of bringing services and supplies to children. During the mission, the Regional Director travelled to Erromango, an island isolated challenging to reach and move around, despite being located just south of the capital, Port Vila. Communities visited by the Regional Director expressed appreciation for the support from UNICEF, particularly after Cyclone Pam. The support ensured children returned to schools, children continue to be fully immunised and protected, and that communities have sustainable access to clean drinking water.
In mid-February UNICEF supported the mission of a three person team from the UNICEF New Zealand National Committee to Vanuatu. The mission visited sites where UNICEF supports WASH recovery activities. The National Committee staff listened to stories of children, caregivers, health workers and teachers including how these interventions are affecting their lives.
In keeping with the Harmonised Approach to Cash Transfer (HACT) practiced by multiple UN agencies, UNICEF commissioned independent audits in late 2016 of all partners to whom cumulative cash transfers had exceeded US$500,000 during the current programme cycle (2013-2017). Following receipt of the final audit reports, UNICEF is working closely with respective parties in-country to answer queries and action the recommendations.
During February, UNICEF supported attendance by Civil Aviation Authority of Vanuatu and Ministry of Health of the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) Industry Conference at which details of the proposed UAV Vaccine Transport Trial were shared with stakeholders.
UNICEF hosted the quarterly meeting of communications officers, a forum for information sharing and networking, on 23 February.