The acting Prime Minister, Ham Lini officially launched ICT Day on May 17th 2017 at the National Convention Center.

"Honourable Ministers, Heads of Foreign Missions to Vanuatu, Government Officials, Distinguished Guests, ICT Days Partners and Sponsors, Ladies and Gentlemen; Welcome to Pacific ICT Days 2017! I would like to take this opportunity to also acknowledge our online viewers especially those from Lenakel, Tanna and Luganville, Santo for similar celebrations and are joining us this morning. I also acknowledge Mr. Houlin Zhao, Secretary General of the International Telecommunication Union for recognizing this event and sending in your video address to Vanuatu. As Prime Minister and Minister responsible for ICTs and telecommunications, I extend a warm Vanuatu welcome the participants to the Pacific Internet Governance Forum, the National Emergency Telecoms Planning Workshop and the Internet Society (ISOC) Online Privacy Workshop, and partners for choosing to host your event alongside our annual Pacific ICT Days, and we hope to host more similar ICT events here in Vanuatu in the future. Today, Vanuatu joins other ITU members to celebrate the World Telecommunication and Information Society Day 2017. GOUVERNEMENT DE LA REPUBLIQUE DU VANUATU BUREAU DU PREMIER MINISTRE SPP 053 Port Vila, Vanuatu Tel: (678) 22413 Fax: 26301 GOVERNMENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF VANUATU OFFICE OF THE PRIME MINISTER P M B 053 Port Vila, Vanuatu Tel: (678) 22413 Fax: 26301 Page 2 ICT’s are now essentially part of our lives. Children, youth, women, men, chiefs, church leaders, everyone has access and use ICTs! The government is doing its part to develop policies and establishing regulatory frameworks that ensure Vanuatu will continue to embark on technologies as a driving force to achieve our national vision. The National ICT Policy expresses a firm commitment of the Government to maximise the contribution, efficiency and effectiveness of information and communication technologies and empowering and benefiting every citizen and resident of Vanuatu. ICTs have a strong potential to transform education of our children, expand and improve government services, make us more resilient in the face of natural disasters, preserve and promote our culture, as well as provide new business opportunities, and generally enhance our livelihoods. The Universal Access Policy expresses the Government’s commitment to ensure ICTs and telecommunications services reach areas that are unserved or underserved. The policy mandates operators to connect 98% of Vanuatu’s population by 1 January 2018, and I thank all the operators for supporting this government policy and it is only 7 months away. The Cybersecurity Policy outlines the Government’s commitment to ensure citizens of Vanuatu, tourists, businesses and government enjoy the full benefits of a safe, secure and resilient cyber space enabling them to get access to knowledge and share information while understanding and addressing the risks, to reduce the benefits to criminals. Recently, the Government of Vanuatu also implemented the Right to Information Unit to implement the National Right to Information Policy that was approved in 2013. This Policy means that any person has the right to request and obtain access to information held by the government but also personal information that may be held by public and some private bodies. The RTI Policy was an initiative of Page 3 the Government working hand in hand with civil society and the media, with assistance from the United Nations Development Program. It shows a commitment by all to work together for a better future for our nation. I acknowledge the government, both past and present, for their political will and support; the private sector for supporting government policies and regulations; and the people for recognizing the importance of technology and using it. I call on our citizens, institutions and businesses to embrace our theme for this year “Big data for big impact.” Big Data for development is about turning imperfect, complex, often unstructured data into actionable information in development context. The insight brought on by advanced analysis can strongly compliment the evidence-based nature of decision-making that can be leveraged at the national, regional and international level to drive success towards attaining all 17 of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for 2030. We want to establish ourselves as leaders in ICTs, using as our models for long term development other countries like Singapore, South Korea, and Estonia. All these small countries became world leaders in just a generation, mainly through innovation in ICTs, e-commerce and e-government. We can do it, too, and we know we are on the right road. I would like to acknowledge the support of the Australian Government to the ICT and Telecommunications sector in Vanuatu through the Governance for Growth Program since 2007. This includes the support to liberalize the telecommunication market back in 2008; provide seed funding for the Universal Access Fund; the World Bank trust fund; the Daltron Government network migration project; the support for various long term technical assistance through the Ministry of Finance and Economic Management; and finally the enormous support to OGCIO through the Prime Minister’s Office totalling over 1.6 Billion Vatu all in grant Page 4 funding. This partnership with the Australian Government is fruitful especially the establishment of the Office of Government Chief Information Officer (OGCIO) and the totally independent Telecommunication and Radio communications Regulator’s Office (TRR), who are role model agencies within Vanuatu, the Pacific region and even globally. And finally, to all our partners and sponsors of the Pacific ICT Days 2017, (namely the Australian Government – DFAT, TRR, USP, TVL, Huawei, Vanuatu Tourism Office, Digicel, Wantok, Opticom, Cambuim Networks, Computer World, CNS, VNPF, Sharper Image, Kacific, Ahitec and Pacific Group Limited), I thank you all for your support to this event. I take this time extend a big ‘tankio tumas’ to our international speakers for taking your time out to be here with us over the next 2 days, and we look forward to learn and share with you at the panel discussions of each meeting. I wish you well in your deliberations and networking over these two days and I encourage you to support us again in the 2018 event. And for participants outside Vanuatu, I hope you will spend some time after this event to enjoy a bit more of Vanuatu. Having said these, I now declare the Pacific ICT Days 2017 and the Pacific Internet Governance 2017 celebrations here in Port Vila, Vanuatu open. Tankio tumas".

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