Good morning to all of you my " colleagues Pacific Island countries participants including Australia and New Zealand and our Resources team who are here specifically for this conference.

From the outset, let me welcome you all to Vanuatu again, particularly those who have come to Vanuatu for the first time. It is wonderful for the first time. It is wonderful to see people from all over the pacific and beyond come here to Port Vila for this very important conference.

While administration and political reforms have been conducted Worldwide, Oceania has its own narratives. The Pacific islands states, usually referred to as Oceania, vary significantly in many critical respects of their geography and social, economic and political system. Generally speaking, the pacific was one considered to be unique in the former colonial world for the longevity of its political institutions and constitutions. However , over the past two decades , the region has become increasingly unstable politically. The Political conflict in the Pacific islands have created the so called and arc of instability stretching from Papua New Guinea to Solomon Islands , Vanuatu to Fiji, and more recently Tonga, as reflected by the 2006 riots in the capital Nuku'alofa. The political instability in the Pacific has continued since the start for the 21st century.

As those of you who follow Vanuatu politics and currents affairs ill know and understand the political stability, potential constitutional reform and the role of political parties have long been issues in the news here in Vanuatu. And I say that Vanuatu's political scenes rapidly. My Government had previously announced its plan to look at introducing  measures to provides for increased political stability and improve governance in Vanuatu. In particular, the issue of creating a modern, effective and transparent legal and regulatory framework for the creation, registration and operation of political parties remains a key challenges and priority for the Government of Vanuatu. We have withdrawn our broader constitutional reform bill in order to allow us to focus on the key issue of political parties and look to create consensus on the key content that should be included in a bill to regulate political parties. I have appointed a Taskforce to do a detail analysis, and to provide a working paper to the Parliament in November this year. This will form the basic for preparing us for a draft political parties bill, which will be table in Parliament hopefully next year.

It is for this reason that we asked UNDP to assist us through the Vanuatu Electoral Environment Project, which is funded by the Government of New Zealand, to provide us with information from the Pacific region and beyond on this important topic as well as facilitating consultation on which measures could be introduced in Vanuatu. ON Friday , the Government of Vanuatu will be holding a consultation meeting with a wide range of national stakeholders to discuss what we will at this conference and what might be relevant to our situation here in Vanuatu.

It is for this reason that i am looking forward to hearing how Papuan New Guinea, Solomon Islands, fiji, New Zealand and other countries have addressed some of these issues and to hear what has worked, and maybe just as importantly, what as not worked and why.

I would like to thank UNDP and all the donor partners who have contributed to this event- The Government of New Zealand, and Australia respectively, the European Union, and the Konrad Adenauerstiftfung Foundation. We thank you for your support for this event.

I would like to close be referring to he UN Sustainable Development Gaol 16 which talks of good governance and effective political institutions and also the Vanuatu National Development Plan that has as key commitment the enactment of political reforms that promote stability, accountability constituency representation and civic engagement.

As a country, we recognise, that in order to achieve the National goals of the government outlined in the National Development Plan, that stability, good and effective governance of our countries is a prerequisite to service delivery and strong, continuous, sustainable development and economic growth. This conference is an important step for Vanuatu in considering the systems in other countries as we look to examine and improve our governance systems with the aim of being a robust but stable parliamentary democracy.

In closing, I would like to invite everyone for a closing cocktail and dinner to be hosted by Vanuatu government at the beach terrace Warwick le Lagoon Hotel on Friday 6.30pm

With these few words, I welcome you once again to Vanuatu an now have the pleasure to formally declare that this conference is now officially opened

Thank you .

 

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