Allow me firstly welcome you and your delegation to our beautiful shores, as we are all here attending the 5th Enhanced political dialogue between Vanuatu and the European Union, to discuss important agenda for cooperation and also reflect on the discuss achieved in our mutual relationship. It is also an opportunity for the Government of Vanuatu to set out how want to see the relationship develop further.
· The previous Enhanced political Dialogue, which i attended back in 2017, was held in Brussels where a number of issues have been thoroughly discussed. However, it is important to understand that some of the issues have involved and required an update to ensure that both party well informed of the more or less progress made.
· As head of the Government, I wish to reiterate that the European Union is a very important development and strategic partner for the Republic of Vanuatu. re . The relations between Vanuatu and EU covers many areas and the agenda presented before us, is a testament to this relationship. And a head of the Government of the Republic of Vanuatu, I Believed that Vanuatu and EU will continue to have this good relationship and such political Dialogue to continue to help, support and strengthen our relation in the years to come. Moreover , it is therefore important to ensure that our mutual objectives are clear, and that we regularly in this dialogue, to reaffirm and refine the terms of our mutual relationships.
Much has changed since 2017 4th Enhanced Political Dialogue in Brussels. The recovery from TC Pam has progressed well, and this has allowed the government to look up and beyond reconstruction strategy, and focus on the long term vision for our country. We Call this Vanuatu 2030 ( or the National Sustainable Development Goals - NSPD)
As you know, The NSPD was launched in January 2016 and it's national document and its M£E framework was launched in August 2018.
The NSDP is just a first step, We have already begun working with line ministries on aligning policies with the NSDP, and we want donor partner to join us in this exercise. For Donor partners especially notable one likes European Union- we hope that the NSDP can be a reference tool to help understand each other's priorities and to ensure that our work ( and our budget) complement each other.
To help support this ambition, going forward, we intend to use a new approach - sectoral Donor Coordination meeting. These meeting will bring together donor representatives, relevant senior civil servants and other stakeholders on a quarterly basis around specific sectors, starting with infrastructure.
This model-which is common in many countries that graduated LDC status status-will help to pool ideas and resources, and allow us all to have a full picture of what is going on in given sector. We hope that EU, one of Vanuatu's bilateral donor, will join us in this initiative.
Without further do, i now move on to outline few political and Economic developments that were seen to have achieved in the last few years of this government.
The country has enjoyed political stability in the last years. Political stability in the last years. Political parties have asserted to continue working together in this government till 2020-en of the term of the Government.
During this administration there are relevant projects that have been successfully completed, boosting the economic development of the country. Some of the most representative are: the Lapetasi warf, the urban beautification project/Road in Port Vila, The Tanna and Malekula tar-seal Road projects, the Santo Warf, the upgrading of international airports, and of course the implementation of the TC Pam recovery project.
Vanuatu will celebrate its graduation from the LDC category in December 2020. Transposition strategies are being drafted and are yet to consulted and approved by the council of ministers.
With respect to the consolidation of democracy, the rule of law and Human rights, there is also important progress to highlight.
Vanuatu recognize the implications of political stability. After a series of consultations and workshop on political reform and parties registration, the political integrity legal framework bill has been drafted is now in the consultation process.
Vanuatu is working for implementing the recommendation of the 3rd UN Universal periodic Review, putting strong emphasis on the ratification of the human Rights Core Convention and to comply with the Paris Principal in establishing its National Human Rights Institution.
Policy efforts for addressing gender equality and gender-based violence are inherently present in the agenda of the government, starting from the NSDP under the social pillar, and being translated into National Gender Policy in 2017 and the Budget policy priorities. Moreover, the Gender Cluster has been represented in all previous disaster recovery plans.
For Vanuatu, development cooperation with the European Union is fundamental. The country appreciates and is thankful for the 11th EDF allocation to the Pacific RIP and for the Vanuatu value chain Bilateral program. Vanuatu will actively participate in the fourth round of negotiation of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Partnership Agreement with the European Union.
We recognize the challenge that the country faces in terms of trade. For instance, inadequate facilities and capacity in dealing Sanitary and Phytopsanitary cause barrier to trade, as well as the lack of productive capacity, inefficient customs procedures, and an overvalued exchanged rate.
Nevertheless, I wish to express my deep concerns in relation to the EU decision of including Vanuatu to its list of non-cooperative tax jurisdictions, damaging to the reputation on the Vanuatu economy adopted by the EU Finance Ministers in this matter, in violation of the letter and the spirit of the ACP-EU Cotonou Partnership Agreement, which importantly spell out in article 12 directing the EU to inform member countries of the ACP, including Vanuatu through their formal representation, of any measures that EU intend to take that might affect the interest of ACP Members States. I wish to register my disappointment in this regards.
The Government has already step up efforts on working together with the competent Authority to find solutions and to strengthen its cooperation in international tax governance, within the framework of Vanuatu- EU cooperation.
Regarding Security, in January it was decided to establish a National Security Council to oversee all security propelled by the development of this country.
Regarding Fisheries, Vanuatu is making efforts for strengthening national legislation in relation to fight against IUU fishing activities and law enforcement. Vanuatu is working on its vessel Monitoring system and working with FFA to strength to use geo-fencing to ensure Vanuatu vessels do not operate in areas where they aren't authorized to do so and for foreign fishing vessels not authorised to fish in the Vanuatu EEZ. As an added measure a new legal provision will created to require a Vanuatu vessel to declare any fishing access agreement or licence to fish in third country.
February 2020 I getting closer for the post Cotonou Negotiations and we are all having high expectation on the delivery of an ambitious agreement. This new ambitious agreement between ACP and EU and more precisely between the Pacific and the EU will serve as a legal platform that will guide the working relations between the EU and the Pacific. And as head of this country, i wish to see the EU and the Pacific working more together as true true partners build on shared and ambitions.
To conclude Madame, I wish to reiterate that the European Union and Vanuatu have enjoyed a true partnership over many years back. We need to continue working together to make this bilateral relationship stronger and strong in many ways.
I am confident that if we work more closely together as partners, it will be a great success for this country, aiding Vanuatu to meet its development its developments objectives in the years to come. With this note I thank you all for being part of this dialogue and thank you all for you kind attention.
I wish you all a good dialogue