13 OCTOBER 2010 PORT VILA (SPC)
Vanuatu's Foreign Affairs and External Trade minister Joe Natuman, and Dr Jimmie Rodgers, Director General of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) have signed a host country agreement to establish an SPC country office in Port Vila.
This is the second country office to be established, the first in Solomon Islands in early 2009.
The new office in Vanuatu is a fulfilment of the instructions by the SPC governing body, the SPC Conference at its 2005 meeting in Palau. It directed that the organisation decentralise the delivery of its services beyond Noumea and its regional office in Suva, to move services closer to the people.
A major criteria for the establishment of a 'country office' is the size and complexity of the programme of assistance SPC provides to the country.
In addition, the member must indicate its desire to have a country office established and that it was willing to meet the costs for the office space in the country.
The country office becomes an official SPC focal point for the Vanuatu government.
The presence in-country will enhance more regular consultations between the host government and SPC on programme planning and implementation.
The office will coordinate the monitoring and reporting of all services provided by the various SPC programmes in Vanuatu.
The coordinator for the country office is the Director General's representative in the country and reports to the Director General.
SPC currently has a substantial programme of assistance to Vanuatu covering a wide range of sectors including in Agriculture, Education (TVET and skills development), Fisheries, Forestry, Health, Human Rights, Maritime and Transport and Statistics / demography to name a few.
SPC provides approximately two million USD each year in technical, scientific, social and economic development programmes to Vanuatu. Of this, at least one million USD each year is for health alone.
In addition to the specific country focus, the Vanuatu office will also hosts part of SPC's Regional Rights Resources Team (RRRT) which undertake capacity building in human rights in the region.