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7th HoM discuss way forward for Vanuatu's Foreign Policy

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HoMs and Ministers of the government during the photo session at Iririki Island Resort. Fern Napwatt

HoMs and Ministers of the government during the photo session at Iririki Island Resort. Fern Napwatt

The 7th Heads of Mission (HoM) meeting commencing on May 7 to May 9 was officially opened yesterday at the Iririki Island Resort.
HoM is an annual event that brings all Ambassadors, High Commissioners and Consuls-General to discuss foreign and development policy objectives of the country.
The discussions will involve ministers and key relevant Government line agencies and the ambassadors will report on their achievements for the year 2017 and the government will provide new directions for the year 2018.

In his official address, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, International Cooperation and External Trade (MOFAICET), Ralph Regenvanu (who is also the chair of the HoM) acknowledged participants who have responded positively to this important gathering.

“This occasion is very important to the mandate of the MOFAICET as we come together to review the components of our Foreign policy and reflect on the alignment of our work, to the vision of our country as articulated in the National Sustainable Development Plan,” he said.
“As we deliberate on our achievements for the year 2017, we’ll also discuss ways we can better address our challenges,works in partnership with relevant government line agencies , bilateral and multilateral partners towards governments development agenda.”
Mr Regenvanu said that 2017’s HoM outcome (discussed after the official opening) should be the starting point to this process-the need to take stock of its implementation, challenges during the implementation and formulated ways to better manage policy coordination among relevant stakeholders in achieving objectives.
“For this occasion, it has provided me as the minister the opportunity to get to know you all HoMs better.Colleagues who are operating in such a dynamic and complex international environment,an international engagement is fundamental to our success as a nation especially in these uncertain times,” he said.
“The work of our diplomats overseas is increasingly important to our national interest.
“There are increasing expectations from the Foreign Ministry to conduct and implement the country’s foreign policy objectives and that is important that we continue to evaluate and further develop our capacity to accommodate these growing demands.”
Mr Regenvanu stated that currently there are 11 missions for Vanuatu abroad and has shown a positive growth for Vanuatu in terms of areas of strategic interest.
“We must continue to work in building friendships and partnerships with all our partners in Europe, Middle East Asia and the African region, we need to strengthen our interaction through the countries of these regions that have great potential to assist in our course for development,” he said.

 “On the global stage, Vanuatu has made remarkable progress in projecting ourselves in the United Nations at the same defending our interest as a Small Island developing state in the international arena- Vanuatu took on the role of Vice Chair of UN General Assembly last year and has made significant contributions to the UN Agenda.

“We are facing extremely important responsibilities ahead of us and I encourage you all to think critically and creatively on how we can work together to assist our country as it graduates from LDC status in 2020 and transition to developed country status.”
The HoM is divided into two segments, the HoM proper which looks at policy issues surrounding the work of Foreign Service and the Management session which deals with the administrative side of things will convene May 9.
There will be training sessions conducted by the Department of Finance and Immigration on May 11.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs pledged his support to the Heads of Mission when he officially opened the 7th HoM.

 Source: Vanuatu Daily Post

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