Bakhodir Burkhanov: Handing over of road works and new climate-proofed Local Area Council Office Building at West Api, Vanuatu

Oct 31, 2017

Hon. Prime Minister, Charlot Salawai

Hon. Minister of Internal Affairs, Alfred Maoh

Hon. Minister of Climate Change, Ham Lini

Hon. Minister of Youth and Sports, Simeon Seule

Director-Generals, Directors and Officials from respective Ministries present today

President and Secretary-General of Shefa province

Chiefs of Epi island

Communities leaders from Churches, youth and women groups

Project staff of the Ministry of Climate Change and V-CAP project team

Ladies and gentlemen, girls and boys:

It is a distinct privilege for me to be part of this official handover ceremony with the people of Epi island and senior members of the Vanuatu Government led by Hon. Prime Minister. I would like to thank the Government, through the Ministry of Climate Change and V-CAP project team, for extending this invitation to me and giving me this opportunity to speak to you today.

I am very happy to be able to visit an outer island, to experience your warm hospitality and witness another milestone in the development of Vanuatu’s infrastructure.

Pacific islands are on the cutting edge of climate change. Countries such as Vanuatu are doubly exposed to not only to the threats posed by climate change and extreme weather events, but also non-climatic natural hazards. Indeed, Vanuatu has been ranked as the world’s most vulnerable country due to its combined exposure to these risks.

Assisting Pacific Island Countries to cope with climate change and disasters is therefore a key focus area of UNDP’s work. UNDP and our partners have been supporting the Vanuatu Government to address these challenges with an overall goal of strengthening the resilience of people and infrastructure.

It is for this reason that the V-CAP project, which stands for the Vanuatu Coastal Adaptation Project, was initiated by UNDP with funding support from the Global Environment Facility (GEF). The project is designed specifically to improve the resilience of the coastal zones in Vanuatu to the impacts of climate change, to sustain livelihoods and food production, and to preserve and enhance the quality of life of the targeted communities – communities such those on Epi island. I firmly believe this is one of the most important initiatives we have in Vanuatu, bringing about tangible results and improvements.

Ladies and gentlemen:

We are here today to witness some of the achievements delivered by the project for the people of Vanuatu living on this beautiful island.

On behalf of UNDP and GEF, I would like to express our sincere appreciation to the Government of Vanuatu for working collaboratively across national agencies, and coordinating the work of development partners and NGOs. The Government has shown much leadership in driving climate change adaptation efforts, and I take this opportunity to commit UNDP to continuing our support for the people of Vanuatu.

With those few remarks, I am pleased to renew UNDP’s commitment to supporting the vulnerable communities in Vanuatu, and hand over the infrastructure developed through the V-CAP project to the Responsible Ministry of the Government. These infrastructure objects include:

  • Road and bridges on Epi island; and
  • Area Council Office, which can be used as a disaster evacuation center during the time of need.

In conclusion, let me thank you – the traditional leaders and people of Epi island – for supporting the work of the project. I hope the road infrastructure and council office will serve you for many years to come.

My sincere gratitude goes out to all officials and partners for enabling these results. Your Excellency, Hon. Prime Minister, we are honored to have you lead this delegation; thank you for your steadfast leadership and that of your distinguished Cabinet.

UNDP looks forward to supporting the vision of resilient Vanuatu and helping communities such as this one prosper and grow. Thank you for your attention!

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