Beyond Recovery: Towards 2030

Our Evolving Response for Vanuatu

Vanuatu announced its first COVID-19 case on 11 November 2020. The case was detected in quarantine and is considered a border case and not an outbreak. The whole island of Efate has been placed in a temporary lockdown until health risk assessments on contact tracing and precautionary testing are completed. So far there has been only one confirmed case and no deaths. 

On 26 March 2020, the President of Vanuatu signed a declaration for a State of Emergency (SOE)  over the whole of Vanuatu, initially for a two-week period, for the purpose of strengthening prevention and containment measures in response to the COVID-19 global pandemic. Since April, the SOE has been extended multiple times. 

On 13 July, the SOE regarding COVID-19 was extended until the 31 December. Currently the borders are closed to regular commercial flights however, cargo flights and special flights for repatriation of citizens and residents are allowed in under special authorization and quarantine measures. 

UNDP's Offer 2.0 

Building a new social contract

UNDP is supporting the Government in the following areas:

Improving the capacity of Vanuatu’s electoral authorities contribute to its ability to enhance the political process through credible and transparent electoral processes. UNDP, through the Vanuatu Electoral Environment Project (VEEP) is supporting the democratic development of Vanuatu by:

  • Supporting the electoral activities, national election that was held in March 2020, the first election in the world to be conducted after the pandemic was declared. Despite the country having no confirmed cases, the preparations for elections had to factor in the risk and put in place important mitigation measures. VEEP advised the electoral authorities to liaise with the national health authorities and the government to coordinate a response. The project also liaised with other UN agencies (WHO and UNICEF) and private sector to set-up hand washing stations at polling stations, as well as to purchase personal protective equipment, hand sanitizers and disinfectants for electoral officers to be used during polling and counting operations. 
  • Providing reliable populational statistics to support the COVID-19 preparedness and providing rapid response services to the population affected by Tropical Cyclone Harold, including preparations for the 2020 National Census.

Institutional continuity of the Vanuatu Parliament to fulfil its constitutional mandate with a specific focus on its continuity despite COVID-19 restrictions through: 

  • strategic and technical advice for review and adaptation of parliamentary procedure to the new working context 
  • support the development of internal Standard Operating Procedures and Business Continuity Plan to ensure administrative continuity
  • assist the digitalization and capacity to work remotely by providing ICT equipment to allow virtual meetings of committees, virtual public consultations and budget discussions. 

A specific assistance is proposed on strengthening parliamentary oversight of the Executive response to the pandemic and provide a ‘surge’ capacity to conduct an independent parliamentary budget analysis on COVID-19 response packages through the Pacific Floating Budget Office, especially on cross-cutting thematic issues such as gender inclusivity and climate change finance.

Provision of technical policy and advisory support on COVID-19 and corruption. An advisory note on ‘COVID-19 and Corruption in the Pacific’ has been prepared and distributed to Pacific governments. A series of COVID-19 activities are being implemented, including in relation to addressing the procurement risks, capacity building for corruption risk assessment in the health sector, alerting of human-rights implications of corruption under COVID-19 and awareness raising of COVID-19 corruption risks across all sectors of society.

 

Uprooting inequalities

UNDP is supporting the Government through its:

Strong support in response to COVID-19 and Tropical Cyclone Harold through the UNDP VEEP Project. These events include:

  • Support to a national ID card verification campaign, which first prioritized the most affected areas with immediate replacement of primary identification (ID) documents lost during the cyclone. 
  • Develop awareness within the international and national partners about the importance of using national IDs is a potential tool to help the government better respond to pandemics and natural disasters such as improved access to critical services and benefits i.e. the distribution of stimulus/relief packages, health and educational services.
  • Provide technical support in granting the Ministry of Health access to the national ID card database and allow government authorities to verify the quarantine health database. The project also supports the Vila Central Hospital keep restricted access to the COVID-19 wards, tracking information of citizens who were in contact with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 cases.
  • UNDP now collaborates with UNICEF for VEEP’s mobile birth registration; and registration of the young population is done in partnership with the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Health.

Supported laboratory testing in Vanuatu through the procurement of Polymerase chain reaction lab reagents for COVID testing. 

 

Rebalancing nature, climate and economy

UNDP is supporting the Government in:

Climate Action: The Vanuatu Climate Adaption Project (II) is currently being designed and will support sustainable land management initiatives at community level to restore ecosystem and improve resilience to climate change. With better farming practices, communities will be able to harvest more and better food for their subsistence livelihood. 

Renewable Energy: The Barrier Removal for Achieving the National Energy Road Map Targets of Vanuatu (BRANTV) project is enabling the country to achieve its energy access, sustainable energy, and green growth targets. Building-II (LECB-II) and Climate Action Enhancement Package includes: 

  • Strengthen and harmonize policies, institutional frameworks and national monitoring, reporting and verification systems to mainstream national mitigation policies and targets in the context of Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), and
  • Enhance Vanuatu’s NDC by raising its ambition as part of the Paris Agreement’s NDC update process and fast-track NDC implementation by providing in-country technical expertise and capacity building.

 

For speed and scale

UNDP is supporting the Government:

To deploy digital services and accelerate digital transformation in a series of activities:

  • Design new National ID Cards and systems to improve the capacity on the ID management services provided by the Civil Registry and Vital Statistics (CRVS) Department, consequently improving the confidence of the population in government services
  • Design new web applications and providing digital services to the Vanuatu Electoral Office (VEO) and CRVS Department
  • Provide reliable population statistics extracted from the CRVS and VEO datasets, classified by gender, location and age
  • Deploy mobile registration teams for birth registration and issuing of birth certificates
  • Use of satellite imageries and population cluster identification, strategic information for COVID-19 preparedness
  • Implement the digitization of all paper-based documents used by VEO and CRVS Department for future integration with digitalization services within the Ministry of Internal Affairs.

 

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