Port Vila, Vanuatu - Government officials in Vanuatu were introduced to tools which will assist them in accelerating the pace of progress towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Known as the MDGs Needs Assessment and Costing tools - this mechanism allows for countries to identify areas that need urgent attention.

The MDGs training in Port Vila from 25-29 August was to enable the Government to identify key issues that needed to be addressed and put a cost on how they were going to address these issues.

Officials from the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources, Ministry of Health and Department of Women at the Ministry of Justice and Social Welfare were trained to apply the MDGs costing tools in the areas of Agriculture and Rural Development, Education, Health, HIV, Environment, Energy, Water and Sanitation, Gender and Transportation. Government found the tools useful in strengthening policy development and prioritization, planning and costing and highlighted the inter-relatedness of the tools across the sectors and the need for Ministries to work together.

A follow up training will take place in November 2008 and will be complemented by a Training of Trainers, so as to develop a core of experts in Vanuatu who are very familiar with the tools. Other Ministries - including Agriculture, Education, Internal Affairs and the Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) will be trained for the first time.

The workshop is part of a three year project between the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Government which will focus on providing support to update Vanuatu's National MDG Report in line with the global review of the MDG +10 in 2010 and support how Vanuatu will plan and cost MDGs at national, sectoral and local levels.

The workshop was facilitated by UNDP and also involved several other UN agencies (United Nations Children's Fund, World Health Organization, United Nations Development Fund for Women and the Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS).

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