Participants of the National Dialogue on Youth Leadership, Innovation and Entrepreneurship (Photo: UNDP/Kandy Serrant)

UNDP fosters an enabling environment for young innovators through its National Dialogue on Youth Leadership, Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Vanuatu

Vanuatu, Port Vila - The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), in collaboration with the Ministry of Youth and Sports Development, the Vanuatu Youth Council and the Vanuatu Young Entrepreneurs Council, hosted a three-day National Dialogue on Youth Leadership, Innovation and Entrepreneurship from the 1st to the 3rd November 2017 in Port Vila, Vanuatu.

The theme for the National Dialogue ‘Leaving No One Behind’ falls under the UNDP’s ‘Youth Co:Lab’ initiative, a Regional Youth Programme for Leadership, Innovation and Entrepreneurship (RYPLIE). This program was designed in response to the ongoing challenges faced by young people in the Asia-Pacific region. According to the 2016 Global Youth Index, Vanuatu is ranked 112 out of 170 countries with respect to youth development and engagement in tackling development challenges.

RYPLIE aims to accelerate the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by promoting youth-led entrepreneurship and social innovation at the national level. During the National Dialogue, the promising entrepreneurs met with government officials and regional business experts, who equipped them with the knowledge and tools to implement innovative solutions to Vanuatu’s social challenges. 

UNDP Pacific Office in Fiji Country Director and Head of Regional Policy and Programme, Mr. Bakhodir Burkhanov said, “This National Dialogue is initiated to provide an engagement platform and to assist the Government of Vanuatu and key partners in creating national solutions to address the challenges of youth so they can become the agents of change and actively participate in the development process at all levels.”

“By strengthening the social entrepreneurship ecosystem, the project will invest in and create a sustainable and innovative platform for budding youth-led social enterprises to generate sustainable impact in their communities,” he added.

The Youth Co:Lab focuses on engaging and inspiring young people and giving them the knowledge and networking opportunities to develop and maintain their business initiatives, thus ensuring their own long-term financial stability and consequently, that of Vanuatu.

Closing Ceremony of the National Dialogue – (From Left to Right) Mr. George Jonathan Maeltoka, Acting Director General of Ministry of Youth and Sports Development; Mr. Kelvin Salemelo, Acting President, Vanuatu Young Entrepreneurs Council; Mr. Baptise Firiam, First Political Advisor, Ministry of Youth and Sports Development; Honourable Seule Simeon, Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Mr. Rajnel Prasad, President, Fiji Young Entrepreneurs Council (Photo: UNDP/Kandy Serrant)

Mr. George Jonathan, Director General, Ministry of Youth, Development, Sports and Training said, “This Dialogue is an important forum as it allows representatives of youth-led and youth-focused organizations and networks, youth advocates, stakeholders and others including UNDP to dialogue with each other and to explore new ways of promoting youth development and engagement especially in the area of Social Entrepreneurship.”

In March 2018, some of Vanuatu’s young entrepreneurs can have the opportunity to attend Youth Co:Lab’s Regional Dialogue on Youth Leadership, Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Bangkok, Thailand. There, they will present their business ideas and accomplishments to other young entrepreneurs and stakeholders in the Asia-Pacific region.

To join the dialogue visit,

Contact information

Kandy Serrant, Knowledge and Communications Specialist, UNDP Pacific Office in Fiji; Tel: +679 331 2500; E-mail:

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