Port Vila, Vanuatu — A comprehensive nationwide Civil and Voter Registration (CVR) initiative will be launched in Vanuatu that will allow its citizens to possess their first ever national identification cards (I.D) which will ultimately replace the current voter cards.
The Vanuatu Electoral Office (VEO) and the Department of Civil Registry and Vital Statistics (CRVS) are aiming to jointly register more than 160,000 citizens in the next six months.
Authorities intend to provide citizens with a proof of identity to improve their access to public and private services, as well as boosting the quality of the Voter Registry ahead of the 2020 general elections.
Through the Vanuatu Electoral Environment Project (VEEP), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) with funding from the Government of the New Zealand, is supporting the Vanuatu Electoral Office (VEO) to strengthen its electoral processes and management.
Registration will kick off in Luganville in the Samna Province, Vanuatu’s second-largest town, on Friday 21 June 2019 ahead of the municipal council and provincial council elections planned for 18 September and 17 December respectively. The CVR process will be conducted in six phases, one for each province of Vanuatu.
On 11 June 2019, the UNDP VEEP project conducted a Master Training in Port Vila for Electoral and CRVS officers who were trained on the technical and operational aspects of the registration process.
Those being trained will now replicate the training at provincial level, starting next week with field training in Luganville on 17-19 June. A total of 14 teams composed of five locally recruited operators will respectively be conducting registration operations in the field, visiting all villages in the more than 80 islands of Vanuatu.
The Minister for Internal Affairs for the Government of Vanuatu, Honourable Andrew Napuat highlighted the need for better access to essential services.
“While maintaining that the voter register is one of the most important functions of the Vanuatu Electoral Office, the quality of the registry has been by far the greatest concern of electoral authorities and political contestants,” said Hon. Napuat.
“Therefore, it is timely that we step up efforts to ensure we deliver to the expectation of our citizens by also providing them with the national ID card, ensuring greater and better access to public and private services.”
Mr. Napuat thanked UNDP and the government of New Zealand for their assistance towards the successful implementation of the CVR campaign.
The New Zealand High Commissioner in Vanuatu, Mr Jonathan Schwass said, “New Zealand has been working with UNDP to strengthen the capacity of the electoral authorities and improve the accuracy and integrity of the voter registry since 2018.”
“The Vanuatu Electoral Commission and the Electoral Office have won a well-deserved reputation for delivering high-quality elections here in Vanuatu and New Zealand is pleased to be providing this practical support,” said Mr Schwass.
In 2017, the government of Vanuatu announced it would introduce a “national ID card” to all its citizens. The government decided to link the voter registration data with the ongoing digitization of civil registration data, in order to improve the quality of the voter register and build trust around it. These decisions resulted in the launching of the national ID card, which was piloted in the island of Mota and Port Vila in 2017 and in Luganville in 2018.
“When the electoral authorities requested our increased support to enhance the integrity and accuracy of the voter register, we realized it was an opportunity to implement a nationwide registration, which would provide all Ni-Vanuatu citizens with both proof of identity documents and at the same time include them in the voter register, but also to clean-up the data, merging records of duplicates and the deceased” the Project Manager and Technical Advisor of UNDP-VEEP, Anne-Sofie Gerhard.
She added, “By supporting a country-wide joint Civil and Voter Registration we are also fostering synergies among public institutions, avoiding duplication of work and ensuring cost-savings.”
“One of the targets of the global Sustainable Development Goals, SDG 16, is ‘By 2030 to provide legal identity for all, including birth registration’. UNDP is proud to be contributing to the achievement of this target in Vanuatu.”
For additional information, please contact:
Maurizio Cacucci, Public Outreach Coordinator, Vanuatu Electoral Environment Project, E: email@example.com
Jone Tuiipelehaki Raqauqau, Communications Associate – Effective Governance Team, E: firstname.lastname@example.org, P: (679) 3227 552