Prime Minister Ishmael Kalsakau announcing the upcoming summit yesterday afternoon


The inaugural summit of the people of Vanuatu and the Government is set to take place from the 25th to the 30th of this month at the Convention Centre in Port Vila.

Organised under the themes of the 2022 and 2023 independence celebrations, namely “Resetting” and “Talem-Mekem, Yumi Luk,” this summit aims to foster dialogue and collaboration among the various stakeholders in Vanuatu.

With the National Sustainable Development Plan (NSDP) as its framework, the summit will bring together representatives from all three arms of the government, including the Prime Minister, ministers, Chief Justice, judges, Speaker of Parliament, and parliamentarians. In addition, it will facilitate the participation of pillars, interest groups, and partner representatives, such as chiefs, women, youths, the church, people with disabilities, children, Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), development partners, and the private sector.

Furthermore, the summit will engage representatives from different levels of government, from Directors General (DGs) at the national level to Secretaries General (SGs) at the provincial level and Area Administrators at the local level. This inclusive approach ensures that voices from all levels and sectors of society are heard and considered.

During a press conference yesterday afternoon, Prime Minister (PM) Ishmael Kalsakau underscored the summit’s primary focus on finding practical solutions and game-changing initiatives that ensure development reaches every citizen and leaves no one behind. He expressed the importance of addressing the needs of those who have not been able to seek assistance, as well as supporting small islands with limited resources.

“This summit will be the first of its kind, serving as a platform to discuss and provide mandates for the government leaders to act upon,” PM Kalsakau remarked.

He emphasised the need to shift the focus from what is lacking to utilising and developing the resources already available in Vanuatu.

Reflecting on Vanuatu’s history, the PM highlighted two pivotal moments of unity in the past. The first was during the drafting of the Constitution, a time when Vanuatu did not yet have a government. The second instance was during the Comprehensive Reform Program (CRP) and the development of the Priorities Actions Agenda (PAA), although not all pillar representatives were established at that time.

“As a Developing Country, we find ourselves at a crossroads in the history of Vanuatu after graduating from Least Developed Country status in 2020,” PM Kalsakau explained. He highlighted that the government’s primary duty as a duty bearer is to improve the living conditions of the people, known as the “Claim Holders,” based on the trust and mandate given through elections.

Looking ahead, the summit aims to answer the critical question of how much progress has been made in improving the lives of the people of Vanuatu. PM Kalsakau called for all citizens, regardless of their affiliation with the government, native island, political party, or religion, to actively engage in this discussion.

“We are aware that, after 43 years, only four islands in Vanuatu have tar-sealed roads. How much longer will it take for tar-sealed roads to reach every island?” he questioned.

The head of the Government also raised concerns about the high transportation fees such as VT30, 000 that some market vendors have to pay to sell their local produces at the market, the lack of land for youths whose fathers have sold their ancestral lands, and the absence of special services for children with special needs.

Urging leaders to lift their hands and actively contribute to shaping Vanuatu’s future, PM Kalsakau stressed the importance of prioritising human resources, from children to senior citizens. The summit’s ultimate goal is to produce an agreement among the leaders that will guide their work until 2030, coinciding with the 50th Jubilee celebration.

“In seven years’ time, we want all of us to celebrate the progress we have made, as we pave the way for our people to reach the ‘promise land’ our forefathers envisioned and fought for,” PM Kalsakau concluded, expressing his vision for a brighter future for Vanuatu.