The People’s Plan – an inclusive vision for development

A validation draft of the Government of Vanuatu’s vision for development to 2030 was presented to the public and private sector leaders, chiefs and civil society representatives on Wednesday 16 November in Port Vila, Vanuatu.

Called “Vanuatu 2030: The People’s Plan”, the Vanuatu National Sustainable Development Plan (NSDP) serves as the country’s highest level policy framework, and provides an inclusive, holistic and comprehensive vision of a stable, sustainable and prosperous Vanuatu.

The NSDP was developed using consultative approach that was comprehensive and open ended, a forward thinking change from the usual methods of planning and policy development. 

 Under the leadership of Gregoire Nimbtik, the Director of the Department of Strategic Policy, Planning and Aid Co-ordination (DSPPAC), teams travelled the length of the country, from Aneityum to the Torres Islands, and consulted in detail with nearly 1,500 men and women.

The Prime Minister of Vanuatu, Charlot Salwai was committed to the NSDP being owned by the people, and the Prime Minister noted that “this is the first time Government is consulting with communities in its national development plans.” 

In 2013, Vanuatu changed the way it talked about development, expanding from a narrow outlook that focused on financial profit, to one that included the other two “P’s” of the triple bottom line approach, the ‘planet’ and ‘people’. 

IUCN Oceania is privileged to have played a role in Vanuatu’s shift to a more inclusive, holistic dialogue on national planning, with its Green Growth Leaders Coalition (GGLC) engaged in and supporting the development of this change in approach during 2013. 

 What has happened in Vanuatu is akin to the Green Economy and Green Growth principles that have or are being incorporated into national development planning in other Pacific Island countries, including in Fiji, Papua New Guinea and Tonga where the GGLC, part of the IUCN Pacific Centre for Environmental Governance, has and continues to play a supporting role.

 As noted in Vanuatu Business Magazine, the NSDP is groundbreaking: “for the first time in Vanuatu - indeed, in the developing world - we are seeing environmental issues formally included into the national strategic dialogue.”

 This is a plan, a step in a journey, worth celebrating, and in the words of Mr Kami “congratulations are due to the government and people of Vanuatu, for pausing to reflect, to engage with each other, and to chart a new course for development, one that is owned and driven by the Ni-Vanuatu, and that has people and the environment at its heart”