. It was officially opened by the former deputy chairperson of the Rights to Information Steering Committee, Evelyne Toa Wednesday.
Twenty-six enthusiastic participants from government ministries, departments and statutory bodies are taking part in the programme.
In her speech, Toa acknowledged UNDP-PRAC for sponsoring the training and for its continuing assistance to the Vanuatu Government since the initial stages of the development of RTI in Vanuatu.
Toa, a veteran member of the RTI Steering Committee says RTI is sometimes referred to as the engine for democracy - devising the path and laying mechanisms for good governance, transparency and accountability in public offices.
When emphasising the importance of this training, she praised the government for taking the lead in the region to legislate the RTI Act but at the same time calls on the government to commit more funds towards RTI implementation.
Donald Wouloseje from the UNDP Office in Port Vila also emphasised the importance of RTI saying it is a very much needed tool to achieving United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 16 on Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions.
“Without peace, stability, human rights, and effective governance based on the rule of law we cannot hope for sustainable development”, says Wouloseje.
He says this is a vital step towards strengthening the rule of law and promoting human rights. It also strengthens the participation of developing countries in the institutions of global governance.
The comprehensive training course was facilitated by the RTI Unit and focuses on the processing RTI request, exemptions under the RTI Act, practical class on records management and pro-active publication.
The training on the role of RTI Officers is the second of its kind, and is in preparation for the last and final Ministerial Order which is due in August this year – ending the 30-month implementation phase of RTI in Vanuatu. This means after August; all public offices will now comply with the RTI Act.
Similar training will take place on Tanna, Luganville, Lakatoro and other provincial headquarters.