Facilitated by the Pacific Islands Association of Non Governmental Association (PIANGO), the meeting heard there was a need for community awareness to be held as soon as possible on the SDGs. Most of the 30 CSO participants were hearing about the SDGs in detail for the first time.
Lead Facilitator, PIANGO executive Director, Emele Duituturaga shared that Vanuatu will be reporting on its Voluntary National Review in July 2019 and CSOs can be proactive to help the government prepare well to report to the UN.
The policy dialogue forum was held in partnership with the Vanuatu Association of NGOs (VANGO). In his opening address, VANGO Board Chair Lai Sakita welcomed the opportunity for members and partners to benefit from the knowledge and information disseminated by PIANGO.
“The participants felt that the awareness sessions were needed right across the country urgently so that the Vanuatu Government can better inform its citizens about its commitments to the SDGs,” said PIANGO research officer Josaia Osborne, who was part of the facilitating team.
“The meeting also heard that further discussions is needed with the Vanuatu Government on adherence to commitments on gender equality for example in the Temporary Special Measures Affirmative Action for women.”
Participants at the meeting urged their government to be in touch with the concerns of the people at the grassroot level to hear the real concerns and worries of the people on the ground.
The concerns have come about because Vanuatu is one of the few Pacific countries that will be presenting its Voluntary National Review (VNR) to the United Nations next year. The VNR is a gauge by which the UN uses to see how a country has adhered or done work on the SDGs.
The meeting concluded that to have a fair and accurate reporting for the VNR, the Vanuatu Government needs to take the suggestions offered immediately.
“That’s the view of the grassroot people, the view of the people who work with those who are on the ground and who have no idea about the SDGs.” Osborne said.