UN calls on Vanuatu government to be more flexible
A high profile UN official has called on the Vanuatu government to be more flexible with international donors helping in the recovery effort from Cyclone Pam.
A UN official has called on the Vanuatu government to be more flexible with international donors helping in the recovery effort from Cyclone Pam.
Haoliang Xu, from the UNDP, says he is happy with the progress of humanitarian assistance in Vanuatu.
But he told Koroi Hawkins that as the country looks to long term recovery it needs to take a results-oriented approach.
HAOLIANG XU: The first thing now is the government wants to move to recovery very quickly, and they haven't wrote up a recovery framework so the challenge now is in the next two to three weeks, how we work together to come up with a programme of recovery - how international donors can support the national plan of action, this is going to come up.
KOROI HAWKINS: And is it still too soon for recovery do you think, or is it a good thing that the government has moved on to this phase?
HX: I tend to think that this is the right strategy because I think the tropical cyclone is not new to Vanuatu, so they have a lot of experience in dealing with this kind of natural disaster. Of course Pam is the strongest ever to have hit the place and also caused the biggest amount of damage. So it is an extraordinary situation. If you look at the needs of the population, the life-saving needs have mostly been met. So what we really need now is to recover the productive sector, and also building back better, building more resilience in the infrastructure that will have to be rebuilt. And also to have systems of risk reduction and early warning built in the process of recovery. So I think, in my view, what the government is doing is the right decision.
KH: Are there any concerns that were raised or that you observed in terms of what is being done in Vanuatu and what is being done?
HX: Yeah, I had a lot of discussions with government officials and also development partners. I think that from the government's point of view, they would like the international partners to make sure we coordinate with the government to support the government's objectives and priorities. And also they expressed a strong wish for international players to use national systems -- budgeting, accounting, procurement and so forth. But from the development partners point of view, I think they're providing plenty of feedback to the government. I think everybody agrees that we should support the government priorities in the planning, I think that's quite strong. I strongly supported this position. I just met the Australian High Commissioner and also the Deputy High Commissioner of New Zealand and they all supported this position that we should support the government's ability to train and coordinate. I think we're all talking to the government to say that we also need to focus on delivering results and we should use the government capacity and systems as much as possible, but we're asking the government for flexibility to use other channels of delivery so that we do work together to achieve what the government wants to achieve to really deliver benefits to the people.
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