Right to Information in Vanuatu

I’ve been meaning to share an article that I saw a few months ago in the Vanuatu Daily Post about how the Acting Prime Minister, Joe Natuman, signed the first Right To Information (RTI) enforcement order bearing names of seven government agencies that the RTI law applies to.

The signing of the Order at the Ministry of Trade was one of the first of its kind to be made in front of the media. The seven government departments enlisted under the Order are the Department of Statistics, Department of Customs, Department of Agriculture, Department of Forestry, Department of Livestock, Department of Tourism, and the Office of the Government’s Chief Information Officer.
The order means the seven government agencies are obliged to fulfill the purpose of the RTI law which are to give effect to the right to freedom of expression under Article 5(1)(g) of the Constitution of the Republic of Vanuatu. They are also to provide access to information held by their respective offices, subject to exceptions provided under Part 5 of the RTI Act.
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Port Vila, Vanuatu

In addition, the seven government agencies must establish voluntary and mandatory mechanisms to give the public the right to access to information; and to promote transparency, accountability, and national development by empowering and educating the public to understand and act upon their rights to information in their respective offices; and to increase public participation in governance.
Acting Prime Minister Natuman, who strongly advocated transparency and accountability in public offices, has reassured the media that the government is fully committed to ensuring RTI implementation in all public offices and that the signing of the enforcement order this morning comes as a new page in the RTI implementation phase. He said the second order will be issued within two years and will include other government agencies and government statutory bodies. The last and final enforcement order will be issued at the end of the two-year period.
In the meantime, all public offices that are not yet covered under the first order must put in place all relevant mechanisms to cater for RTI.

About islandculturearchivalsupport

Island Culture Archival Support (ICAS) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation of records pertaining to the cultural identity of island peoples in Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia whose national and public archives, libraries, cultural centers, and business organizations are underprivileged, underfunded, and understaffed. The specific purpose for which this nonprofit corporation was formed is to support the needs of these South Pacific cultural heritage institutions by helping to preserve and make accessible records created for business, accountability or cultural purposes. The organization will endeavor to add value by providing resources or volunteers to advise, train, and work among island residents to support their efforts in building their future and preserving their collective memory through the use of modern archival techniques.
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