National Integration Coastal Zone Management Framework (NICZF) of Vanuatu
The NICZF was approved in 2010 to guide management of coastal and marine areas, with a vision of providing a sustainable approach to coastal management through establishing institutional arrangements and involving relevant stakeholders in implementation of management activities. The responsibilities for overseeing the NICZF are shared between the Departments of Environment, Fisheries, Forestry, Agriculture, Lands, Geology, Mines and Rural Water Supply with the Department of the Environment taking the lead role in implementation. The NICFZ acknowledges the Decentralisation Act (see below), stating that the Provinces will provide local level government system support and become an integral part of the implementation process. However, at community, area council and provincial levels the PPG team was not made aware that this framework is being used as part of any planning process. Given the limited resources and capacity building needs requirements for effective implementation, it is unlikely that the NICZF will be comprehensively tested or piloted in the near future. Further, there are no references to gender equity or social inclusion issues in the NICZF, which is an area where V-CAP could provide technical assistance if requested.
The Vanuatu Decentralisation Act (2006) and the Amendment to this Act (2013) outline the roles and responsibilities of the local administration regarding decentralisation of service delivery across Vanuatu. The Department of Local Authorities (DLA), Ministry of Interior, is responsible for implementing the Act. However, the DLA is currently under resourced and lacks the capacity to drive implementation. As such, V-CAP will seek to work through and support Provincial and Area Councils (ACs) in targeted areas through planning, delivery and monitoring of locally relevant CCA solutions. This strategy is considered critical in developing local capacity and ownership for sustainable climate change adaptation. Of significance, this approach will also enable and encourage women and youth to be actively involved in local planning and decision-making processes about environmental issues given the legal requirement under the Decentralization Act for women and youth representation.
In supporting the Government’s plans for decentralization and capacity building of ACs, the V-CAP design team used the newly developed Provincial Community Profiling Survey (Shefa Province), with modifications to capture climate change issues and impacts from a ridge-to-reef perspective. This customized profiling tool, referred to as the Vulnerability and Adaptation (V&A) Assessment was developed to collect locally specific data from rural villages (in Bislama) and to enable Area Secretaries and Councils to replicate V&A’s within their jurisdictions for other purposes.
United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change
The Government of Vanuatu ratified the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) on 09 March 1993, with Initial National Communication (INC) to the UNFCCC occurring in October 1999. It is of note that Vanuatu’s first submission to the UNFCCC (2013) focused on gender balance reflecting “the determination of the country to push the gender agenda at both national and international levels”.
Priority Action Agenda 2012-2016
Gender Equity is featured in the new National Development Plan of the Government of Vanuatu which aims at accelerating development and coordinating efforts in two specific areas: (i) through a quota of 30% women in Parliament, and (ii) by mainstreaming a gender perspective in all Government policy processes.
National Gender and Women’s Empowerment Policy
Vanuatu is currently working on finalizing a new National Gender and Women’s Empowerment Policy to 2023. This policy will aim to provide direction and guidance on strategic interventions in addressing gender inequalities and will also serve as a coordinating document for government ministries to integrate and mainstream gender perspectives in all policies and sector plans. As such, it is important that V-CAP facilitate inter-agency work between the Women’s Division and project implementing agencies to ensure that gender equality and social inclusion is fully mainstreamed in all climate change adaptation work carried out by the project.