Vanuatu Passes RTI Policy, Makes Plans to Adopt Law

27 August 2013

The South Pacific nation of Vanuatu has approved a Right to Information (RTI) policy, according to an Aug. 21 article in Island Business.

“The RTI policy commits Government to release all information to the public, except where releasing information would be a breach of security or privacy, or would compromise commercial in confidence,” according to the report. A copy was not available on the government website.

Prime Minister Moana Carcasses Kalosis was quoted as saying:

Approval and implementation of the RTI policy is part of my Government’s commitment to openness and transparency, and follows from the Vanuatu Government’s ratification of the United Nations Convention Against Corruption. We want the people of Vanuatu to have access to the information that will help them make better decisions and will help them better understand how the Government is working for the people.

Consideration an RTI law is expected to follow, according to the Island Business. Efforts to pass an RTI law in Vanuatu date back at least to 2007.

The article credits the National Media Policy and RTI Committee, chaired by John Ezra from the Office of the Prime Minister, with Media Asosiesen blong Vanuatu (MAV) providing the vice chair and secretariat to the Committee. Members of the committee come from government, civil society and the media. Consultations on RTI were held in early 2012, according to a March 2012 article in The Independent.

 The prime minister acknowledged support of the UN Development Programme.

Coincidently, the UNDP is advertising for a person to work on FOI Implementation for the Government of Kiribati, Solomons Island, Tonga and Vanuatu, Suva, Fiji with an application deadline of Sept. 9.

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