Priority to education, tourism development and resilience to climate change: these are the themes explored at the meeting of the UNESCO Director-General, Irina Bokova, with the Prime Minister of the Republic of Vanuatu, Charlot Salwai Tabismasmas, on 25 January 2017..
The Director-General underscored the importance that UNESCO attaches to Small Island Developing States in the Pacific and to the implementation of "Samoa Pathway", adopted at the Samoa International Conference, held in Apia in 2014. She also referred to the work of the UNESCO Task Force on Climate Change and its commitment to supporting the Republic of Vanuatu in the implementation of 2030 Agenda, particularly in the fields of quality education, teacher training, skills development and the use of new technologies -- with the support of the Regional Office based in Apia, as well as the Regional Offices in Bangkok and Jakarta, respectively specializing in education and science.
The Prime Minister expressed his gratitude for the support of the Organization, referring to the impact of the hurricane that hit his country in 2015 and the challenges of reconstruction that concerned agricultural and tourism development, the latter being responsible for 60% of the Gross Domestic Product. With 25% of the national budget allocated to education, he indicated that the priority focus fell on the extension of free education up to the tenth year of schooling, as well as on improving curricula for a multilingual system, and also teacher training. He underlined also the importance of technical and vocational education for the tourism industry as well as academic institutions offering relevant curricula for the needs of the country. In addition, he shared the reforms initiatives that are being undertaken to strengthen the stability of the government, a key factor to fulfil the country's obligations towards international organizations.
The Prime Minister was accompanied by Foreign Minister Bruno Leingkon and Minister of Agriculture Seremia Matai Nawalu.