The People's Plan

Tomorrow, public and private sector leaders along with chiefs and civil society representatives, will be presented with the government’s vision for development for the next fifteen years.

The National Sustainable Development Plan, rebranded as ‘Vanuatu 2030 | The People’s Plan’, was developed to replace the Priority Action Agenda, which established the nation’s priorities since the much-maligned Comprehensive Reform Programme was completed in 2006. The PAA expired in 2015.

Work began on the NSDP in 2012 as planners began to look beyond the PAA’s horizon. Responding to the widely held criticism that it was too limited in scope, they envisioned a broader base for measuring development. This new plan features three pillars. In contrast with the financial bottom line as the ultimate measurement of prosperity, the plan features what has become known as a triple bottom line.

The phrase was coined by John Elkington, a British development expert, back in 1994. Instead of merely measuring profit, the approach broadens the base to include the so-called Three P’s: Profit, People and Planet. Culture provides the foundation for the entire architecture.

The plan marked a departure from standard planning and policy-making in the way it was developed. A team of consultants travelled the length of the country, and consulted in detail with approximately 1500 men and women in groups of about 50 at a time.

The contents of the plan were derived with a comprehensive and open-ended approach.

People were presented with a check list of likely items and asked to add a check or a cross, depending on whether they felt it was a priority or not.

They were also encouraged to add their own items to the checklist. Added items were integrated into the list and carried forward.

During a retreat on Iririki island earlier this year, the team melded the input into a coherent set of goals under the three pillars of Economy, Environment, and Society, and added a ‘very, very few’ items at that stage.

In an interview with Director, Gregoire Nimbtik, at his office in the Department Of Strategic Policy, Planning And Aid Coordination, he said that the NSDP consists of three pillars resting on a foundation of culture.

These elements, he said, form the nakamal where our national development discussions will take place. He sees the plan not as a mission document, but rather as a map setting out the borders of the development debate

The plan is being presented tomorrow beginning at 8.30am at the National Convention Centre. Deputy Prime Minister Joe Natuman will address the gathering on behalf of the PM, and then the plan will be presented by DSSPAC.

Questions will be fielded by DSSPAC staff, and a closing statement will be offered by Director Gregoire Nimbtik.

Among those invited are all Directors General, departmental Directors, Members of Parliament and their advisors, chiefs, private sector and civil society representatives.

The Plan was reviewed in Issue 4 of the Vanuatu Business Review. Copies of the magazine can be obtained free of charge from the Vanuatu Daily Post, or downloaded from the website.

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