TC Pam struck Vanuatu in March 2015. In June of that year the Council of Ministers (COM) adopted a National Plan for Recovery and Economic Strengthening. Over 4.3bn vatu were generously made available from a number of donor partners to fund that plan. The largest contributors were Australia (72%), followed by World Bank (7% - excluding loans) and Papua New-Guinea (4%). Overseas contributions from individuals and businesses represented almost 9% of donated funds.
While the funding was generous, those 4.3bn represent only 8.8% of the damages caused by PAM; with limited resources, making every vatu counts is important. In light of this, COM decision 77/15 set up the Program Recovery Committee (PRC – chaired by Hon. Johnny Koanapo, MP) to provide oversight and governance, and make sure that recovery projects embody a “build back better” approach.
Progress to date
TC Pam recovery is now in full swing; 3.5bn vatu has been programmed or invested towards 42 recovery projects across a number of sectors. Education received the greatest support [31%], followed by Health [16%], and Public Buildings [13%]. Other sectors that received significant support are Water [8%], Agriculture [7%], and the Social sector [5%].
Rapid progress has been enabled by four Project Management Units, which were set up or strengthened in MAFFLB, MoET, MoH, Department of Water Resources and MIPU. Almost 40 Ni-Vanuatu staff – many of them recent graduates – work in project management, procurement and M&E roles across these units, further strengthening the Government’s capacity to deliver recovery projects.
In recent months, more and more recovery projects have reached completion and have been handed over to beneficiaries and local communities. Some of the more significant, recent hand-overs are:
· Tavalapa Dispensary in Tongoa - handed over on 28/6, Handover by Minister of Health Hon Jerome Ludvaune and Australian High Commissioner
· Ikiti Dispensary in Tanna - handed over on 12/07 by the Minister of Health Hon Jerome Ludvaune and the Australian High Commissioner, witnessed by the Chairman of the Pam Recovery Committee Hon Johnny Koanapo and Committee Member Hon Andrew Napwatt.
· Vanuatu Society for People with Disabilities building in Port Vila - handed over on 21/07 by the Hon Johnny Koanapo (Chairman of PRC) and the Australian High Commissioner, witnessed by Hon Ralph Regenvanu.
In addition, contract signing and ground-breaking ceremonies have recently been held for Police staff houses in Tanna, Lamenu Stadium, and Vila Central Hospital. The contracts were signed by the Police Commissioner and the Australian High Commissioner. Beyond hand-overs, key projects that focus on livelihoods rather are also complete or nearing completion; for example, during the second quarter of 2017 the Fisheries Department completed the delivery of the last set of Fish Aggregating Devices, as part of a 40m vt recovery project that involved fishing communities in all provinces of Vanuatu. Similar project completions are taking place across the country in Water, Education, and Tourism sectors.
“Overall, I am very pleased with the progress of implementation of the rebuilding program. The Pam Recovery Committee comprising of Members of Parliament and some Directors General have been informed of the positive progress particularly in the Health, Agriculture, Fisheries, Tourism and Public Buildings. And we have also informed the Council of Ministers of the progress so far. We are now beginning to see some implementation in the Education sector, and I commend the Minister for Education for pushing the officials to try and expedite the reconstruction in this sector. Approvals were granted since last year, but we have been told that some hardware that had signed the contracts to supply the materials to schools do not have sufficient quantity available in stock. This is causing the delays also. These recovery and reconstruction programs will play a key role also in creating jobs and boost the economy. The Government is also very pleased that contracts are also being awarded to many island based contractors. We continue to talk to our donors about the joint monitoring and evaluation of the implementation progress. ” Hon J Koanapo Rasou, Chairman of Pam Recovery Committee.
Earlier this month, the COM renewed its trust in the work the PRC is doing, by extending the PRC’s term into next year. This will allow the PRC to continue in its role as highest governance body for TC Pam recovery efforts, and ensure that projects are completed on time and on budget. The term extension also allows the PRC to ensure that all of the money in the recovery fund is spent, and that the closure of the Recovery and Economic Strengthening plan is smooth and efficient.