Government steps in to help revive civil society umbrella body

Association

On 21st September 2017, a task force appointed by the Minister of Internal Affairs reportedly reached out to all NGOs in the country to register with the Vanuatu Association of NGOs (VANGO) and attend its Annual General Meeting (AGM) on 27th September. VANGO last held its AGM in 2014, and had suffered from a sharp decline in its activities since 2010. On 29th September, it was reported that a new Board of Directors had been appointed to VANGO. The task force had been established by the government to provide guidance and oversight on the re-establishment and re-institutionalisation of this institution. Chair of the task force and Third Political Adviser of the Ministry of Internal Affairs Billy Williams stated that "the election of the new VANGO Board of Directors brought to completion the main task shouldered by his committee". The government also stated "it had intervened because it regarded civil society as a means though which the gap between citizens’ needs and existing services can be bridged to complement Government services". Now VANGO will be able to "continue to provide an enabling environment with which NGOs could operate effectively in communities at National and Provincial level".