For the first time since Vanuatu’s Foreign Service Act was passed by Parliament and came into effect in 2013, the country’s senior diplomats serving overseas have signed performance agreements with the Government.
Vanuatu’s Ambassadors, High Commissioners and Consul Generals serving overseas, also known as Vanuatu’s “Heads of Missions”, signed the performance agreements with Minister of Foreign Affairs, International Cooperation and External Trade, Ralph Regenvanu on Friday last week.
The performance agreements provide the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and objectives which they are expected to implement and achieve over the next year.
This is the first time that Vanuatu’s senior diplomats serving overseas have entered into such agreements with the Government, and comes in the wake of the Public Service Commission putting all Director Generals and Department Directors on performance contracts earlier this year.
The Foreign Service Act, Vanuatu’s first legislation dealing specifically with diplomatic representation abroad, was passed by Parliament and came into effect in 2013.
That Act created a legal requirement in section 13(3) that, “The Head of Mission must sign a performance agreement with the Minister after being appointed to the post”.
However, this has never happened, so the signing last Friday was the first time that this section of the Act has been implemented.
At the signing ceremony at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Minister Regenvanu said, “This is an important step to ensure that our Heads of Missions know very clearly what they are supposed to achieve in their respective posts and so that the Government can monitor their performance and ensure they are delivering on expectations.”
In his response to the Minister on behalf of the other Heads of Missions after the signing ceremony, Ambassador to the United Nations, Odo Tevi - who is also the “Dean” or longest-serving member of Vanuatu's Diplomatic Corps – said, “Our positions are being funded by the tax-payers of Vanuatu, we are being paid out of public funds, and so it is necessary that the public, through the Government, knows how their money is being spent and can be assured that the development of the country is being assisted by our postings overseas”.
The annual Heads of Missions meeting which brings all Vanuatu’s Ambassadors, High Commissioners and Consul Generals serving overseas together in the Capital was held last week at the National Convention Centre.