The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is responsible for the management of Vanuatu’s foreign relations with the international community by establishing policies that defend national interests and by providing relevant guidance to the Government on national positions pertinent to significant global issues. The Ministry acts as the official point of contact in the country’s negotiations in all matters pertaining to bilateral and multilateral relations.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs constitutes the Ministerial Cabinet Office, the Office of the Director General (Corporate Service Unit), the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, the Department of External Trade and Vanuatu’s Overseas Missions. The Ministerial Cabinet Office’s prime purpose is to oversee the administrative functions of the Ministry and manage the political objectives of the government of the day.
The Corporate Service Unit is primarily responsible for the efficient and effective administration of the overall Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA). Specific functions and areas of responsibility include the management of human resources, management of finances, and coordination of department activities, planning, reporting, compliance and public relations.
The Department of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (DFAIC) primary focus is to provide consistent foreign policy advice to defend the country’s national interests and/or sovereignty and to provide guidance in Vanuatu’s position on significant global issues and foreign relations. There are six responsible divisions within DFA; Development Cooperation Division, Asia/Pacific Division, Treaties and Conventions Division, Europe, Americas and Middle East Division, UN and Economic Cooperation Division, Protocol & Consular Division and recently added, the Maritime Division. Each of these respective divisional heads, have on average one or two policy support officers who are not only responsible for the policy areas stipulated within their divisions, but also the maintenance of country relations within their jurisdictions and in conjunction with Vanuatu’s Overseas diplomatic Missions and consulates.
The Department of External Trade is responsible for (waiting for Director Sumbue Antas comment)…
As representatives of the state in a foreign jurisdiction, the principle function of Vanuatu’s Overseas Missions (VOM) is to be Vanuatu’s representation. Vanuatu’s Permanent Missions abroad have a particular role to play in the management and implementation of Vanuatu’s foreign policy.
However, the Ministry’s continuous challenge lies in the limited financial and human resource capacity available for the effective implementation of Government policies and the inadequate management of limited resources to efficiently coordinate annual work programs and activities. These challenges have continued to plague the Ministry over the previous years, but as this annual report indicates, this nevertheless has not diminished the commitment and effort of all the staff of the Ministry and its overseas Missions.
An example of such a significant achievement has been the MoU signed with Fiji encompassing bilateral trade and investment, education, youth and human resource development, labour mobility, commerce, retail and taxation, immigration, health and pharmaceutical, energy and security and livestock development. Subsequently, Vanuatu became the first country in the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) to sign the Memorandum of Agreement to enable the engagement of Teachers from Fiji under the Fiji Volunteer Service (FVS).