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Inception Workshop for the GEF IWRM National Demonstration Project in the Sarakata Catchment - Santo Island, Vanuatu

GEF IWRM Demo Project Inception Workshop in VanuatuThe Vanuatu GEF Pacific IWRM Project has hit the ground, with Rossette Kalmert finally being contracted as the Project Manager. Rossette has moved up to Luganville on Santo Island to coordinate this project based in the Sarakata catchment. Rossette has established a Project Office within the Lands Building and has a consultant reviewing and providing recommendations on the project design. An inception workshop was convened from 30-31 March 2010 to: (a) familiarise new SANMA Water Advisory Committee members with the Vanuatu IWRM Demonstration Project; (b) review project status; (c) review and endorse logframe; (d) review and endorse implementation work plan; (e) review proposed TOR for SANMA Water Advisory Committee to act as the Project Steering Committee; and (f) review and agree on membership of the SANMA Water Advisory Committee.

Sarakata Catchment Project Inception Workshop - Santo Island, Vanuatu (30-31 March)

Members of the existing SANMA Water Committee gathered under the Chairmanship of Charlie Nari - Provincial Manager PWD. The meeting was also attended by Marc Wilson – GEF Pacific Regional Project Manager.  

Groups were formed to undertake the review of the logframe and implementation work plan with report backs assisting the finalisation of these for endorsement. There was a general level of concern at the scope of the work to be completed within the remaining 4 years of the project and some complaints about the delayed start. As the Director of Water Resources was not present the reasons for the delay were not determined. Marc Wilson informed the meeting that countries had been informed in April 2009 that funding was available to commence the Projects. The working groups emphasized the need to adequately resource the project’s awareness activities and also to ensure that project activities were regularly communicated to communities and in particular land owners in the catchment.

The SANMA water committee is currently comprised only of National, Provincial and Municipal officers and there was much discussion about the inclusion of non government stakeholders. Not so much about their inclusion but who they should be and what issues might arise if such appointments were made.  In the end it was agreed that the Chair and Secretary of the Sarakata Catchment Group, the Chair of the SANMA Council of Chiefs, the President of the SANMA Tourism Association, President of the Chinese Association, and a Women’s Representative should be invited to join the SANMA Water Committee.

Much discussion was had in relation to sitting fees. There was a strong accord that the contributions by members was in addition to their normal work and that this needed to be recognised.  It was argued that the SANMA Water Committee only met on an ad hoc basis to deal with specific water issues but that it now would be required to meet at least three times per year and that this represented a significant additional work load. There was general agreement that attendance and constructive participation would depend upon a sitting fee being paid. A sitting fee would mean that the Chair could legitimately delegate members to undertake tasks on behalf of the Project. All agreed that such a fee would not apply when the C’tee met to deal with SANMA water issues.  

Marc Wilson acknowledged the concerns of members and commented that philosophically he took issue with public servants getting sitting fees to attend a meeting that related directly to the functions there agencies were responsible for. He commented that the Project’s existence could be ascribed to a failure by agencies to meet their responsibilities. The Project was about improving how they delivered their services and as such should not be looked at as an additional work load. Further that he felt non government stakeholders should be paid a sitting fee as their participation was an opportunity cost. He said that in the end this was a Vanuatu Government decision and that they would be looking at precedents to determine if such payment should be made but as a general rule donors and Implementing Agencies such as UNDP do not support such fees.

Sarakata Catchment Project Inception Workshop

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