17 October, 2013 (Port Vila, Vanuatu) – The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Government of Vanuatu signed a two-year project to support the Government of Vanuatu implement the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) Acceleration Framework (MAF) Action Plan. The MAF Action Plan will focus on improving reproductive health (MDG 5.B) with emphasis on reducing the adolescent birth rate (MDG Indicator 5.4), especially in rural areas, and reducing the unmet need for family planning (MDG Indicator 5.6).
The teenage fertility rate in urban cities is 40 per 1,000 women aged 15 to 19, but it is much higher in rural areas (77 per 1,000) of which 76% of the population live. Women’s education level and household wealth were strongly associated with use of modern contraceptives methods, according to a 2008 Ministry of Health and United Nations Children’s Fund report.
During the signing ceremony, the Director for the Department of Strategic Policy, Planning and Aid Coordination, Mr Benjamin Shing said that the “Government of Vanuatu remains fully committed to achieving the MDGs by 2015 and is grateful for the assistance provided by UNDP towards accelerating progress on MDG targets that are lagging behind.”
Through this partnership he added that he is confident that the project will achieve mutually desired results.
UNDP will provide support to the following areas relating to the identified key areas of interventions. These include policy advisory services on improving access to reproductive health and social protection; mainstreaming MAF priority interventions into the National Planning and Budget Framework; resource mobilization for the implementation of the MAF Action Plan; and advocacy and awareness raising on the objectives and progress of MAF implementation at the community and political level.
Ms Akiko Fujii, UNDP Deputy Resident Representative said, “UNDP commends the Government and non-government stakeholders in Vanuatu for its strong commitment to the MAF. Focusing and investing on the youth population is the right thing to do, as they are the future of Vanuatu. We expect that the project will support a coherent and consistent approach to the reduction of adolescent birth rates by strengthening the coordination and advocacy of MAF implementation.”
The MDG Acceleration Framework was developed by UNDP in response to world leaders’ calls emerging out of the MDGs Summit in September 2010 to heighten efforts to meet the MDGs by the 2015 deadline. The MAF provides a systematic way for countries to develop their own action plan to accelerate MDG targets that are off-track or showing no or very slow progress towards the desired target.
UNDP, in collaboration with the United Nations System organizations, has been supporting the development of MDG Acceleration Action Plans in over 40 countries since 2010.