Custom governance implementation pilot launching for Efate has taken place at Emua village, North Efate.
The launching followed the launching of the Malo and Ambae pilot sites and it will be followed by the launching of the Tanna pilot site in early August.
The President of Malvatumauri council of chiefs, Chief Seni Mao Tirsupe, is leading the launching of the pilot sites with the goal of returning the importance of custom governance to the islands.
As part of the importance of enforcing two important legislation for dealing with land disputes, the Customary Land Management Act and the Land Reform (Amendment) Act, the Government has put the responsibility on the shoulders of the President of Malvatumaiuri.
And it is his duty to tell the chiefs in the islands of their duties and responsibilities to support the pilot sites program.
Malvatumairi Chief Executive Officer, Jean-Pierre Tom, explains that the work of the pilot sites will be to implement the 19 resolutions of Malvatumauri, which constitute the road map of the institution.
The work involves identifying the area and village custom boundaries of islands, true and rightful chiefs of villages and sacred sites of the islands so that Malvatumauri through the Customary Land Management Office (CLMO) can deal with land issues that keep coming up with major challenges to resolution as seen from past experiences.
He says they plan to complete the program on the four islands this year and to move to other islands next year and following years.
National Coordinator of the Customary Land Management Office, Alicta Vuti, says experience has shown that after the new legislation, the Customary Land Management Act and Land Reform (Amendment) Act, came to being, the office is still having difficulty administering the acts.
This he says is due to governance challenges.
“So, this is the right time the governance project through the 19 resolutions that is now kicked off, it gives us some hope at the CLMO that through this initiative/program it will open the way for the work of land matters to progress to much without hindrance,” he adds.
President of Malvatumairi, Chief Tirsup, was represented at the Efate pilot site launching in his absence by Executive member of Malvatumauri and President of Port Vila Council of Chief Isaac Worwor.
Also present were representatives of the Minister of Justice and Community Services and the Minister of Lands, who also could not attend due to other commitments, the CEO of Malvatumairi, National Coordinator of the Land Management Office, and all the chiefs of Vaturisu council of chiefs of Efate. Leaders of Shefa Provincial Government Council also witnessed the launching.