Brussels, 11 December 2011/ ACP Newsdesk: The Pacific Island Republic of Vanuatu is making large scale preparations in anticipation of the ACP Group’s 95th Council of Ministers and 37th session of the Joint Council with the European Union to be held next June.

In a special video message presented to the ACP Council of Ministers on Friday, Vanuatu’s Head of Government, Prime Minister Sato Kilman welcomed delegates to visit the ‘happiest place on earth’ – a title bestowed on the nation in recent years by British think-tank New Economics Foundation and the Lonely Planet tourist guide. Vanuatu has either taken the top spot or placed top ten in the indices since 2006.

“The Government have consulted with its private sector as regards to provision of services that are required by delegates to the meetings. Indeed Vanuatu’s private sector indicated a keen interest in providing support for the event,” reported a delegation led by Foreign Affairs Minister Hon. Alfred Carlot MP.

The council sessions, scheduled for mid-June 2012 at the Le Lagon Resort in Port Vila, will be the largest event with foreign dignitaries ever held in the country. Hundreds of participants are expected from African, Caribbean and neighboring Pacific states, as well as Europe.

“Our Government, through the Council of Ministers, remain committed to hosting this meeting despite recent and continual political changes during the past few years. It’s commitment is demonstrated by the establishment of the National Taskforce chaired by the Foreign Minister [and] deputized by the Director-General of the Foreign Ministry; the formation of the National Coordination Office under the portfolio of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and External Trade; the Parliamentary appropriation of relevant budgetary allocation [and] the continual promotion of the event in the media,” he said.

According to the statement, 24-hour construction is currently underway to build the 600-person capacity facility for the Main Plenary Conference, as well as associated meeting rooms, compliant with international building codes and standards. The venue will also be equipped with interpretation booths.

Detailed reports of preparations and facilities are available online at:

(Photo: Vanuatu children/

– ACP Newsdesk