Jimmy Rantes' Confirmation Presentation

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Jimmy Rantes' Confirmation Presentation

We invite you to attend the Confirmation Presentation of Jimmy Rantes, a Master of Arts candidate within the School of Social Sciences, in the Faculty of Arts, Business and Law.

Title: The challenges of integrating sustainable development into policy and practice:A case study from Vanuatu (Southwest Pacific)

Presenter: Jimmy Rantes

When: Tuesday 22 May from 10am-12noon

Where: Building E, 1.04

Abstract: This research presents a public policy case study review of existing agriculture, trade and land use sector policies and laws in Vanuatu. In the context of the recently launched National Sustainable Development Plan (NSDP) in 2016, the study will examine the broad research question of how these existing public policies intersect with the NSDP policy framework and critically, influence land-use practice on the ground in rural parts of the Vanuatu.

The Government of Vanuatu has embarked on developing public policy across all sectors of the economy as an underlying way to manage public resources and provide essential service delivery to the entire archipelago of eighty islands with a total population of 250,000. In most island communities, traditional subsistence activities co-exist, to various extents, with a cash-oriented agriculture, yet this does not change the fact that most rural households, representing around 80% of the population, rely on customary land tenure systems and geosystems for their daily subsistence.

The three research objectives are to first, critically examine the livelihood assets, activities and aspirations of landowners of customary lands used for agricultural farming, especially agroforestry. Second, is to critically evaluate the institutional structures and processes of managing land tenure disputes that constrain or enhance livelihood opportunities and may challenge policy implementation and third, is to assess a range of environmental, social and economic options or strategies for effectively managing land and other natural resources to enhance sustainable livelihood outcomes for traditional landowners on customary lands.

As part of this research, a broad cross section of literature on ‘sustainability and sustainable development’ in a global, regional and national context is reviewed with a specific focus on food security and climate change that is relevant to Pacific Island Countries and Territories (PICTs). In the context of climate change and treats to food security, this research study adopts the Agroecology and Sustainable Rural Livelihood Framework (ASRLF), an approach that is appropriate to the Pacific cultural context (including Vanuatu) because it places smallholders at the centre of the ASRLF that is exposed to seasonality factors and trends affecting five livelihood portfolios of capital assets (human, financial, physical, natural and social). ASRLF is used as a tool to undertake and guide the fieldwork to respond to the three broad research objectives of this research study.

The global food security and climate change are the two main thematic areas of focus of this research that are of great importance and requires global attention in mitigating its impacts on the lives of many rural communities especially in Small Islands Development States (SIDS) like Vanuatu. The effectiveness of public policies that meet both the national and universal commitments and targets set by the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) based on the three global pillars (namely economic growth, environmental protection and societies inclusiveness) are evaluated.

A case study is used to evaluate the awareness and effectiveness of public policies, and how they translate from theory on paper to real practice on ground in farming communities of South West Bay, Malakula Island (Vanuatu). Both qualitative and quantitative mixed research methods, including interviews and focus groups with 20 households in two villages in South West Bay, are used to determine the effectiveness of these policies, and how the socio-economic livelihood of the rural farmers has been changed by them. The research concludes by further identifying policy gaps, linkages, and providing effective policy options and recommendations on how to bridge these gaps, reduce replication and enhance the effectiveness of NSDP in both the public policy and practical terms. At a broader scale, this research evaluates the effectiveness of policy responses to the challenges of climate change and food security in SIDS.

Bio: Jimmy Rantes completed his Bachelor of Arts degree in Management Public Administration and Economics at the University of the South Pacific (USP) in year 2002 and a Diploma in International Trade Policy at the National University of Singapore (NUS) in year 2006. Since then, Mr. Rantes has worked primarily for fifteen years in the public sector within various Government agencies in key areas of resource management, policy coordination and planning and value chain support for rural development in Vanuatu.

He has applied his skills in the working environment that deals with public policy and legal framework that enables private sector development that is conducive, sustainable in providing backward linkages in supportive of rural livelihoods such as income generation and increased employment opportunities. Mr. Rantes enjoys working in a political environment were policies are formulated, decided upon and are implemented through public and private partnerships however his interest is to explore the impact of such policies.

Rantes' thesis is based on the overall evaluation of the challenges of integrating the notion of “sustainability or sustainable development” into policy and practice, a method of exploratory case study that is used in a typical rural setting context (South West Bay Region, Malekula, Vanuatu) to assess livelihood strategies and outcomes based on two emerging issues namely climate change and food security concerns.

Should you have any questions about this event please contact FABHDR@usc.edu.au.

We look forward to seeing you there.

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