The 2nd Meeting of the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources annual session was held at Efalfal Resort, Pango from the 31st of June to the 3rd of July 2009.
The Government is been praised by people at the community level following a recent Council of Ministers (CoM) decision to remove the powers of the Minister of Lands to sign negotiator certificates on behalf of custom landowners.
The CoM decision is a major step to realising the importance of people's rights to ownership of their land.
Joel Simo, a Research Officer on land at the National Museum says the CoM decision is warmly welcomed by the chiefs and the Vanuatu Cultural Centre.
Mr. Simo said that normally, the chiefs get together with their community to settle a disputed land before any negotiator certificate is issued.
However, in the past, the Minister of Lands had been issuing negotiating certificates on behalf of the custom landowner of a disputed land. This has prompted numerous unresolved land disputes.
The CoM decision is also welcomed by youths of Pango village in South Efate. One of the villages of Efate with a record sale of land in the Pacific is Pango village. A youth representative from Pango told Radio Vanuatu News the CoM decision is timely adding this will also prevent any irregularities in land sales.