Vanuatu Climate Change and Disaster Risk Reduction Policy 2016 -2030

Vanuatu is one of the most vulnerable countries in the world to climate change and disaster risks. The island nation experiences cyclones, storm surges, landslides, flooding and droughts, which may become more intense as a result of climate change. Vanuatu is also highly exposed to geophysical threats such as volcanic eruptions, earthquakes and tsunamis, as well as human, animal and plant diseases, and human-caused disasters.

The vision of this Climate Change and Disaster Risk Reduction Policy is for Vanuatu to be a nation whose communities, environment and economy are resilient to the impacts of climate change and disaster risks. Risks cannot be completely eliminated, however this policy provides a framework through which risks can be identified, assessed, reduced and managed.

At the global, regional and national levels, disaster risk reduction and climate change agencies, activities and funding have been previously managed separately. A recent shift in philosophy now views the integration of climate change and disaster risk reduction initiatives as the best way to make use of resources and avoid duplication of effort. Vanuatu started this process with the establishment of the National Advisory Board on Climate Change and Disaster Risk Reduction in 2012.1 The government undertook a risk governance assessment to analyse Vanuatu’s climate change and disaster risk governance capacity and needs at both national and local levels.2 The policy incorporates recommendations from that assessment and draws on local, provincial and national consultations.

The policy will apply six principles: 1) accountability, 2) sustainability, 3) equity, 4) community focus, 5) collaboration, and 6) innovation. It aims to be accessible to and implemented by all government agencies and non-governmental stakeholders. The policy takes a practical approach, taking into consideration Vanuatu’s resources, exposure to risks, and demographic situation. It seeks to strengthen existing capacity at national, provincial and area council levels, drawing on the country’s rich heritage, traditional knowledge and the lessons learned from the broad range of initiatives regarding climate change and disaster risk reduction.

The government of Vanuatu is committed to six key priorities to direct the country’s climate change and disaster risk reduction efforts. These priorities fall into two categories — systems and themes.
Systems include governance, finance, knowledge and information, while themes include climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction, low carbon development, and response and recovery.

A number of cross-cutting issues have also been considered in developing this policy and will be applied during implementation, including social and gender inclusion, capacity building, multi-hazard approaches, partnerships and mainstreaming into the business of a broad range of agencies and sectors. While the policy includes high-level strategies, detailed actions, lead and support agencies, resources and timelines will be further developed for implementation.

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