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
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.