Vanuatu

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Country Overview 

Capital: Port Villa
Land: 12,190 sq km
EEZ: 680,000 sq km
Population: 204,000 (2003 est.)
Language: Bislama, English, French, local languages
Currency: Vatu
Economy: Agriculture, fisheries and tourism

The  Republic  of  Vanuatu  is  an  island  nation  located  in  the  Western  Pacific  Ocean.  The country is an archipelago of over 80 islands stretching 1,300 kilometres from North to South.

Vanuatu’s terrain is mostly mountainous, with narrow coastal plains where larger islands are characterised  by  rugged  volcanic  peaks  and  tropical  rainforests.  Vanuatu  is  located  in  a seismically  and  volcanically  active  region  and  has  high  exposure  to  geologic  hazards, including volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, tsunamis and landslides.

Vanuatu’s national vision as per the Government’s Priority and Action Agenda (PAA) 2006-2015  is  “An  Educated,  Healthy  and  Wealthy  Vanuatu”.  The  goal  of  the  Government  of Vanuatu  (GoV)  is  to  raise  the  welfare  of  its  people,  and  main  agendas  for  action  include growing  the  productive  sector,  especially  agriculture  and  tourism,  maintaining macroeconomic balance, raising public service performance, cutting costs associated with transport and utilities, and improving access to basic services such as health and education. Government  of  Vanuatu  is  also  committed  to  achieving  MDG  goals  and  targets  and significant progress has been made towards achieving the MDG Goals.

Vanuatu is one of the country’s most vulnerable to climate change among the other Pacific island nations.  The  effects  of  climate  change  on  agriculture  production,  fisheries,  human health,  tourism  and  well-being  will  have  the  consequences  of  decreasing  national  income while increasing key social and infrastructure costs. Climate change may affect all areas of life for Ni-Vanuatu people and impact women, men and young people in different ways.

Vanuatu has positioned itself as a regional leader in the fields of Climate Change (CC) and Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) and has been widely applauded for its initiative to establish a National Advisory Board for Climate Change and Disaster Risk Reduction (NAB) as a means of improving coordination and governance around the two issues. Vanuatu’s implementation of  the  UNFCCC  has  progressed  exponentially  in  recent  years  as  government  sector agencies  become  more  organized  and  civil  society,  academic,  the  private  sector, development partners and regional agencies have stepped up their activities in Vanuatu.

Vanuatu  is  committed  to  formulating  strategies,  national  policies  and  best  practices  for addressing  GHG  emissions  and  making  a  practical  contribution  to  the  global  mitigation efforts.  While  at  the  same  time  the  country  is  also  pursuing  its  national  and  regional development priorities and sustainable development objectives. The development objectives are  planned  to  be  achieved  by  integrating  GHG  abatement  efforts  with  other  social, environmental and economic priorities.

 

Source: ©SPC, 2013.

Date updated: March 2016 


[1] United Kingdom Foreign and Commonwealth Office [UKFCO] (2011). Asia and Oceania: Vanuatu. Retrieved fromhttp://www.fco.gov.uk/en/travel-and-living-abroad/travel-advice-by-country/country-profile/asia-oceania/vanuatu?profile=all

[2] Climate Change in the Pacific, Volume 2: Country Reports, Chapter 16: Vanuatu. Accessed on 29 May 2013,http://www.cawcr.gov.au/projects/PCCSP/publications1.html, p. 245.

[3] Vanuatu Country Profile, (2000). South Pacific Applied Geoscience  Commission (SOPAC).http://dev.sopac.org.fj/VirLib/CP0014.pdf

National Climate Change Priorities

The major climate change concerns of Vanuatu are projected sea level rise, sea temperature rise and the possible increase in intensity cyclones and other major storm events. Other concerns include climate variability, climate extremes, a decline in cool days, and ocean acidification. Based on these projections, Vanuatu has identified the following sector-based needs to reduce its vulnerability to the impacts of climate change (VMS, 1999; NACCC, 2007, NCAS 2011):

  • Agriculture: The diversification of crops to help increase the resilience of agricultural systems to climatic extremes; and better understanding of climate resilient farming systems in the face of changes in productivity, pests/pathogens and the climatic growth requirements of subsistence crops.
  • Human Health: Furthering the work that has already been done in environmental management to aid in the control of malaria, dengue and filariasis; researching proper waste disposal to minimise contamination in the face of cyclones/floods; and management of surface water to maintain quality and supply.
  • Freshwater Resources: Management of water catchments to minimize pressure on groundwater resources; reducing vulnerability of the water supply in rural and urban areas; water conservation efforts; and expansion of rainwater storage capacity through rainwater harvesting.
  • Coastal Developments: Land Use Planning, modelling of the storm surge zone with consideration of sea level rise; building codes for infrastructure to be able to withstand cyclones, high floodwater flows and high intensity rainfall; exclusion of extractive activities from the coastal zone; replanting littoral vegetation in cleared and degraded areas; identifying areas that are highly vulnerable and planning for worst case impacts to communities; and technical planning for relocation of communities.
  • Coastal Marine Environments: Community based marine resource management programs that consider modern and traditional management strategies, small-scale and backyard aquaculture; and planning around local economic opportunities that are an alternative to the harvesting of marine resources, management of coral bleaching and degradation of the marine environment
  • Forestry: Promoting sustainable forestry management, climate resilient tree species, REDD+ and carbon sequestration.
  • ocial and Cultural Concerns: Identification of coping strategies for the impacts of climate change on food security, land resources and water availability; and fostering collaboration between social institutions to identify and prioritize social vulnerabilities.
  • Broad Economic Impacts: Land Use and Management, Diversification of agricultural products and farming systems; selection of plant varieties that are better suited to predicted future climates; identifying opportunities to reduce reliance on coastal marine resources; relocating infrastructure to areas of low vulnerability; and introducing sustainable tourism programs.

Date updated: March 2016  

Governance

Vanuatu National Advisory Board on Climate Change & Disaster Risk Reduction is co-chaired by the Director of Vanuatu Meteorology & Geohazards Department and the Director of the National Disaster Management Office.  The NAB is supported by a full-time Secretariat housed under the Ministry of Climate Change.

Environmental management is the responsibility of the Department of Environmental Protection and Conservation, although other departments including the Department of Agriculture & Rural Development and Department of Forestry also have responsibilities in relation to environmental issues.  Many NGOs are also active in the climate change environment sector in Vanuatu.  Two networks exists which bring NGOs and government together in this sector including the Vanuatu Climate Action Network (VCAN) and the Vanuatu Humanitarian Team (VHT).

Modern legislation has been introduced for environmental management. The Environmental Management and Conservation Act was passed in 2002 and provides for the conduct of environmental impact assessments and for biodiversity and protected areas. A National Environmental Policy is now under development

Date updated: March 2016 

Adaptation

For  Vanuatu,  as  an  LDC,  the  National  Adaptation  Programme  of Action  (NAPA)  process  identified  and  prioritised  adaptation  priority needs that were urgent and immediate - those needs for which further delay could increase vulnerability or lead to increased costs at a later stage.

The Vanuatu  NAPA  identified  11 top  adaptation  priorities through  a national consultation process. These adaptation priorities were further refined to include 5 top priorities for support and implementation. The 5 NAPA priorities include:

  1. Agriculture and food security
  2. Sustainable tourism development
  3. Community based marine resource management
  4. Sustainable forest management
  5. Integrated water resource management

Out of the 5 top priorities, Least Developed Countries Fund (LDCF) financing  has  been  sourced  to  further  elaborate  and  implement priorities 1 and 5 while a concepts for 2 is being developed. Health, which  is  among  the  6  priorities  was  not  selected  for  concept development  however  given  interest  from  key  implementing agencies,  financing  from  the  LDCF  has  been  secured  for  concept development and implementation.

The  NAPA  further  recognised  that  the  following  core  issues  were relevant  to  all  priorities  and  should  be  an  integral  part  of  any proposed activities;

  1. Awareness raising at all levels
  2. Capacity building including institutional capacity
  3. Research and development
  4. Promotion of appropriate traditional knowledge and practices
  5. Technology Transfer
  6. Education and training
  7. Mainstreaming of climate change and disaster risk reduction
  8. Consideration of marine and terrestrial Biodiversity issues

The National Climate Change and Disaster Risk Reduction Policy identifies 5 key adaptation strategic priorities and associated actions to further enhance the national adaptation efforts and build resilience across sectors. These strategic priorities from 2015 to 2020 include the need for:

  1. Climate Change vulnerability and multi sector impact assessments
  2. Integrated climate change and disaster risk reduction
  3. Community based adaptation
  4. Loss and damage
  5. Ecosystem based approaches

 Date updated: March 2016  

Current Climate

The latest climate science report shows that for Vanuatu, the maximum and minimum air temperatures increased at Bauerfield Airport (Port Vila) from 1948–2011 as did November–April and May–October maximum temperatures at Aneityum. This is consistent with global warming.

Annual and half-year rainfall trends show little change at Bauerfield Airport since 1907 and Aneityum since 1949. Extreme daily rainfall trends also show little change at Aneityum and Bauerfield Airport since 1945.

Tropical cyclones affect Vanuatu mainly between November and April. An average of 24 cyclones per decade developed within or crossed the Vanuatu Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) between the 1969/70 to 2010/11 seasons. Twenty-nine of the 71 tropical cyclones (41%) between the 1981/82 and 2010/11 seasons were severe events (Category 3 or stronger) in the Vanuatu EEZ.

Wind-waves around Vanuatu do not vary significantly throughout the year, having fairly constant wave heights and periods, and being typically directed from the south-east. Waves are influenced by the southern trade winds and movement of the South Pacific Convergence Zone (SPCZ), and display some variability on inter annual time scales with the El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and Southern Annular Mode (SAM).

Source: Australian Bureau of Meteorology and CSIRO, 2014.

Future Climate

For the period to 2100, the latest global climate model (GCM) projections and climate science findings for Vanuatu indicate:

  • El Niño and La Niña events will continue to occur in the future (very high confidence), but there is little consensus on whether these events will change in intensity or frequency;
  • Annual mean temperatures and extremely high daily temperatures will continue to rise (very high confidence);
  • Mean annual rainfall could increase or decrease with the model average indicating little change (low confidence), with more extreme rain events(high confidence);
  • Incidence of drought is projected to decrease slightly under the high emission scenario and stay
  • approximately the same under the other emissions scenarios (low confidence);
  • Ocean acidification is expected to continue (very high confidence);
  • The risk of coral bleaching will increase in the future (very high confidence);
  • Sea level will continue to rise (very high confidence); and
  • Wet season wave heights and periods are projected to decrease slightly (low confidence), with no significant changes projected in the dry season (low confidence).

Source: Australian Bureau of Meteorology and CSIRO, 2014.

Date updated: March 2016 

Knowledge Management & Education

In the curriculum review process, Vanuatu decided to strengthen foundations and basic concepts of climate change and disaster risk management across different subjects from Kindergarten to Year 13. The process to introduce relevant elements into national teacher training programs has commenced.

Climate change has been incorporated into the Vanuatu National Curriculum Statement, the syllabus and assessment standards, taking the principles of Education for Sustainable Development into account. Education institutions are supported to develop and offer corresponding trainings and education resources. In addition to this integration, a school policy on education in emergency was launched in late 2013. The policy ensures that education needs are not disrupted as a result of disasters.

The Ministry of Education identified the children’s book ‘Pou and Miri – Learn to tackle climate change’ as a useful literacy and climate change resource and CCCPIR provided French and English copies to be disseminated to area schools and kindergartens.

Vanuatu has initiated capacity building of Met service staff undertaking a doctoral studies in Climate Change at the University of the South Pacific. There are also Ni-Vanuatu students at the University studying postgraduate level studies in the area of Climate Change which is an encouraging outcome for skilled professionals in this area.

Date updated: March 2016  

Mitigation

The main mitigation contribution is to achieve the outcomes and targets under the National Energy Road Map (NERM) and Second National Communication (SNC) extended to 2030. The mitigation contribution for the Vanuatu INDC submission is a sector specific target of transitioning to close to 100% renewable energy in the electricity sector by 2030. This target would replace nearly all fossil fuel requirements for electricity generation in the country and be consistent with the National Energy Road Map (NERM)  target of 65% renewable energy by 2020. This contribution would reduce emissions in the energy  sector  by 72Gg by 2030. Emissions in this sector were around 130 Gg in 2010 but  are expected to rise to 240 Gg by 2030 (3% per annum).

The mitigation would thus reduce BAU emissions in the electricity sub-sector by 100% and in the  energy  sector  as  a  whole  by  30%.  The  target  would  be  conditional,  depending  on funding  commensurate  with  putting  the  transition  in  place  being  made  available  from external  sources.  In  addition,  Vanuatu  will  pursue  the  other  mitigation  measures  in  the Vanuatu National Energy Roadmap (2013- 2020), the Scaling Up Renewable Energy in Low Income Countries (SREP) report and Vanuatu’s Renewables Readiness Assessment (RRA) report undertaken by IRENA. These measures would include a vigorous program of energy efficiency  to  reduce  emissions  in  all  sectors  except  agriculture  and  forestry  by  15%.  The transition  to  renewable  energy  based  electricity  could  be  accelerated  through  review  and revision of agricultural (coconut oil sector) national policy. Opportunities for reducing the high emissions  levels  in  agriculture  will  simultaneously  be  pursued  with  cooperative  programs with nations having similarly high emissions in this sector. The forestry sector mitigation will be attended to as part of the existing REDD+ program.  The Government is also aware that waste management is another area that needs attention.

Intended Nationally Determined Contributions

Vanuatu mitigation contribution is for the period 2020 - 2030for defining contribution or outcomes as follows:

Type and level of commitment:

Sectoral commitment focussed on a transition to renewable energy in the electricity generation sub-sector under energy generation. To  approach  100%  renewable  energy  in  the  electricity  sub-sector contingent  upon  appropriate  financial  and  technical  support  made available. 100%  below  BAU  emissions  for  electricity  sub-sector  and  30%  for energy sector as a whole

Estimated quantified emissions impact:

In addition to the carbon storage in the forest and ocean ecosystem, Vanuatu unconditional contribution will reduce 8,300 tCO2e annually Vanuatu’ conditional contribution (with international assistance) will reduce emissions by 18,800 tCO2e annually by 2025, and by 31,125 tCO2e annually by 2030.

Coverage

% of National emissions

INDC covers fossil fuels and forest sequestration. Fossil-fuel use covers more than 95% of the reported national inventory

 

Gases

Carbon dioxide

 

Sectors

Mainly electricity  generation  sub-sector  but  with  ancillary  mitigation possible in forestry, agriculture, transport and energy efficiency sector wide.

The key planned mitigation interventions include:

  Doubling of the wind installed capacity to 5.5 MW by 2025

  Installing 10 MW grid connected solar PV by 2025

  Commissioning  the  proposed  first  stage  4  MW  Geothermal plant by 2025

  Adding 10 MW grid connected solar PV by 2030

  Commissioning the second stage 4 MW Geothermal plant  by 2030

  Substituting and/or replacement of fossil fuels with coconut oil based electricity generation

The proposed interventions  would need substantial external funding of  around  US$180  million  to  proceed  at  the  time  frame  needed.  In addition,  substantial technology transfer would be required  including

institutional support and training.

Additional planned mitigation interventions include:

  National Energy Road Map (US$ 210.5 million indicative - with some overlap)

  Rural  Electrification  Nationally  Appropriate  Mitigation  Action (NAMA) (US$ 5 million indicative)

  Off  grid  renewable  energy  projects  under  Scaling  Up Renewable  Energy  in  Low  Income  Countries  Program  (US $34.2 million)

  Energy efficiency measures to be pursued across the board to enable 15% savings in the energy sector.

  Forestry  sector  measures  to  reduce  deforestation  and promote  good  land  care  to  accepted  mitigation  practices according to REDD+

  Planned  cooperation  with  New  Zealand  and  other  nations interested  in  mitigating  methane  (CH4)  and  associated emissions for ruminant and pasture management

 

Geographical boundaries

Whole of country

Methodology:

The  electricity  sector  emissions  were  analysed  using  data  from  the utilities, customs department and relevant assessments, studies and reports  from  development  partners  and  civil  society  organizations. The  data  for  electricity  generation  were  entered  into  the  GHG emission  estimation  model  and  converted  to  CO2  emissions  using standard  conversion  factors.  The  extrapolated  data  from  the  above sources  suggests  the kWh  consumption  in  the  electricity  sector  will rise at 3.6% per annum until 2020 after  which a slightly lower growth rate is used to give an average increase of 3% until 2030.

Revised  1996  IPCC  Guidelines  for  National  Greenhouse  Gas Inventories  and  UNFCCC  software  “Non  Annex  1  National Greenhouse Gas Inventory Software, Version 1.3.3  was used for the GHG  Inventory.  Sectoral  data  for  GHG  estimation  compiled  from various  sources  primarily  using  national  data  collected  from  annual reports,  statistical  reports,  studies  and  brochures  of  related department/institutions.  The  projections  of  emissions  data  to  2010 was reported in the SNC from similar data sources as the 2000 data and has a similar uncertainty analysis

Planning Process

 

Vanuatu’s INDCs is well aligned with the Government’s Priority Action Agenda  Policy  Objective  4.5  which  is  most  relevant  to  Climate Change  and  states,  “to  ensure  the  protection  and  conservation  of Vanuatu’s natural resources and biodiversity, taking climate change issues  in  consideration.”  The  contribution  is  also  based  on  the research undertaken for a number of national initiatives including the Vanuatu  National  Energy  Roadmap  (2013-  2020),  the  Scaling  Up Renewable  Energy  in  Low  Income  Countries  (SREP)  report,  Rural electrification  NAMA  design  document  by  UNDP  MDG  Carbon  and Vanuatu’s  Renewables  Readiness  Assessment  (RRA)  report undertaken by IRENA.  In addition, relevant data and information has been used from the Government of Vanuatu and various private and civil society  organizations.  Extensive  consultations  with  all  relevant stakeholders were held during the preparation of Vanuatu’s INDC

Adaptation Priorities & Goals

For  Vanuatu,  as  an  LDC,  the  National  Adaptation  Programme  of Action  (NAPA)  process  identified  and  prioritised  adaptation  priority needs that were urgent and immediate - those needs for which further delay could increase vulnerability or lead to increased costs at a later stage.

The  Vanuatu  NAPA  identified  11 top  adaptation  priorities through  a national consultation process. These adaptation priorities were further refined to include 5 top priorities for support and implementation. The 5 NAPA priorities include:

  1. Agriculture and food security
  2. Sustainable tourism development
  3. Community based marine resource management
  4. Sustainable forest management
  5. Integrated water resource management

Out of the 5 top priorities, Least Developed Countries Fund (LDCF) financing  has  been  sourced  to  further  elaborate  and  implement priorities 1 and 5 while a concepts for 2 is being developed. Health, which  is  among  the  6  priorities  was  not  selected  for  concept development  however  given  interest  from  key  implementing agencies,  financing  from  the  LDCF  has  been  secured  for  concept development and implementation.

The  NAPA  further  recognised  that  the  following  core  issues  were relevant  to  all  priorities  and  should  be  an  integral  part  of  any proposed activities;

a.  Awareness raising at all levels

b.  Capacity building including institutional capacity

c.  Research and development

d.  Promotion of appropriate traditional knowledge and practices

e.  Technology Transfer

f.  Education and training

g.  Mainstreaming of climate change and disaster risk reduction

h.  Consideration of marine and terrestrial Biodiversity issues

The National Climate Change and Disaster Risk Reduction Policy identifies 5 key adaptation strategic priorities and associated actions to further enhance the national adaptation efforts and build resilience

across sectors. These strategic priorities from 2015 to 2020 include the need for:

  1. Climate Change vulnerability and multi sector impact assessments
  2. Integrated climate change and disaster risk reduction
  3. Community based adaptation
  4. Loss and damage
  5. Ecosystem based approaches

Date updated: March 2016  

Country Contacts – Climate Change and Disaster Risk Management

Climate Change    
Primary Focal Points 
Mr Jesse Benjamin

Director General
Ministry of Climate Change Adaptation, Meteorology, Geo-hazards, Environment, Energy and Disaster Management
PMB 9074, Port Vila
Vanuatu
Email: jbenjamin@vanuatu.gov.vu 

Mr. Brian Phillips
Manager, NAB Project Management Unit
Vanuatu Meteorology & Geo-hazards Department
PMB 9054
Port Vila
Vanuatu
Tel: +678 774-4388
Fax: +678 25745
Email: piccap@vanuatu.com.vu     
    
Disaster Risk Management    
Mr Shadrack Welegtabit

Director
National Disaster Management Office
Email: swelegtabit@vanuatu.gov.vu/shadweleg@hotmail.com    

Amos Morris
Disaster Focal
Ministry of Health
Email: mamos@vanuatu.gov.vu

Sergeant 512
Esrom Tavo Molisa
OIC Firearms
Sanma Patrol Luganville
Santo Police HQ
Vanuatu
Email: emolisa@vanuatu.gov.vu
Tel: +678 22392
Mob: +678 7771188

Date updated: June 2017