Vanuatu

 

Vanuatu is an archipelago of approximately 80 volcanic islands, with an area of approximately 12,336  square kilometers located off the north-eastern coast of Australia. The island’s population of approximately 221,000 individuals is predominantly rural and relies mostly on agriculture, tourism, raising cattle and offshore financial services (UKFCO, 2011).

 

In Vanuatu climate change is likely to impact all sectors especially agriculture, water, coastal and marine resources and infrastructure as well as tourism. Agriculture is entirely rain-fed and is susceptible to changes in rainfall distribution. Intense and prolonged rainfall could damage seedlings, result in greater run-off and soil erosion and encourage conditions that promote pests and diseases. Drought combined with higher temperatures could cause added thermal stress on plants. Projected increases in sea surface temperatures combined with increased ocean acidification (from increased CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere) are likely to put pressures on the marine food chain (particularly reef systems and other calcifying organisms such as planktons) which in turn potentially threatens aspects of marine food supply and associated livelihoods. The incidence off vector-borne disease such as malaria and dengue fever, and water-borne diseases such as dysentery and diarrhea are likely to increase and shift in distribution (malaria likely to extend further southwards). There is a high level of awareness among key stakeholders in Vanuatu of the risks posed by the hazards associated with climate change and natural disasters. Vanuatu is the only Pacific Island Country to have completed both a National Adaptation Program of Action (NAPA) and a National Action Plan (NAP) for Disaster Risk Reduction. A recent Global Fund for Disaster Risk Reduction (GFDRR) stock taking exercise, building on the NAPA and the NAP, also identified priorities. The stock-take also emphasized the links between climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction and the relevance of this approach for the Pacific Islands. Furthermore, the government is committed to follow through on the Hyogo Framework to integrate the management of climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction. Additionally, there is a commitment to merge the National Advisory Committee on Climate Change (NACCC) and the National Disaster Management Committee (NDMC).