Market trader in Vanuatu

Vanuatu

Vanuatu is a double chain of 13 principal and many smaller islands in the south-western Pacific Ocean. The islands are volcanic and coral in origin. They lie about 800 kilometres west of Fiji and nearly 1800 kilometres east of Australia. Around 65 of the islands are inhabited. Vanuatu has mountains and plateaus but is more famous for its coastal terraces and coral reefs.  

Key facts

  • Region: Pacific
  • Population: 292,680 (2018) 
  • Area: 12,190 square kilometres 
  • Capital: Port-Vila 
  • Joined Commonwealth: 1980, following ending of administration Anglo-French condominium 
  • Commonwealth Youth Index: 27 out of 49 countries 

Secretariat support for Vanuatu 

Elections support 

In October 2017, the Commonwealth Elections Professionals Initiative worked with the Vanuatu Elections Office. Most participants agreed the training had improved their skills and career progression in elections management. 

Human rights 

In January 2019, the Commonwealth Small States Office at Geneva helped Vanuatu with its report on human rights in the country under the United Nation’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR) process.  

In March and April 2019, the Commonwealth helped Vanuatu take part in talks on preventing violence against women, and submitting reports to UN treaty organisations.  

Education 

The Secretariat will work with Vanuatu to help early childhood education using the Commonwealth toolkit on this topic. 

Sustainable development 

In March and April 2019, the Secretariat helped Vanuatu reform its petroleum and mining sector to promote more sustainable development. 

Blue Charter

Vanuatu co-champions the Action Group on tackling marine plastic pollution – the Commonwealth Clean Ocean Alliance (CCOA), with the United Kingdom. Vanuatu and the UK have so far rallied 27 member states to join the Action Group.

Vanuatu was one of the first countries in the world to implement a ban on single use plastic bags, straws and polystyrene food containers in July 2018.

Vanuatu is also a member of the Marine Protected Areas and Mangrove Ecosystems and Livelihoods Action Groups.

Connectivity Agenda

Vanuatu is a member of the Regulatory and Supply Side Connectivity cluster of the Commonwealth Connectivity Agenda. The Connectivity Agenda is a platform for countries to exchange best practices and experiences to trade and investment and undertake domestic reform.

Find out more 

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