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.

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. 

Elections work

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.  

Human rights work

Climate change

The Secretariat supports Vanuatu to deliver climate action by building its capacity to access international climate finance through the Climate Finance Access Hub and supporting the development of robust climate policies.

Climate change work


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

Education work

Sustainable development 

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

Natural resources work

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.

Blue Charter

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.

Connectivity Agenda

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Learn more about the Secretariat's work

Total population

Key Facts

307,150 (2022)
12,190 square kilometres
Capital city
Joined the Commonwealth
1980, following ending of administration Anglo-French condominium