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.
The climate of Vanuatu can be defined by two main seasons, the cold (dry) season from May to October and the hot (wet/cyclone) season from November to April. Vanuatu is one of the countries 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.
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):
- Human Health
- Freshwater Resources
- Coastal Developments
- Coastal Marine Environments
- Broad Economic Impacts