Skip to main content


Vanuatu - Australia’s commitment to strengthening climate and disaster resilience in the Pacific

Climate change and disaster impacts

Australia is committed to working in partnership with the Government of Vanuatu to meet the needs and aspirations of its people to build resilience to climate change and disaster events.

Vanuatu is recognised as one of the most vulnerable countries in the world to the impacts of climate change and disasters. Cyclones and extreme rainfall are common. Volcanic activity, earthquakes and tsunamis also affect the country.

  • Vanuatu will experience more cyclones like Tropical Cyclones (TCs) Judy and Kevin (March 2023), that impacted an estimated 250,000 people (around 80 per cent of the population) and caused widespread damage to infrastructure, houses, crops, and energy and communications networks. Vanuatu Government’s Post Disaster Needs Assessment estimates the cost of loss and damage to be USD433 million. Australia continues to provide support to meet Vanuatu’s immediate humanitarian and early recovery needs.
  • Australia was a first responder to TC Harold (2020) and TC Pam (2015), distributing essential humanitarian supplies and providing support for health, education, water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), policing and justice services, gender and social inclusion. Australia continues to provide support for recovery and building back with resilience.  
  • In both 2017 and 2018 volcanic eruptions caused the evacuation of over 11,000 citizens of Ambae. Australia provided long-term recovery support to help communities re-establish their lives on Ambae and on other islands where affected communities have settled.
  • Climate hazards, including extreme rainfall events, severe flooding, and storm surge, threaten community livelihoods, and essential infrastructure, like roads, which result in communities being cut off from essential services. Australia is helping Vanuatu to adapt, for example by ensuring its rural road network is resilient to the impacts of extreme weather events and supporting skills and training to encourage locally led resilient development.
  • Climate change disproportionately impacts those already experiencing exclusion and marginalisation, including women, people with disabilities and people living in poverty. Australia is committed to supporting gender-responsive and inclusive approaches to climate and disaster risk resilience result in better program outcomes.

Bilateral support

Climate change is Vanuatu’s highest foreign policy priority, and threatens its food and water security, as well as contributing to more frequent and severe tropical cyclones which are hampering Vanuatu’s economic and human development.

Australia integrates climate and disaster resilience through its bilateral development assistance to Vanuatu across all areas of programming, including in the infrastructure, community, disaster risk reduction, education, skills and health sectors.

  • In 2023, Australia committed $12.8 million to meet immediate humanitarian and early recovery needs from TCs Kevin and Judy.
  • Through the Vanuatu Skills Partnership ($48 million, 2016-2027), Australia is supporting Vanuatu to strengthen their climate resilience capabilities through climate-informed training in the tourism, agribusiness, handicraft and construction sectors. There are also specific training courses in priority areas, such as helping tour and bungalow operators develop disaster action plans and access renewable energy.
  • Roads for Development Program ($41 million, 2018-2024) is helping build climate change and disaster resilience by ensuring that rural roads linking communities to vital health and education facilities and markets, are designed and maintained to withstand increasingly extreme weather.
  • The TC Harold Recovery Program ($21.8 million, 2021-26) has been designed to build back cyclone safe school, health, and water and sanitation facilities.  The program assisted the Government of Vanuatu to restore its education, health and water facilities, and to provide skills development and vocational training.
  • In 2019, Australia provided funding to the UN Markets for Change Program and renovated the Luganville Market House in Santo, ensuring the marketplace was climate resilient, safe, and accessible for market vendors. In 2022, the project supported 42 (33 women) market vendors in Efate to access trainings on export market awareness, farm management, climate-smart agriculture, and pests and diseases. Two out of the six markets have also developed preparedness plans to prepare and respond to disasters.
  • Through the local Wan Smolbag (WSB) Theatre ($24 million, 2010-2027), Australia is supporting innovative approaches to raise awareness and knowledge of climate change by engaging theater productions that reach into local communities.

Australia’s regional and global support

Vanuatu also benefits from a range of regional and globally funded climate change investments working directly to build climate change and disaster resilience in Vanuatu and across the region, including:

  • The Climate and Oceans Support Program in the Pacific Phase 3 (COSPPac3) (Australian contribution $30 million, 2023-2029) supports the Vanuatu Meteorological Service to provide climate and ocean monitoring and prediction services. Climate predictions help farmers plan for planting and harvesting, and Pacific Island countries to prepare for disasters like droughts and tropical cyclones. Ocean predictions (tide, currents, wind and waves) support fishing, tourism and shipping.
  • The Governance for Resilient Development in the Pacific (Gov4Res) Project (Australian contribution $7.9 million, 2019-2023) supports governments across the region to include climate change and disaster risk factors in their planning, budgeting and implementation.
  • The Pacific Insurance and Climate Adaptation Programme (PICAP), (Australian contribution $9.5 million, 2020-2025) implemented by United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) is protecting some of Vanuatu’s most vulnerable communities against intensifying climate risk through the development of affordable, market-based, parametric micro-insurance products targeted at small holder farmers, fishers and market stallholders.
  • The Australian Humanitarian Partnership (AHP) Disaster READY Program ($100 million, 2017-2027) is supporting communities, local civil society actors and national and sub-national government to be better prepared for and more resilient to disasters and climate change.
  • The Australia Assists Program ($94.7 million globally, 2017-2024) deploys technical specialists to work with governments, multilateral agencies and communities to prepare for, respond to, and recover from disasters and conflict. Technical specialists are supporting the Vanuatu National Disaster Management Office (NDMO) to mitigate and adapt to climate change and reduce the damage cause by natural hazards.
  • The Australian Red Cross-DFAT Humanitarian Partnership ($50 million, 2019-2024) supports the National Red Cross Society, enabling local communities to be better prepared for, respond to and recover from climate hazards and disasters. The National Society is trusted by national government partners and local communities to provide local leadership in disaster preparedness and response.
  • Through Pacific Women Lead, Australia supports four regional programs implemented in Vanuatu that aim to address gender equality and climate action: The Women’s Environment and Development Organisation (WEDO) to advance women’s leadership in climate change decision-making and negotiations ($699,900, 2022-2024); The Shifting the Power Coalition (1.9 million 2021- 2026) to strengthen diverse women’s leadership in humanitarian action; UN Women’s Market for Change program ($6.3 million, 2022-2026) to improve market places to make them resilient to disasters; and UN Women’s Women’s Resilience to Disasters Program ($13.5 million, 2021-2025) ensuring prevention, preparedness and recovery policy frameworks are gender-responsive.
Back to top