Vanuatu’s Path to Sustainable Development

Graduation of Vanuatu from an LDC Status

Vanuatu is the country that ash lately became one of the most successful countries on the path of sustainable development. The country was listed as the least developed country by the UN when the category was introduced by the UN in 1971 and is today amongst the only six countries alongside Maldives and Samos to have progressed from the rank of the least developed country or LDC. This progress and graduation of the state of Vanuatu can be attributed to the excellent strategic planning and development gains by the country.

Owing to these factors, Vanuatu has been able to increase its level of income and enhance the social development indicators. Further, the mortality rates have decreased while the education sector has witnessed immense improvement as well. All these have led the country to achieve this progress from being an LDC as these factors are considered by the UN while deciding if the country is given the rank of LDC or not. 

Impact of Sustainable Development on Vanuatu

While the country has been able to show significant progress owing to its sustainable development strategy, more actions are still required from the country on an urgent basis to ensure that the country can attain the UN SDGs by the designated year, 2030. With the graduation of Vanuatu from the status of LDC, the country lost eligibility for international support measures received by LDC but the country would not be impacted much as most of its exports are done under free-market negotiations. This course of sustainable development adopted by Vanuatu and its graduation has improved the image of the country in the international market and the country has been able to attract large sums of FDI in the country. 

Challenges Faced in Tourism Sector

The graduation however has come at a time of changing global economy where unforeseen shocks like the Covid-19 Pandemic will be posing major challenges to the development of the country. The pandemic has caused the closure of international borders and economic lockdown which has resulted in a drop in tourism in Vanuatu where tourism constitutes a major part of the economy. The drop in tourism has impacted the economy of Vanuatu as the international arrivals have dropped by 65 percent leading to loss of seventy percent of jobs and income in the first six weeks of the closure of international borders, the country has been successful in stopping the spread of the virus, recording the first Covid case only in November 2020.

External Shocks Faced by the Country 

Further, the country is exposed to many external shocks as well especially the risk of climate change. Tropical Cyclone Pam was the strongest cyclone experienced by Vanuatu in its history in 2015 after which the second strongest cyclone was experienced by the country in 2020 in form of a category five cycle, Tropical Cyclone Harold. This natural disaster displaced eighty thousand people of the country or roughly 27 percent of the total population of the country. The occurrence of two strong cyclones in just the last five to six years raises the threat level of climate change and natural disasters for Vanuatu. 

Challenges Faced by Agriculture Sector Development

Besides tourism, the economy of Vanuatu is dependent on agriculture with about eighty percent of the population depending on this sector for income and daily food. This sector is also vulnerable to the increasing climate change and extreme weather events that are occurring due to it. When the Cycle Pam hit the country, about ninety-six percent of the food crops of the country were destroyed thus food security has a major role to play in the 2030 Sustainable Development Plan. 

Future of Sustainable Development in Vanuatu

Vanuatu has already started the implementation of the Vanuatu 2030 The People’s Plan which is the national sustainable development plan for the country introduced in 2016 till the year 2030. 

Vanuatu is on the road to sustainable development, due to which the demand for Vanuatu citizenship by investment is increasing. Immigration and citizenship can be achieved through a process of investment termed Investment Based Vanuatu Citizenship. By investing in real estate and local development funds, one can gain investment-based citizenship of Vanuatu.


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