Prime Minister Hon Edward Nipake Natapei
(on the left side)
at the European Development Days
in November 2009
Since 1981 Vanuatu joined the ACP group and has benefited from many of the instruments available within the Convention. The successive indicative programmes from Lomé I to Lomé IV and now Cotonou provided development aid and technical assistance to implement infrastructure projects, rehabilitate education facilities damaged by cyclones and earthquakes, develop agriculture or tourism, etc.
Initially, under Lomé I, II and III, programmable aid was destined mainly to finance development projects in rural areas. A cultural co-operation project also funded the establishment of a cultural and historical site survey, recording Vanuatu’s rich cultural and archaeological heritage. Under Lomé IV, the emphasis shifted to infrastructure involving building or upgrading main roads on six islands and improving 46 primary schools. 8th EDF projects aim to increase the number and quality of junior secondary schools in rural areas and to build a library for the Teachers’ College.
Under the 9th EDF (2002-2007), Vanuatu was granted €23.3 million. Projects focussed on human resources development, through an education and training Support Programme. The main aim was to increase the number of students obtaining secondary and vocational education qualifications and marketable skills increased. The programme allows the construction and the rehabilitation of junior secondary schools, a new School of Tourism, the extension of Primary Education (year 7 and 8 dedicated to life skills for drop-out students), vocational training in rural tourism and in-service training and capacity building activities at the level of productive farmers and cooperatives.
The 10th EDF Country Strategy Paper (2008-2013) is paying special attention to Economic Growth and the Creation of Employment (including human resources development). This comprises actions and strategic thinking. For example, a sector committee has been created with key partners in an attempt at initiating a sector approach to rural development. Vanuatu also receives budgetary aid to encourage Public Finance Reforms and better linkages between budget and policies, in particular in the delivery of social services. Under the 10th EDF the European Union will also provide grants for Non State Actors and Local Authorities in Development to improve citizenship awareness, gender equity, political awareness and cultural activities among people with less access to public services.
The EU is also active in climate change. A special allocation has been granted to the Government of Vanuatu to improve Vanuatu’s overall understanding on the effects of climate change, strengthening climate resilience and disaster risk reduction in key sectors in the country. This also includes concrete initiatives in favour of the use of renewable energies.
Through the Delegation to Vanuatu, the European Investment Bank (EIB) has also been active in the country for the last years. Recently two subsidized loans assisted the building of the first wind farm in Port Vila (with capacity to supply 30% of power to the capital) or the extension of mobile phone services.
Finally it is worth mentioning the excellent level of political dialogue between Vanuatu and the European Union in international initiatives in favour of a fairer world. In this sense, Vanuatu has accepted been a relevant voice of the Pacific in the issue of Climate Change, modified its legislation to become more accountable in tax exchange requests or the accession to the International Criminal Court.Back to Political and economic relations