Vanuatu, a cluster of around 80 islands situated in the South-western Pacific Ocean home to about 250,000 people, faces serious challenges from climate change and poverty. Because it has few resources to call upon, the prospect of real improvements are low.
Vanuatu ‘s difficulties stem from its exposure to natural disasters such as sea level rise, increases in rainfall variability and tropical storms combined with the fragility of its social and economics capabilities. Vanuatu is part of the group of Least Developed Countries in the world and the economic impact of natural disasters is much greater than it would be in other parts of the world.
An immense difficulty is that the key industries in Vanuatu are tourism, agriculture, fisheries and forestry, which all depend on favourable environmental conditions.
The World Risk Index, the study that ranked Vanuatu most at risk, indicates the probability that a country or region will be affected by a disaster. This is calculated taking into account the degree of exposure to a natural hazard, like an earthquake or a flood, multiplied by the vulnerability of the country, which includes aspects such as susceptibility, coping and adaptive capacities.
In the Pacific international consultation held last September by the Anglican Alliance in Honiara, Solomon Islands, Fr John Sovan from Vanuatu was one of the delegates of the Anglican Church of Melanesia. Participants professed the importance of climate change and the survival, food security and displacement problems that it causes as key prioirities for the Alliance.
These issues, already being addressed by the Climate Change division of the Anglican Church of Melanesia, will also be the focus of the work of the pacific facilitator of the Anglican Alliance soon to be appointed.