Facts and Figures
307.2 thousand
USD 74.8 million
Net migration rate (2021)
-0.6 migrants/1,000 population

Vanuatu is made up of 83 islands in the South Pacific, Melanesian region. Vanuatu has three official languages: Bislama, English and French, as well as more than 100 local languages from the different islands. According to the 2018 WorldRiskReport, Vanuatu is the most at-risk country for natural disasters worldwide, which is indicative of the level of exposure to extreme natural events such as cyclones, earthquakes, tsunamis and volcanic eruptions, as well as the capacity to respond and cope to impacts from natural disasters and climate change. In 2015, Vanuatu experienced a devastating category 5 Tropical Cyclone, referred to as Cyclone Pam, which passed close to the capital Port Vila. Cyclone Pam affected over 188,000 people, which is more half of the national population, destroying 95% of food crops in affected areas and damaging or destroying more than 70% of health facilities and 50% of schools (World Vision).

In June 2017 a volcano erupted on the island of Ambae in Vanuatu. After a state of emergency was activated, the entire population of the island (approximately 11380 people) were required to evacuate to neighboring islands.

IOM has been working with government and local counterparts in Vanuatu since 2011, with a focus on field of displacement management and migration management. In cooperation with the Ministry for Climate Change and its National Disaster Management Office (NDMO), IOM works to help communities to better prepare for, respond to and recover from displacement related to natural disasters and climate change, including as the co-lead of the Evacuation Centers Working Group. IOM also works with the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MOIA) to improve migration governance, visa and border management policies and practices, and support in counter-trafficking.

IOM projects

Strengthening National Capacity to Address the Environmental Impacts of displaceent in Humanitarian Response (UNEP funded)

  • The objective of this project is to contribute to protecting the environment from the impact of mass displacement induced by natural disasters, before during and after displacement induced by natural disasters including slow and sudden onset disasters. The project aims to increase the skills of the Government of Vanuatu in monitoring and manage the environmental impacts of displacement, and provide tools and training to mainstream environmental protection during displacement.

Enhancing protection and empowerment of migrants and communities affected by climate change and disasters in the pacific region (UN Trust Fund on Human Security funded)

  • This regional project seeks to protect and empower communities adversely affected by climate change and disasters in the Pacific region, focusing specifically on climate change and disaster-related migration, displacement, and planned relocation. The program will be delivered through a partnership between UN agencies of IOM, ILO, UNHCR, and ESCAP. Platform on Disaster Displacement and Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat will be non-UN implementing partners.

Understanding and enhancing preparedness and response to risks of disaster displacement in the Pacific (EU DEVCO funded)

  • The overall objective of the proposed action is to reduce the risk and impact of disaster displacement on persons at risk of being displaced in developing small islands states in the Pacific, so that targeted populations would not be displaced at all, less affected or better assisted and protected when compelled to move. The project will increase the capacity of national actors such as the National Disaster Management Office (NDMO) in Vanuatu to track displacement, assess communities’ vulnerability and prepare for disaster-induced displacement.

Strengthening Operational Capacity for Management of Displacement Induced by Climate Change and Natural Disasters in Vanuatu (New Zealand MFAT funded)

  • The main objective of this project is to strengthen the capacity of key stakeholders in Vanuatu to manage displacement induced by natural disasters and climate change. IOM aims to expand on the work done in relation to displacement management at the policy level and enhance the operational capacity of first responders to support the government authorities and communities in displacement situations. The project focuses on improving displacement tracking and management and operations of evacuation centers and planned relocation sites related to the volcanic eruption on Ambae island.

Building Capacity to Address Climate Change and Disaster-Induced Displacement (IOM Development Fund):

  • The proposed project builds on the outcomes of the 2017-2018 development of a National Policy on Climate Change and Disaster Induced Displacement project funded by the IOM Development Fund. Under this proposed project, IOM is providing technical support to the Government of Vanuatu (GoV) towards the implementation of the recommendations and strategic plans outlined in the policy document developed under the 2017 project.

Africa, Caribbean and Pacific - European Union (ACP-EU) Migration Action:

  • The ACP-EU Migration Action supports the Dialogue on Migration and Development between African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) and European (EU) countries. In the Pacific, the Action provides technical assistance to ACP Governments and Regional Organizations, support to grass-roots projects with/by Non-State Actor projects and produces and disseminates information on its work. In. Vanuatu, technical assistance through ACP-EU migration action focuses on visas, remittances, trafficking and smug
Related documents
Contact information

For information on IOM activities in Vanuatu, contact the IOM Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific (Bangkok):

International Organization for Migration (IOM)
Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific
18th Floor Rajanakarn Building
183 South Sathorn Road
Satorn District, Bangkok 10120

Tel: +66.2 343 93 00
Fax: +66.2 343 93 99, +66.2 286 18 18
Email: ROBangkok@iom.int
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