Vanuatu, full official form - Republic of Vanuatu (bisl. Ripablik blong Vanuatu, fr. République du Vanuatu) - Pacific state in Melanesia. It borders in the north with the waters of the Solomon Islands, in the west - with the economic zone of Australia, in the south-west - with the territorial waters of New Caledonia, in the east - with the territorial waters of Fiji. The coastal strip is 2528 km long. The Republic of Vanuatu is located on 83 islands of the New Hebrides Archipelago. The total land area is 12,190 km². Vanuatu has a population of 277,554. (2016). The capital is the city of Port Vila. The first island seen by Europeans was Espiritu Santo, discovered by the Spanish navigator Pedro Fernandez Quiros in 1606 and taken as part of the “Unknown Southern Land”. In 1906, the islands became a condominium in Britain and France under the name New Hebrides. On July 30, 1980, the islands gained independence under the name "Republic of Vanuatu." Vanuatu is a member of the United Nations, the Commonwealth of Nations, Francophonie, the South Pacific Commission and the Pacific Islands Forum. On August 24, 2012, the Republic of Vanuatu finally became a member of the WTO.



The modern name of the country, Vanuatu (literally: "this land forever"), has been officially used since July 30, 1980, when the islands gained independence from Britain and France.

Prior to this event, the archipelago was called the New Hebrides. It was given in 1774 by the English navigator James Cook in honor of the Hebrides, located to the west of Scotland.



General geography
The Melanesian state of Vanuatu is a chain of Y-shaped islands stretching from north to south for 1176 km. The nearest state, the Solomon Islands, is located approximately 170 km north of Vanuatu, New Caledonia - 230 km to the southwest, Fiji - 800 km to the east, Australia - 1750 km to the west.

The land area of ​​Vanuatu is 12,190 km². The archipelago consists of 14 large and 60 smaller, but inhabited islands. In general, Vanuatu includes 83 islands. The most important of these are the islands of Efate, Espiritu Santo, Tanna and Malekula. The largest island of Vanuatu is the island of Espiritu Santo, on the territory of which the highest point of the country is also located - Mount Tabwemasana (1879 m). On the islands of Ambrim, Aoba and Tanna there are mountains whose height exceeds 1000 m above sea level. Most of the islands have a mountainous terrain, which is caused by the movement of oceanic plates. Some islands with sheer cliffs are surrounded by fringing coral reefs. To the west of the archipelago is an oceanic depression up to 8000 m deep.

The northernmost island of Vanuatu is the island of Hiu in the Torres group: it is located 150 kilometers south of the Santa Cruz Islands belonging to the Solomon Islands. Officially, the southernmost island of the country is the island of Aneityum, but the Republic disputes the more southern islands of Mathieu and Hunter from New Caledonia.



In terms of geology, the islands of Vanuatu are young, and their formation occurred during four main stages of volcanic activity caused by the movement of lithospheric plates in the region. Structurally, the islands of the New Hebrides consist predominantly of igneous volcanic rock: parent rock, basalt, andesites, volcaniclastic deposits and limestone.

The islands of Vanuatu began to form during the Miocene epoch. The islands of Espiritu Santo, Malekula and Torres appeared about 22 million years ago, Maevo and Pentecost - about 4-10 million years ago, other islands of the archipelago - about 2-3 million years ago. At the same time, the process of island formation continues: presumably, up to 20% of Vanuatu's modern landmass was formed over the past 200 thousand years.

The islands of Epi and Tongoa in the Shepherd group in the past were a single island of Kuwae (bisl. Kuwae) (the name was borrowed from the legends of the islands located southeast of Epi). However, after a major eruption of the volcano of the same name in 1452, Kuwae was destroyed: as a result, two independent islands and a large oval-shaped caldera (12 x 6 km) were formed. This eruption, the largest in the last 10 thousand years (up to 35 km³ of volcanic material was thrown into the atmosphere), influenced not only the geography and history of the New Hebrides archipelago, but also had an impact on the global climate for several years.

The history of the formation of the islands of the New Hebrides can be briefly described as follows. Initially, the rise of underwater volcanoes was noted, which, having reached the surface of the ocean, continued this process. Subsequently, volcanic activity decreased, and active growth of corals began along the edges of volcanoes. The movement of lithospheric plates caused the uplift of underwater reefs, which became part of the land (about 20% of the surface of the modern islands of Vanuatu is limestone). Then the surface of the islands was subjected to erosion, as a result of which the modern topography of the islands was formed. However, the process of uplift at the present stage has not ended: the annual rise is about 0.5 mm.

The Vanuatu Islands are located in the volcanic belt of the Pacific Ocean, where the Australian and Pacific lithospheric plates collide. Because of this, volcanic eruptions and tremors often occur on the islands, although they rarely reach destructive force.

The most famous active volcano in Vanuatu is Yasur, located on the island of Tanna (its height reaches 365 m). Not far from it is Lake Sivi, surrounded on all sides by lava valleys and volcanic ash. Yasour is also considered one of the most active volcanoes in the world accessible to humans. According to the mythological ideas of the locals, the volcano is the home of dead spirits, so this place is sacred. The extinct volcano Aoba on the island of Aoba reaches a height of 1500 m above sea level. Its three craters contain thermal lakes, the largest of which is Lake Manaro.

On many islands there are underground caves, formed both as a result of volcanic activity and erosion of limestone or ash. One of the most famous caves is Siviri on the island of Efate. Another important aspect of the local geology is the coastal rocks, which are composed of cemented to a stone state of solution formed from shell calcium carbonate and plankton. In this case, not only the sand on the shore hardens, but also other objects, such as various military equipment from the era of the Second World War at the Cape Million Dollars (eng. Million dollar Point) on Espiritu Santo

There are no large mineral deposits known to man on the islands of Vanuatu, but active geological exploration is underway. There are minor deposits of gold (primarily on the island of Espiritu Santo) and manganese (mined on the island of Efate until the 1980s).



Humid tropical climate, close to equatorial, is typical for most of the islands of Vanuatu. However, on islands with a mountainous relief, there are clear climatic differences depending on the height above sea level and the influence of the trade winds. At low altitudes, the southeast windward sides of the islands have a typical equatorial climate (precipitation varies from 2500 to 4000 mm); the northwest leeward sides are characterized by a tropical climate with two seasons per year (rainfall usually does not exceed 2000 mm). At an altitude of about 500-600 m in the south and 200-300 m in the north of the archipelago in the highlands, the climate is humid with frequent fogs and precipitation exceeding 5000 mm per year.

From May to October (winter months), southeasterly breezes blow in the New Hebrides, resulting in sunny days and cool nights. From November to April the air is very humid due to very frequent and heavy showers. High temperatures and frequent cyclones are observed at this time of the year. The average annual temperature during the rainy season in the northern islands is 30°C, during the dry season - about 20°C. In the southern islands, the average annual temperature varies from 29°C to 17°C. In the capital of the state, the city of Port Vila, humidity during the rainy season can reach 90%. During the dry season - about 70-74%.

The heavy rainy season on all islands of Vanuatu lasts from January to March. The rainiest month of the year is February (20 rainy days). The driest months are August and September. The average annual rainfall on the northeastern islands is about 4000 mm, on the southern islands - 2360 mm.

Cyclones on the islands occur most often in December-March and form over the Coral Sea, which lies northwest of Vanuatu.


Soils and hydrology

The soils of Vanuatu were formed mainly from volcanic rock. Most of them are characterized by a high content of volcanic ash.

It is customary to distinguish three main groups of soils in the country depending on climatic conditions: ferralitic soils of the southeastern islands with a humid climate, fersialitic soils of the northwestern islands with a drier climate, and Andic soils of the highlands. The wetter the climate and the younger the volcanic ash, the more Andic the soils.

Soils at low elevations are very fertile due to their high ash content, even though it rains frequently and heavily. However, on the islands of Aneityum, Eromanga, Efate and Espiritu Santo, the soils are less fertile, as they are dominated by ferralitic soils formed from old volcanic rocks.

There are very few rivers in the New Hebrides, which is due to the location of the islands in the tropics, the porosity of volcanic soils, in which rainwater practically does not linger. On many islands of Vanuatu, there are no rivers at all. However, on Efate, Espiritu Santo, Pentecost and some other islands, there are small streams of water, the sources of which are located in the interior of the islands.


Flora and fauna

The process of formation of local flora and fauna began immediately after the end of major geological processes in the New Hebrides. Most of the plant and animal species that have appeared on the islands through Papua New Guinea, New Britain and the Solomon Islands come from Indo-Australasia. Seeds of plants were brought to the islands thanks to the ocean current, sea migratory birds. Some of the birds arrived from Australia via New Caledonia.

On the islands of Vanuatu, several zones of certain vegetation can be distinguished, the diversity of which depends primarily on the height above sea level, as well as the substrate: valley forests, mountain forests, seasonal forests, vegetation on a new volcanic surface, coastal vegetation and secondary vegetation.

In mountain forests at an altitude of 500 m, mainly agathis and legcarps grow, as well as metrosideros, syzygiums, weinmania and other plants. Seasonal forests, which are the transition zone between dry and tropical forests, are found on the lee side of the islands. The coastal vegetation is represented by mangroves, and the intertidal forests are represented by casuarina, pandanus, barringtonia, haritaki.

The total cumulative number of vascular plants that grow in Vanuatu is about 870 species, 130 of which are endemic. A large number of plants and animals were brought to the islands by man. For example, yams, taro, bananas, cycads, breadfruit, sugarcane, pigs, dogs, and poultry were introduced to the New Hebrides by early settlers[20]. Pineapples, avocados, papaya, cassava and maize were also introduced by humans, but already by Europeans from America. The most valuable tree species are kauri and sandalwood.

Vanuatu's only mammals are 4 species of flying foxes and 8 species of insectivorous bats, of which 4 species are either endemic or near-endemic. Long-tailed fruit bat (lat. Notopteris macdonaldi) and flying fox species lat. Pteropus fundatus are vulnerable species and the Santa Cruz fruit bat (Nyctimene sanctacrucis) is considered extinct.

The islands of Vanuatu are inhabited by 57 species of land birds, 7 of which are endemic, 17 species of reptiles, including crocodiles and two species of non-venomous snakes, 71 species of butterflies (of which five are endemic), 12 species of ants and termites (of which five are endemic) , 76 species of snails (57 are endemic).

Coastal waters are very rich in representatives of marine fauna. Sea turtles lay their eggs on some islands. Sharks swim off the coast of the islands of Ambae, Ambrim, Paama, Pentecost and Malekula, however, coastal waters are safe for tourists, as the islands are surrounded by fringing reefs.

Vanuatu has one national park and 106 protected and protected areas. The most important of these are the Million Dollar Point National Park, the Loru and Vatthe reserves on the island of Espiritu Santo.



The early history of Vanuatu is very poorly understood. Archaeological finds indicate that the islands of this republic were inhabited by people about 4000 years ago. Some found clay shards can be dated to 1300-1100. BC e.

According to paleogenetics, representatives of the Lapita culture, which originated from Taiwan about 5-6 thousand years ago, reached Vanuatu about 3000 years ago].

The first island of Vanuatu, noticed by Europeans, was the island of Espiritu Santo, discovered in 1606 by a Spanish navigator originally from Portugal, Pedro Fernandez Quiros, who mistook the island for part of the "Southern Land". However, not a single European ship subsequently sailed to the islands of Vanuatu until 1768, when the French navigator Louis Antoine de Bougainville rediscovered the islands. In 1774, Captain James Cook gave the islands the name "New Hebrides", which was used until the independence of Vanuatu.

In 1825, trader Peter Dillon discovered sandalwood on Eromanga Island, which continued to be cut down until 1830, when a skirmish broke out between Polynesian immigrants and native Melanesians. During the 1860s, planters from Australia, New Caledonia, Samoa and Fiji, in dire need of labor, contributed to the prosperity of the islands of Vanuatu by recruiting local residents and then turning them into slaves. During the heyday of this “blackbirding” (from the English blackbirding), more than half of adult men worked on foreign plantations. At this time, a significant decline in the population of the islands was noted.

In 1879, N. N. Miklouho-Maclay worked on the island of Efate, whose records and observations subsequently played an important role in preserving the traditional culture of Vanuatu.

At the same time, the first Catholic and Protestant missionaries appeared in the New Hebrides. New settlers also arrived, looking for land where they could set up cotton plantations. When the price of cotton fell heavily, they switched to growing coffee, cocoa, bananas, and coconut trees. At first, the New Hebrides were dominated by British subjects who sailed to the islands from Australia, but with the founding of the Caledonian Company of the New Hebrides in 1882, French subjects began to predominate. By the end of the century, the French population outnumbered the British by two to one.

Both France and Great Britain had interests in this region, so the question arose of who should own the islands. In 1885, France wanted the New Hebrides in exchange for some concessions to Britain. However, the British Empire refused to accept this proposal due to protest from all Australian colonies except New South Wales. In 1887, a convention was signed, according to which an Anglo-French naval commission was established in the New Hebrides. The commanders of the British and French warships of the New Hebride station sat in turn in it, with the assistance of two officers from each side. Subsequently, this commission became responsible for protecting the lives and property of the British and French population in the New Hebrides. However, the commission had no right to interfere in land disputes.

On August 9, 1889, the settlement of Port Vila became the independent republic of Franceville. She became the first state in which universal suffrage was introduced regardless of gender and race, although only representatives of the "white race" could hold government posts. This "commune" did not last long: in June 1890, it practically ceased to exist.

In 1906, an agreement was reached under which the New Hebrides were declared a joint possession of France and Britain (a condominium). Subsequently, a unique form of government was created: separate colonial governments, only a common court. Melanesians, the indigenous population of the New Hebrides, were deprived of the right to obtain citizenship of both metropolitan countries

Changes in the form of government began in the early 1940s, when the first nationalist organizations began to appear on the islands. The first political party appeared only in the early 1970s and was called the National Party of the New Hebrides, one of its founders was Father Walter Lini (later Prime Minister of Vanuatu). In 1974, the party was renamed the Vanua'aku Pati. The main focus of her activity was the struggle for the independence of the New Hebrides. Independence was acquired on July 30, 1980, and the country was named the Republic of Vanuatu.


Administrative division

For four years after the signing of the 1906 convention on the creation of a condominium in the New Hebrides, there was no administrative division, and the consideration of various cases involving Melanesians was carried out not by a general court, but by the Naval Commission. In 1911, the first steps were taken to carry out administrative reform. As a result, in 1912, representatives of resident commissioners (with the exception of the island of Efate) were appointed to some of the islands of the New Hebrides, who monitored employment, considered various complaints from the population. British representatives were sent to the islands of Tanna and Espiritu Santo, French representatives to the islands of Malekula and Pentecost. In 1985, another administrative reform was carried out, which resulted in the abolition of four districts and the formation of eleven island councils.

Since 1994, the Republic of Vanuatu has been divided into 6 provinces. The names of the provinces are formed from the first syllables or letters of the main islands that make up the province.



Number and placement
According to the 1999 census, the population of Vanuatu was 186,678. By 2009, this number had increased to 234,023 people. (census), while in the capital of the state, the city of Port Vila, 44,040 people lived.

Approximately two-thirds of the population of Vanuatu lives on the four main islands of the republic: Efate (where the capital is located, the city of Port Vila), Espiritu Santo (where the country's second largest city, Luganville - 13,167 people), Malekule and Tafea. Most of the population lives on or near the coast. The hinterland of large islands, covered with dense thickets, is usually uninhabited.

According to the 2009 census, there were 119,090 men. (50.89%), women - 114,933 people. (49.11%). The share of the urban population as of 2009 was 57,207 people. (24.4%), agriculture - 176,816 people. (75.6%). Limited economic opportunities in rural areas, combined with very low income levels and increasing income differentiation between urban and rural areas in recent years, has led to an increase in the influx of people into the main cities of the country - Port Vila and Luganville.

In 2009, the average annual population growth rate was 2.3%. As a result, according to forecasts, by 2029 the population of Vanuatu will increase to 395,017 people. These figures contrast strongly with those of the 19th century, when, as a result of the colonial policy of Europeans, imported diseases, and a pandemic, the population of Vanuatu decreased from almost 1 million people to less than 41,000. Some islands, such as Aneityum and Eromanga, lost more than 95% of their population during this period of the country's history.

The proportion of children under 14 in 2009 was 90,973 people. (38.9%), adults from 15 to 60 years old - 129,244 people. (55.2%), over 60 years old - 13,806 people. (5.9%). The average life expectancy for men in 1999 was 65.6 years, for women - 69 years.

Ethnic composition
In terms of ethnic composition, 94% of the country's population are the indigenous people of Vanuatu - Ni-Vanuatu. The rest: 4% - Europeans, 2% - other peoples of Oceania and Asia.

Vanuatu also has a small Chinese community, mostly traders, as well as a Vietnamese community made up of the descendants of laborers who worked on local plantations in the past. The first group of workers from Tonkin (northern Vietnam) arrived in the New Hebrides in 1920. As a result, by the end of World War II, about 2,500 Vietnamese already lived on the islands, of which only 550 people were repatriated home in 1945.



Vanuatu has three official languages ​​- English, French and Bislama (a Creole language predominantly based on English).

The number of speakers of Bislama as a native language is 6,200 people, mainly in the capital Port Vila and in the city of Luganville, while it is understood by most of the country's inhabitants. Bislama is also common in New Caledonia.

In addition to these official languages, there are still 109 local languages ​​(in different sources, the figure varies significantly due to the difficulties associated with distinguishing between dialects and individual languages, as well as due to the constant extinction of indigenous languages). The average number of native speakers of one language is 2,000 people; they are all part of the Austronesian family of languages. A significant number of indigenous languages ​​are in danger of extinction. The largest concentration of languages ​​is on the islands of Espiritu Santo and Malekula (about 24 languages ​​each). The languages ​​of the islands of Aneityum, Tanna and Eromanga, which are part of the province of Tafea, are significantly isolated from the rest of the languages ​​of the country and are close to the languages ​​of New Caledonia. In addition to the Melanesian languages, there are also three Polynesian languages ​​in Vanuatu: Mele Fila, Futuna Aniva and Emae. They were formed as a result of the return migration of Polynesians from Eastern Polynesia.

The most widely spoken indigenous languages ​​are Raga (7,000 speakers), Lenakel (6,500 speakers), Paama (6,000), Uripiv-Wala Rano-Atchin (6,000), Eastern Ambae (5,000), Western Ambae (4,500), Apma (4500) and southern efate (3750).

In the 20th century, the Avoiuli script was created for the use of several of them at once.


Religious composition

The first Christian missionaries in the New Hebrides appeared in the 19th century, but for a very long time their activity was ineffective, and the life of religious teachers was dangerous. For example, a well-known missionary from the London Missionary Society, John Williams, was killed and eaten by the locals of Eromanga Island. Only by the middle of the 20th century did Christianity become the dominant religion among the Melanesian population of the New Hebrides.

In addition to Christian teachings, the cult of cargo, which originated on the islands during the Second World War and is found on the islands of Tanna, Malekula and Espiritu Santo, has become widespread in Vanuatu. The most famous of these are the John Froome movement (on the island of Tanna), as well as the Prince Philip movement (on the island of Tanna; it worships Philip, Duke of Edinburgh).

Before the appearance of Christian missionaries on the islands, animism was practiced in the New Hebrides, traces of which are also visible in modern religion, which is essentially a tangle of traditional beliefs in spirits and the Christian faith. During the colonial period, religion and education were closely intertwined with each other, and the writing of most local languages ​​was developed by Christian missionaries. However, in modern society, religion plays a very important role, even the national motto says: “Long God yumi stanap” (translated from the Bislama language, “We stand behind God”).

As of 2009, the proportion of Presbyterians was 28%, Anglicans - 15%, Roman Catholics - 12%, Seventh-day Adventists - 12%, adherents of other Christian denominations - 13%, local beliefs (including adherents of the cargo cult) - 5%.


Political structure

Political system
Vanuatu is a sovereign unitary democratic republic. The constitution, adopted on July 30, 1980, establishes a republican form of government with a Westminster system of parliamentarism.

The legislative body of the country is a unicameral parliament, consisting of 52 deputies and elected for a four-year term. Deputies are elected on the basis of universal suffrage through an electoral system that includes elements of proportional representation. All citizens of Vanuatu who have reached the age of 25 have the right to be elected to parliament.

At the first sitting after the election, members of parliament elect the speaker and his deputy.

Parliament may be dissolved according to a decision taken by an absolute majority of Parliament at a special meeting attended by at least ¾ of all deputies. Exactly one week before the adoption of this decision, Parliament must warn the speaker. The President of Vanuatu also has the right to dissolve the Parliament, who makes an appropriate decision in agreement with the Council of Ministers. Early elections are called not earlier than 30 and not later than 60 days after the day of dissolution of Parliament.

The Vanuatu Parliament is vested with the power to make laws through the adoption of bills submitted by one or more of the country's ministers, as well as the prime minister. After the bill is approved by Parliament, it is sent to the President of Vanuatu for consideration, who must sign the bill within two weeks. If the President believes that a bill approved by the Parliament is contrary to the Constitution, he can apply to the Supreme Court of Vanuatu.

executive branch
Vanuatu is a parliamentary republic headed by a president who has no real power. He is elected by an electoral college, which consists of members of parliament and chairmen of regional councils. The candidate who receives 2/3 of the votes is considered elected. The term of office of the president is 5 years. The president can be removed from office in case of misconduct and for health reasons, as well as on the initiative of 1/3 of the electoral college, subsequently supported by a meeting attended by 3/4 of the electors and 3/4 of the chairmen of local councils. For the removal of the president from office, 2/3 of the number of electors present at this meeting must vote.

The President has the power to pardon, commute a sentence, or sentence a person who has committed a crime. The President must also ensure that laws passed by Parliament do not contradict the Constitution. From August 16, 2004 to August 16, 2009, Kalkot Mataskelekele, a lawyer from Port Vila, was the President of the country. On September 2, 2009, Iolu Abil was elected President of Vanuatu. Since September 22, 2014, Baldwin Lonsdale has been President. Following his sudden death on June 17, 2017, Esmon Simon became interim president. On July 6, Tallis Moses was elected president.

Executive power is in the hands of the Prime Minister of Vanuatu and the Council of Ministers. The Council of Ministers consists of the Prime Minister and other ministers, whose number must not exceed 1/4 of the total number of members of Parliament. The prime minister, who heads the government, is elected by a majority vote of the members of parliament at a regular session in the presence of ¾ of the deputies. The current prime minister of the country is Charlotte Salwai, the leader of the Namangi Auchi party. Ministers are appointed by the prime minister from among the deputies of parliament (they can also be removed from office by him. The Council of Ministers is collectively responsible to the country's parliament.

Judicial branch
Vanuatu's judicial system is represented by the Court of Appeal, the Supreme Court, the Magistrates' Courts and the Island Courts.

The Supreme Court of Vanuatu is the court of first instance in criminal and civil cases. It consists of the President of the Supreme Court and up to three other judges. The President of the Supreme Court is appointed by the President of Vanuatu after consultation with the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition. Only a person who has practiced in Vanuatu as a lawyer can become chairman. All other judges are also appointed by the president on the recommendation of the Judicial Service Commission.

Two or more Justices of the Supreme Court constitute the Court of Appeal. Most standard legal issues are decided by magistrates' courts.

The constitution also provides for the creation of village and island courts to deal with matters of customary law, including the resolution of land disputes.

Voting rights are vested in all citizens of Vanuatu who have reached the age of 18. Voting is optional. The Republic of Vanuatu is divided into 17 constituencies. Depending on the size of the constituency, there are from one to seven deputies.


Local government
In Vanuatu, customs still play an important role in the political life of the country. A manifestation of this is the national council of elders known as the Malvatu Mauri (Bisl. Malvatu Mauri). The National Council of Elders is a constitutional body composed of traditional chiefs elected by their peers who sit on district chiefs' councils. This council has general competence to discuss all matters related to the customs and traditions of the country and advises the government of Vanuatu in matters of culture and language. However, the council does not have any legislative power, but is an advisory body in cultural matters.

In addition to the national political structures, there are six provincial government councils in Vanuatu. Each council consists of several appointed and elected members. Provincial councils have the power to make laws (including taxation) within a particular province.

Political parties
Vanuatu does not have a well-established party system, and many existing parties lack an official ideology and political program. In many ways, the party system of Vanuatu is built on a linguistic difference: Anglophone parties (Vanuaku Party) and francophone parties (Union of Moderate Parties) are clearly distinguished. The number of political parties in Vanuatu is constantly growing. Parties that make it into parliament are often unable to form governments of power on their own and are forced to work with each other to form coalition governments.

The largest political parties are the Vanuaku Party (Party of Our Land, supports socialist economic policies), the National United Party (the social democratic party that enjoys the most support from English-speaking voters), the Union of Moderate Parties (the conservative party that enjoys the most support from French-speaking voters). voters).

Armed forces and police
There are no permanent armed forces in the Republic of Vanuatu. Nevertheless, in 2005 the republic had at its disposal 50,221 men of military age, of whom 33,837 were fit for military service.

The country also has a police force, which is divided into general police forces, mobile (English Vanuatu Mobile Force) and maritime groups (English Police Maritime Wing).

In 2004, 916 crimes were committed in the country (in 2000 - 1809). Of these: against the person of a person - 287, theft - 457, violation of public order - 108.

Foreign policy and international relations
The Republic of Vanuatu maintains diplomatic relations with more than 65 countries, including Russia. In addition, a visa-free regime has been established between the two countries. However, only Australia, China, New Zealand and France have their embassies, high commissioners or missions in the capital of this Pacific state, in the city of Port Vila. Diplomatic relations between the USSR and Vanuatu were established on June 30, 1986. In December 1991, the Russian Federation was recognized as the legal successor of the USSR. Ambassadors of Russia to the Commonwealth of Australia concurrently are ambassadors to the Republic of Vanuatu.

One of the priorities of the country's government is to maintain the economy. It is to promote the financial sector that Vanuatu has joined the Asian Development Bank, the International Bank, and the International Monetary Fund.

The country's government supports private enterprises, production cooperatives that provide employment for the population, and creates conditions for international investment.

Since 1980, Australia, the United Kingdom, New Zealand and France have been the main donor countries to the Vanuatu economy. Various international organizations also provide significant assistance to the country: the UN Economic and Social Council for Asia and the Pacific, the Asian Development Bank, and the EU.

The Republic of Vanuatu is a member of the UN, the Secretariat of the Pacific Community, the Forum of the Pacific Islands, the Commonwealth of Nations, Francophonie, African, Caribbean and Pacific countries and other international organizations.

At various times, various sources reported on the recognition in 2011 of the Republic of Vanuatu of Abkhazia as a sovereign state and the establishment of diplomatic relations with it, as well as the subsequent withdrawal of this recognition. On July 13, 2013, the Republic of Vanuatu established diplomatic and consular relations with Georgia and recognized its territorial integrity; it is possible that the previous decision to recognize the independence of Abkhazia was not withdrawn at the same time.



general characteristics
Vanuatu is an underdeveloped island agrarian state. According to a 2006 estimate, Vanuatu's GDP was $739 million, and GDP per capita, according to a 2003 estimate, was $2,900, making the country the third poorest nation in the Pacific. And since 1995, Vanuatu has been considered by the UN as one of the least developed countries in the world. At the same time, the country's literacy rate was 74%, and life expectancy at birth was only 63 years.

National economic growth in Vanuatu is very uneven. During the second half of the 1980s, GDP growth rates were slow, only in 1989 a significant acceleration was noted. However, by the end of the 1990s, economic growth had declined significantly, and in 2001 it had a negative indicator (-0.5%). In recent years, foreign economic assistance has begun to play a significant role, which amounts to 21% of the country's GDP. The very slow economic development of Vanuatu can be explained by several factors: the narrow profile of the economy, which is almost entirely based on agriculture; remoteness from the main world markets for the sale of products; shortage of minerals; high cost of transportation and frequent natural disasters. In addition, there is an acute shortage of skilled labor in the public and private sectors.

The main sector of the economy of Vanuatu is the state, giving up to 65% of the country's GDP; the share of agriculture - 25%, industry - 10%. Tourism is one of the dynamically developing sectors of the country's economy, which is the main source of foreign exchange earnings. However, until now, almost all tourism activity is concentrated in Port Vila. Most of the rural population is engaged in subsistence agriculture, which is characterized by limited cultivation of cash crops. The city of Port Vila also operates an offshore financial center.

According to the data of 2007, the inflation rate in the country was 2.7%.

Vanuatu is an agricultural country. In 2002, the agricultural sector provided up to 25% of the country's GDP, while 75% of Vanuatu's national exports were agricultural products, mainly copra (35% of all exports), beef, cocoa, palm oil and timber. Recently, an increasing place in the country's exports is occupied by an extract from the kava root. Of the 1.2 million hectares of land, 41% is cultivated. At the same time, up to 43% of all agricultural products are produced in subsistence farming, and up to 80% of the able-bodied population of Vanuatu is employed in it.

Livestock breeding, which provides up to 12% of the country's total GDP and up to 22% of national exports, is dominated by beef cattle breeding. The number of cattle is estimated at 140-150 thousand. The largest livestock holdings are located on the islands of Efate and Espiritu Santo. In 1992, most of the beef was exported to Japan, Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands, and since 1999 to Fiji.

In recent decades, significant changes have taken place in Vanuatu's agriculture. The plantation sector, which produces copra and cocoa, has suffered a decline, and smallholders have suffered greatly. At the same time, various pests and natural disasters cause significant harm to agriculture. Continued reliance on copra exports, coupled with a decline in cocoa production, is taking a toll on Vanuatu's economy.

The fishing industry, which provides an annual income of 25 million vatu to coastal communities, supplies the domestic market with 80 tons of fish per year; a small amount is exported. Trochus is also being cultivated (about 100 tons per year), which is exported, aquarium fish (mainly on the island of Efate).

The replenishment of the state budget is also carried out by issuing licenses to foreign vessels for the right to fish in the exclusive coastal economic zone. Tuna fishing has been carried out by Japanese, Taiwanese and Korean vessels since the mid-1950s.

In the International Shipping Register, as of 2001, 524 vessels sailed under the Vanuatu flag, 99 of which were fishing vessels. In general, these vessels annually catch 26 thousand tons of fish, of which 60% are in the waters of the Republic of Kiribati. In 1990, 400 Vanuatu citizens worked on Taiwanese and Korean ships, but by the end of the 1990s, this number had fallen to 120 people.



In 1999, Vanuatu had 1,070 km of highways. Of these, 256 km were paved. There is no railway transport in the republic.

The national carrier is Air Vanuatu, which operates both domestic and international flights to Auckland (two flights per week), Brisbane (three flights per week), Sydney (six flights per week), Noumea and Nadi. Other airlines flying to Vanuatu are Air Caledonie, Solomon Airlines, Pacific Blue and Air Pacific. In total, in 2007, 31 airports operated in the country, but only three of them had a hard-surfaced runway.

Most of the islands have public transport (the letter “B” on the license plates of buses), there are taxis (the letter “T” on the license plates). The largest ports in the country are Forari, Port Vila and Luganville.

A number of media, including AM and FM radio, the weekly newspaper Vanuatu Weekly, which is published in three languages ​​(English, French, Bislama) and a television channel (the only one in the country) broadcasting in the city of Port Vila, are under control government of Vanuatu. The state-run Radio Vanuatu, founded in 1966, also broadcasts in three languages. However, in addition to state-owned media, there are also private ones in the country: the independent daily newspaper Trading Post (published in English, the section of letters and sports news is in Bislama), a private weekly newspaper and other newspapers published by various political parties.

Vanuatu is connected by telegraph and telex links with Hong Kong, Paris, Noumea (New Caledonia) and Sydney (Australia). In 2005, there were 7,000 home phones and 12,700 mobile phones in use in the country. In 2004, 7,500 people used the Internet in Vanuatu. Since 2014, it has been connected to the Internet via a submarine cable, the satellite channel remains a backup channel.

Vanuatu's constitution guarantees freedom of speech and the press, but in practice opposition-owned media outlets often lose their licenses and close down.

Tourism is a rapidly growing sector of the economy (in 2000, tourism receipts accounted for up to 40% of Vanuatu's GDP). The share of the industrial sector in 2000 was only 10%. The main tourist centers are the island of Efate and the offshore islands, as well as Espiritu Santo.

The most popular types of recreation on the islands are diving, fishing in deep waters, spa treatments, weddings and honeymoons.

In 2001, 53,300 tourists visited the country, which is 4,000 less than in the previous year, when 57,591 people visited the country. One of the main reasons was the political instability in Vanuatu. However, tourist influx has increased in recent years as a result of the political crises in Fiji and the Solomon Islands. The country is mainly visited by tourists from Australia, New Zealand and New Caledonia. Approximately 50,000 people a year visit Vanuatu on a cruise.

Citizens of a number of countries, including the Russian Federation, do not need a visa to visit Vanuatu. The cost of a visa for citizens of those countries with which a visa-free regime has not been established is 2500 Vatu. The fee is payable upon arrival in the country in cash.

Foreign economic relations
In 2017, the volume of exports amounted to $207 million, imports - $244 million.

Main articles of foreign trade:
Exports: Whole frozen fish - 34% ($70.5 million), vessels - 34% ($70 million), copra - 8% ($17.2 million), shellfish ($8.18 million), and cocoa - beans, timber, coconut oil and other crop products.
Imports: Petroleum products ($38.8 million), poultry meat ($6.83 million), bakery products ($6.72 million), broadcast equipment ($6.13 million) and vehicles ($5.4 million).
The main trading partners for exports are Mauritania - 34%, Japan - 32% and the Philippines - 9%. The main import partners are China - 27%, Australia - 17%, Fiji - 13% and Malaysia - 9.4%

Monetary system and finance
The currency of Vanuatu is the Vatu, which was introduced in 1983 to replace the New Hebridean franc. There are 7 coins in circulation in denominations of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100 vatu (introduced in 1988), as well as 5 banknotes in denominations of 100, 200, 500, 1000 and 5000 vatu.

The 2001 budget had expenditures of VT 7,885 million and revenues of VT 6,887 million.

The largest item in the expenditure side of the budget is the cost of housing and communal services. Education spending in 2001 was vatu 1,932 million. The share of health care costs is 908 million Vatu. Among the revenues, the most important are receipts from taxes and duties, with direct taxes playing a decisive role.

An important source of replenishment of the country's budget are also postage stamps, which are of interest to philatelists from all over the world.

The domestic banking system of Vanuatu is represented by two foreign and two local banks. These banks are subject to supervision by the Reserve Bank of Vanuatu. In addition, 7 more foreign banks are registered in Vanuatu (until December 31, 2003, 29 more banks were registered in the country). After gaining independence, Vanuatu became a "fiscal oasis" and an international offshore center. However, due to the growing concern of several countries regarding the legalization of illegally obtained money in 2002, the government of Vanuatu increased control over the offshore sector.



A hallmark of Vanuatu's culture is its wide regional diversity. It is conventionally accepted to distinguish three cultural regions:
Northern region. It is characterized by two variations of the social and political society in which men and women can "buy" their social status. Chiefs in the northern islands secure their status through a system called nimangki (Bisl. nimangki), in which the chief must enlist the support of the spirits through sacrifices. The wealth and position of a person is determined by how many mats and boars he can sacrifice. The more a person can donate wild boars (in this case, the length of the fangs is estimated), the higher the position in society he occupies.
Central region. It is characterized by the Polynesian type of society, the supremacy of the hereditary leader over the entire class society, consisting of the nobility and community members. This type of society is found on the islands of Futuna, Ifira and in the village of Mele on the island of Efate.
South Region. The titles of leaders are given only to certain people. This status gives them the right to all the lands and possessions of other social groups.

Chiefs in Vanuatu are the guarantor of peace and justice. Their role in modern society is still very great: the word of the leader is the law.

music and dancing
A significant place in the life of Ni-Vanuatu is occupied by traditional music and dances, which are closely interconnected with each other. The most popular musical instrument is the tom-tom, a local variation of the slit drum or gong. Flutes are widely used. With the advent of Europeans on the islands, local residents began to use a number of foreign instruments. Each ceremony is usually accompanied by music. In the 1990s, a number of musical groups appeared in Vanuatu, and zouk, reggaeton became the most popular musical trends. Every year since 1996, the islands have hosted a six-day festival of contemporary music, Fest’Napua, in which a number of singers and groups from other countries of Oceania take part.

Traditional dances are very diverse. In some, the dancers play the roles of various spirits and mythological creatures, while using different masks (for example, made from banana fiber), costumes and hairstyles (for example, the rum dance on the island of Ambrim). The theme of other dances is hunting, life and death (for example, the current on the island of Tanna).

Other cultural heritage
From the point of view of archeology, the New Hebrides have been studied rather poorly, however, valuable archaeological artifacts have been preserved on a number of islands, such as megalithic structures on the island of Malekula. According to the Soviet scientist A. Kondratov, quite recently dolmens and menhirs were erected on the island, which were considered sacred among the islanders: on certain days the leader could hear the voices of the spirits of great ancestors in them. In general, the construction of such structures was associated with male rituals, they actually played a key role in establishing and maintaining asymmetric social relations between men and women, as well as between men of different ages.

The islands of Vanuatu (primarily the central and northern islands of the archipelago) are also known for their sand drawings, predominantly used in rituals and in various contexts. The artist, using one finger, draws continuous wavy lines in the sand (mostly along a guide grid) to create graceful, often symmetrical, compositions of geometric shapes. The drawings in the sand also serve as mnemonic diagrams that reflect the rituals, mythological representations of the islanders, legends and other traditional knowledge of the local people.

On a number of islands, wood and stone carving is widespread, and on the northern islands of the archipelago, coral carving.

Pentecost Island is the birthplace of extreme Vanuatuan rope jumping, which originated from a local ritual called naghol (bisl. naghol). Every year between April and June, the men of the island jump from high towers with their feet tied to a vine. According to local residents, this guarantees a good harvest of yams. Recently, it has also been a good source of income for the islanders: tourists pay a lot of money to see this spectacle.

Every three or four years, the famous three-day Nekowiar festival takes place on the island of Tanna, during which any wars between warring villages were forbidden in the past. During this holiday, residents give each other generous gifts, dance, decorate their faces with various masks and exotic makeup, drink a traditional intoxicating drink called “kava”, which is made from the roots of the lat plant. Piper methysticum. On the second day of the holiday, it is customary to perform the toka dance (Bisl. toka), followed by the sacrifice of wild boars and the exchange of gifts.



Vanuatu has its own national football team, and the country itself is a member of the Oceania Football Confederation and FIFA. The first international match with the participation of the Republic of Vanuatu football team took place on October 4, 1951, in which Vanuatu lost to the New Zealand team with a score of 0: 9 (this was the team's biggest defeat). Vanuatu's biggest victory was against the Republic of Kiribati on July 7, 2003 at the South Pacific Games in Fiji with a score of 18:0. In 1973, 2000 and 2002, the country finished fourth in the OFC Nations Cup. In the domestic football championship, the main tournament is the First Division, the 15-time champion of which was the Tafea club.

Rugby is very popular on the islands, as well as cricket. The country has its own national rugby team, which has been participating in international matches since December 1, 1966. The Vanuatu national team suffered the biggest defeat on August 20, 2005 from the national team of Papua New Guinea. The first cricket club on the islands was founded in 1945, and in 1978 the New Hebrides Cricket Association was formed (after independence, the Vanuatu Cricket Association).

The country has been participating in the Summer Olympic Games since 1988 (held in the capital of South Korea, Seoul). The country's National Olympic Committee was formed in 1987. In the entire history of its participation in the Olympic movement, the Republic of Vanuatu has not won a single medal, and the Olympic team was represented mainly in athletics. The country has never participated in the Winter Olympics.



January 1 New Year's Day
February 21 Father Lini Day
March 5 Custom Chief Day
Friday before Easter Good Friday Good Friday
the day after Easter Bright Monday Easter Monday
May 1 Labor Day
varies Ascension Day
July 24 Children's Day
July 30 Independence Day
August 15 Assumption Day
October 5 Constitution Day
November 29 National Unity Day
December 25 Christmas Day
December 26 Family Day Nation Wide


Mass media

There is a public broadcasting company SRTV (Société de Radiodiffusion et de Télévision de Vanuatu - "Vanuatu Broadcasting Corporation"), which includes Télévision Blong Vanuatu and Radio Vanuatu.


Social sphere

There are significant problems in the healthcare system in the country. While there were no reported cases of HIV or AIDS in Vanuatu as of 2000, according to the country's Ministry of Health, it is only a matter of time. Diseases such as diarrhea, acute respiratory infections, hepatitis B are widespread.

The capital of Vanuatu has a large number of diabetic patients, and their number exceeds the number of malaria patients. At the same time, skin diseases, tuberculosis, tropical fever, filariasis of the lymph nodes are widespread.

Despite the fact that measures are being actively taken to combat malaria, this disease remains one of the main problems in public health. However, already in 1999 and 2000, no deaths caused by this disease were recorded in Vanuatu.

Medical care in the country is provided by more than 94 hospitals, clinics and health centers, which are controlled by the Vanuatu Ministry of Health. The World Health Organization provides significant assistance.



The development of Vanuatu's national education system is hampered by several factors, the key of which are the diversity of languages ​​(60-100 local languages, two official languages ​​and one national language - Bislama) and a bilingual educational system (in English and French), inherited from the colonial period. In general, the quality of education in Vanuatu is very low. There are only 101 primary schools in the country, a significant part of which are located in hard-to-reach areas. In 2002, the total number of students in primary school was 37,470 and in secondary school 9,610. In many remote areas of Vanuatu, there is a severe shortage of teaching staff, appropriate equipment and furniture. The level of teaching is also relatively low in secondary schools and higher educational institutions.

Despite the fact that primary education in the country is free, many families with very low incomes are forced to spend heavily on transportation and other services directly related to education. Thus, in 1989, 74% of children aged 12 to 15 and 80% of those aged 16 to 17 had already left school. Not having received the qualifications that play a significant role in finding a good job, they joined the ranks of the unemployed.

Complete secondary education is provided at the English-speaking Malapoa College and the French Lycée Français in the city of Port Vila. Lower secondary education is also available at five English post-primary schools and three French mission schools. Local residents receive higher education mainly abroad (in Australia and New Zealand), although in Port Vila, for example, there is a campus of the University of the South Pacific, a College of Teachers, an Agricultural School and an Institute of Technology. In 2002, there were 2124 people with higher education and 2703 people with technical and vocational education living in the country.