Assessment of Development Needs and Capacity Constraints in Vanuatu

The Pacific's leaders and policymakers have come to realise that continued development is premised on addressing convergent economic, environmental and social challenges. The Pacific faces a number ofchallenges, with energy, food and financial shocks, persistent economic inequities, and climate and environmental issues having dramatic impacts throughout the region.Under business as usual, these challenges will threaten recent progress made in reducing poverty and improving livelihoods. Green growth offers a development model to mitigate these issues whilestrengthening economic growth and environmental protection. The green growth model is of particularrelevance to Vanuatu because of the importance of environmentally vulnerable sectors, such as tourism and agriculture, to economic development. Recalibrating economic growth with sustainable developmentobjectives may help build resilience in these sectors while opening new opportunities in other sectors for improving the livelihoods of people throughout Vanuatu.While many elements of the broader green growth model are relevant for Vanuatu, moving toward a Pacificmodel of growth is also essential. Small Island Developing States (SIDs) face unique and special challenges: they are environmentally and economically vulnerable, and their geography and lack of resources limitdevelopment opportunities. The report will also echo the calls that green growth in the region is also based on marine resources. The idea of a 'green economy in a blue world' was put forward by the Pacific toemphasise the importance of sustainably utilising the region’s considerable marine resources to achieve strong economic growth and environmental protection.The United Nations tasked the Pacific Institute of Public Policy (PiPP) to produce the report, with the aim of identifying opportunities and constraints to achieving green growth in Vanuatu. This is an important aim,especially because of the strong poverty reduction potential that green growth offers. But most importantly,because green growth offers practical and feasible solutions to a number of the economic, environmental and social challenges faced by Vanuatu, which many prior development models have espoused, but failed toachieve.This report will assist with building the foundations for this transition and provide ideas for how Vanuatu can maximise sustainable development opportunities while overcoming blockages. But most importantly,the report will be useful for the Pacific's preparations for the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20).The first Earth Summit held in Rio de Janeiro in 1992 gave rise to three key United Nations institutions for the advancement of sustainability: the Convention on Climate Change, the Convention on Biodiversity andsubsequently the Convention to Combat Desertification. The world will meet again this year to discusssustainable development at Rio+20, but with a renewed focus on green growth. The Rio+20 process, and theinternational community, can assist the Pacific by reaffirming financial assistance for the implementation of green growth and making progress on strengthening international management of the environment, inparticular the management of marine and coastal resources. In addition, Vanuatu and other countries of the Pacific can assist the international community in shifting to improved management of marine and coastalresources by sharing accumulated experience of managing the blue economy. 

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