GCCA thematic support programme for Vanuatu

At a glance

2012-11-01 to 2016-06-01
Completed programmes
Vanuatu Meteorological and Geohazards Dept, National Advisory Board on climate change and disaster risk reduction, World Bank
Total budget
5,70 M€
GCCA priority area(s)

The isolated location, small land area separated by vast oceans, and the attendant challenges and costs of providing basic services make Vanuatu, like all small island developing states, extremely vulnerable to the adverse impacts of climate change. A narrow economic base with a large subsistence agriculture sector compounds vulnerability. Sea level rise, the likely increase in the frequency and severity of extreme weather events, and increased variability in rainfall with an alternation of very dry and very wet periods, are among expected effects of climate change. Climate change is likely to impact all sectors especially agriculture, water, coastal and marine resources and tourism.

GCCA's action programme
Geographical scope
Country groups
Initial GCCA/GCCA+ contribution
3,200,000.00 €

Overall objective

Mainstream climate change adaptation and climate-related disaster risk reduction into core aspects of Vanuatu’s economy and resource management system.

Specific objective

The project purpose of GCCA-Vanuatu is to increase Vanuatu's capabilities to cope with the effects of climate change by improving its overall understanding of the effects of climate change and strengthening climate resilience and disaster risk reduction in key sectors in Vanuatu.


The GCCA-Vanuatu programme aimed to complete two main components:

  • Assisting the GoV in policy development on Climate Change
  • Strengthen resilience to climate and weather related risks which were identified in the NAPA-Vanuatu.


Planned activities included:

Component A (Policy development on CC)

  • Foster the integration of CC vulnerability into development plans and budgets (including the proposed EDF 10 focal interventions on general budget support (2010-2013) and productive sector development), and the capacity of enforcing environment-related laws.
  • Assist the GoV in strengthening its dialogue on CC with other partners, in participating to international forums, and in finalizing the ratification of international agreements.
  • Prepare the ground for the use of budget support for actions on CC.

Component B (Increase Resilience to Climate Change and Natural Hazards - IRCCNH)

  • Identify and promote traditional and improved farming practices to conserve soil moisture and nutrients, to reduce run-off and control soil erosion; rainwater harvesting; diversifying into agro-forestry with due regard to wider catchment management issues in particular to control flooding; and eventually waste management.
  • Develop early warning and monitoring systems to provide timely and relevant information to assist farmers in watershed areas to cope with flooding.
  • Scale-up successful practices such as roof water harvesting and storage to address water security issues in selected at-risk coastal communities.
  • Promote and develop wetland restoration, replanting coastal vegetation, forest and indigenous afforestation methods to reduce flooding, coastal erosion and the impact of storm surges.
  • Develop hazard risk mapping to demarcate high risk areas and specifically help coastal communities to avoid expansion of settlements into flood prone areas.

Achievements to date

Component A: Implemented through a Programme Estimate (PE) by the Vanuatu Meteorological and Geo-Hazards Department (VMGD). The PE came to an end on 23 January 2014, with only 47% of funds used. The PE was audited in September 2014. The initial value of the contract was EUR 800,000. Capacity issues to deal with EU procedures and regulations both in the VMGD and with the NAO are at the basis of the low rate of budget absorption.

  • Review and finalisation of CC policy: Due to the need for institutional and capacity development of the Ministry or Climate change, this process has suffered some delays. However, the Vanuatu Climate Change and Disaster Risk Reduction Policy 2016 – 2030 was approved and published in October 2015. The finalization of the policy has been financed under GCCA Component B.
  • Mainstreaming CC into sector policies: Sectoral workshop took place in second half of 2014 as part of the policy consultation. These meetings served to create awareness among government ministries.
  • Support participation of Vanuatu in international fora: Effective financing has been an issue post D+3.
  • Support National Advisory Board (NAB) to coordinate national CC and DRR activities.
  • Enhancing national awareness on CC vulnerability: National CC and vulnerability awareness is done throughout the implementation of the project.
  • CC Symposium.
  • Lesson learned-adaptation practice profiles.
  • Collecting data on agricultural sector adaptation practices:
  • Under component A, 6 staff were hired, vehicles and tools purchased.

Component B: The Administrative Agreement was signed with the World Bank in November 2012. Quaterly reports are produced by Project Management Unit and available for the EU. World Bank informs the EU of their in-country missions and shares pertinent mission reports. A first two-year reports accompanied with replenishment request has been submitted in February 2015.

Challenges and lessons learned
  • Developed early in time, prior to full finalisation of implementation structure within GOV which has caused some issues and led to the necessity to finalise an addendum to the Financing Agreement.
  • The biggest challenge has been a very limited capacity and availability of staff in the Climate Change Unit to start implementation of component A and produce the necessary documents to facilitate implementation (programme estimate).
  • Limited capacity has been reflected as well in the delay to finalise and implement the project funded through an Administration Agreement with the World Bank.
  • As a result, and due to misunderstanding of lack of awareness about EU rules/procedure, the GoV has been frustrated by the lack of progress.
  • Multiple departments/units are involved in the implementation of the Component B, making coordination and flow of information difficult, while risk of duplication exists. Project structures to be kept simple.
  • Lessons learned: unlike Paris/AAA would imply, it is still necessary to carefully consider in agreement with the government partner, the issue of technical assistance or capacity building and strengthening to ensure effective implementation.
  • Absorption capacity of the recipient government should be analysed further before pledging more funds on this topic. Unless technical assistance is provided there is a risk of not achieving the results foreseen.

“Urgent action is needed to avoid a genocidal impact on small island states. We cannot meet the challenges of climate change alone. The GCCA is necessary and will go a long way to assisting Vanuatu meet the challenges of climate change.”

Prime Minister Edward Natapei at the 4th edition of the EU Development Days, in October 2009, after signing the exchange of notes confirming GCCA support for Vanuatu (source: Vanuatu Daily Post).