Last updated in September 2013
Diplomatic relations between Vanuatu and Germany were established on 22 April 1981. Bilateral relations are good and untroubled. The German Ambassador in Canberra/Australia is also accredited to Vanuatu.
In 2012, bilateral trade amounted to approximately EUR 0.482 million, with German imports from Vanuatu worth EUR 0.186 million and German exports to Vanuatu worth EUR 0.296 million, putting Vanuatu in 197th place among Germany’s foreign trading partners in terms of German imports and 214th place in terms of German exports.
Germany supports Vanuatu’s economic, social and cultural development, in particular through its substantial contributions to the European Union. The EU is the second biggest development aid donor in the region, after Australia, the partner countries being allocated funding for various projects and programmes in accordance with Country Strategy Papers. Under the 10th European Development Fund (EDF), a total of EUR 23.2 million has been earmarked for Vanuatu for the period 2008-2013. Priority areas of the 10th EDF in Vanuatu are supporting economic growth, developing human resources and providing macroeconomic support.
Vanuatu is also closely involved in German cooperation on climate policy with the countries of the South Pacific Region. In December 2009, Vanuatu’s then Prime Minister Edward Natapei attended a climate forum in Berlin at the invitation of Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel. Participants from Vanuatu were also present at the International Workshop on Seismology, Seismic Hazard and Tsunami Early Warning organized by the Potsdam-based German Research Centre for Geosciences in July 2010. Part of the project Adapting to Climate Change in the Pacific Island Region, which runs from 2009 to 2015 and is being conducted by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), is taking place in Vanuatu, where a local GIZ worker has been active since 2010. In addition, as part of the Federal Environment Ministry’s (BMU) International Climate Protection Initiative (IKI), EUR 2.3 million has been made available for the period 2009-2013 to fund a project to conserve and use mangrove forests for coastal protection in several South Pacific states including Vanuatu. Earlier, from 1994 to 2008, Germany supported the regional project Forest Management in Pacific Island States, as part of which the GIZ (at that time still called the GTZ) conducted a project on sustainable natural forest management funded by the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) and Vanuatu’s National Forestry Authority. In 2011, a further GIZ-initiated, BMU-funded regional project was launched in several countries including Vanuatu. The project promotes activities to conserve tropical forests as a contribution to climate protection.
In addition, the German Embassy in Canberra, which is also responsible for Vanuatu, is supporting a number of small-scale projects there, mostly in the education sector. In 2011 Germany provided support to purchase tanks to supply a school with water and in 2012 it subsidized the construction of bush clinics on remote islands.