Last updated in September 2014
Diplomatic relations between Vanuatu and Germany were established on 22 April 1981. Political relations between the two countries are friendly and untroubled. The German Ambassador in Canberra, Australia, is also accredited to Vanuatu.
In 2013, bilateral trade amounted to approximately EUR 0.7 million, with German imports from Vanuatu worth EUR 45,000 and German exports to Vanuatu worth EUR 0.67 million, putting Vanuatu in 213th place among Germany’s foreign trading partners in terms of German imports and 212th 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 11th European Development Fund (EDF), a total of EUR 31.3 million has been earmarked for Vanuatu for the period 2008 to 2013. The priority area of the 11th EDF in Vanuatu is developing and supporting agriculture.
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 organised by the Potsdam-based German Research Centre for Geosciences in July 2010. In 2010, 2011 and 2014, staff from Vanuatu’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs took part in a four-week training course for diplomats in Berlin at the invitation of the Federal Foreign Office.
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 Initiative (IKI), EUR 2.3 million was made available for the period 2009 to 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, another 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 2012 and 2013, it subsidised the construction of bush clinics on remote islands.