Geographic and Governmental Profile of Vanuatu

Background
Multiple waves of colonizers, each speaking a distinct language, migrated to the New Hebrides in the millennia preceding European exploration in the 18th century. This settlement pattern accounts for the complex linguistic diversity found on the archipelago to this day. The British and French, who settled the New Hebrides in the 19th century, agreed in 1906 to an Anglo-French Condominium, which administered the islands until independence in 1980, when the new name of Vanuatu was adopted.
Location
Oceania, group of islands in the South Pacific Ocean, about three-quarters of the way from Hawaii to Australia
Geographic coordinates
16 00 S, 167 00 E
Continent / Subcontinent
Oceania
Area
total:
12,189 sq km
rank:
164
land:
12,189 sq km
water:
0 sq km
includes more than 80 islands, about 65 of which are inhabited
Area - comparative
slightly larger than Connecticut
Land boundaries
0 km
Coastline
2,528 km
Maritime claims
measured from claimed archipelagic baselines
territorial sea:
12 nm
contiguous zone:
24 nm
exclusive economic zone:
200 nm
continental shelf:
200 nm or to the edge of the continental margin
Climate
tropical; moderated by southeast trade winds from May to October; moderate rainfall from November to April; may be affected by cyclones from December to April
Terrain
mostly mountainous islands of volcanic origin; narrow coastal plains
Elevation extremes
lowest point:
Pacific Ocean 0 m
highest point:
Tabwemasana 1,877 m
Natural resources
manganese, hardwood forests, fish
Land use
arable land:
1.64%
permanent crops:
6.97%
other:
91.39% (2005)
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Irrigated land
NA
Natural hazards
tropical cyclones or typhoons (January to April); volcanic eruption on Aoba (Ambae) island began on 27 November 2005, volcanism also causes minor earthquakes; tsunamis
volcanism:
significant volcanic activity with multiple eruptions in recent years; Yasur (elev. 361 m), one of the world's most active volcanoes, has experienced continuous activity in recent centuries; other historically active volcanoes include, Aoba, Ambrym, Epi, Gaua, Kuwae, Lopevi, Suretamatai, and Traitor's Head
Environment - current issues
most of the population does not have access to a reliable supply of potable water; deforestation
Environment - international agreements
party to:
Antarctic-Marine Living Resources, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 94
signed, but not ratified:
none of the selected agreements
Geography - note
a Y-shaped chain of four main islands and 80 smaller islands; several of the islands have active volcanoes
Country name
conventional long form:
Republic of Vanuatu
conventional short form:
Vanuatu
local long form:
Ripablik blong Vanuatu
local short form:
Vanuatu
former:
New Hebrides
Government type
parliamentary republic
Capital
name:
Port-Vila (on Efate)
geographic coordinates:
17 44 S, 168 19 E
time difference:
UTC+11 (16 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
Administrative divisions
6 provinces; Malampa, Penama, Sanma, Shefa, Tafea, Torba
Independence
30 July 1980 (from France and the UK)
Constitution
30 July 1980
Legal system
mixed legal system of English common law, French law, and customary law
International law organization participation
has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; accepts ICCt jurisdiction
Suffrage
18 years of age; universal
Executive branch
chief of state:
President Iolu Johnson ABBIL (since 3 September 2009)
head of government:
Prime Minister Sato KILMAN (since 26 June 2011)
cabinet:
Council of Ministers appointed by the prime minister, responsible to parliament
elections:
president elected for a five-year term by an electoral college consisting of parliament and the presidents of the regional councils; election for president last held on 2 September 2009 (next to be held in 2014); following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party or majority coalition usually elected prime minister by parliament from among its members; election for prime minister last held on 26 June 2011 following a supreme court decision nullifying KILMAN's December 2010 election; KILMAN defeated Vohor SERGE 29 to 23 (next to be held following general elections in 2012)
election results:
Iolu Johnson ABBIL elected president, with 41 votes out of 58, on the third ballot on 2 September 2009
Legislative branch
unicameral Parliament (52 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms)
elections:
last held on 2 September 2008 (next to be held in 2012)
election results:
percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - VP 11, NUP 8, UMP 7, VRP 7, PPP 4, GC 2, MPP 1, NA 1, NAG 1, PAP 1, Shepherds Alliance 1, VFFP 1, VLP 1, VNP 1, VPRFP 1, and independent 4; note - political party associations are fluid
the National Council of Chiefs advises on matters of culture and language
Judicial branch
Supreme Court (chief justice is appointed by the president after consultation with the prime minister and the leader of the opposition, three other justices are appointed by the president on the advice of the Judicial Service Commission)
Political parties and leaders
Greens Confederation or GC [Moana CARCASSES]; Jon Frum Movement or JF [Song KEASPAI]; Melanesian Progressive Party or MPP [Barak SOPE]; Nagriamel movement or NAG [Havo MOLI]; Namangi Aute or NA [Paul TELUKLUK]; National United Party or NUP [Ham LINI]; People's Action Party or PAP [Peter VUTA]; People's Progressive Party or PPP [Sato KILMAN]; Shepherds Alliance Party [leader NA]; Union of Moderate Parties or UMP [Serge VOHOR]; Vanua'aku Pati (Our Land Party) or VP [Edward NATAPEI]; Vanuatu Family First Party or VFFP [Eta RORI]; Vanuatu Labor Party or VLP [Joshua KALSAKAU]; Vanuatu National Party or VNP [Issac HAMARILIU]; Vanuatu Republican Farmers Party or VPRFP [Jean RAVOU]; Vanuatu Republican Party or VRP [Maxime Carlot KORMAN]
Political pressure groups and leaders
NA
International organization participation
ACP, ADB, AOSIS, C, FAO, G-77, IBRD, ICAO, ICRM, IDA, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, IOC, ITU, ITUC, MIGA, NAM, OAS (observer), OIF, OPCW, PIF, Sparteca, SPC, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WMO, WTO (observer)
Diplomatic representation in the US
Vanuatu does not have an embassy in the US; it does, however, have a Permanent Mission to the UN
Diplomatic representation from the US
the US does not have an embassy in Vanuatu; the US ambassador to Papua New Guinea is accredited to Vanuatu
Flag description
two equal horizontal bands of red (top) and green with a black isosceles triangle (based on the hoist side) all separated by a black-edged yellow stripe in the shape of a horizontal Y (the two points of the Y face the hoist side and enclose the triangle); centered in the triangle is a boar's tusk encircling two crossed namele fern fronds, all in yellow; red represents the blood of boars and men, green the richness of the islands, and black the ni-Vanuatu people; the yellow Y-shape - which reflects the pattern of the islands in the Pacific Ocean - symbolizes the light of the Gospel spreading through the islands; the boar's tusk is a symbol of prosperity frequently worn as a pendant on the islands; the fern fronds represent peace
National symbol(s)
boar's tusk
National anthem
name:
"Yumi, Yumi, Yumi" (We, We, We)
lyrics/music:
Francois Vincent AYSSAV
adopted 1980, the anthem is written in Bislama, a Creole language that mixes Pidgin English and French
Data source 1: All Above textual data, maps and flags were extracted from The World Factbook which was prepared by the Central Intelligence Agency and made available on the following link: The World Factbook. Lebanese Economy Forum is not sponsered or affiliated, in any way, by the US Central Intelligence Agency
Data source 2: Plots and Charts are constructed using the world bank public data catalog which can be viewed by visiting the following link: World Bank Data Catalog. Lebanese Economy Forum is not sponsored or affiliated, in any way, by the worldbank

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