Second National Communication to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)

The Republic of Vanuatu is an island nation located in the Western Pacific Ocean. The country is an
archipelago of over 80 islands stretching 1,300 kilometres from North to South. Vanuatu’s terrain is
mostly mountainous, with narrow coastal plains larger islands are characterised by rugged volcanic
peaks and tropical rainforests. Vanuatu is located in a seismically and volcanically active region and
has high exposure to geologic hazards, including volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, tsunamis and
Vanuatu’s climate is characterised by variable rainfall and high humidity, near-uniform temperatures
throughout the year, winds dominated by the south-easterly trade winds and the occurrence of tropical
cyclones during the southern-hemisphere summer. Vanuatu has two main seasons, hot and wet from
November to April, and cool and dry from May to October. Vanuatu’s latitude places it in the path of
tropical cyclones, and it is subject to cycles of El Nino and La Nina, which, respectively, increase the
risks of droughts and floods. Vanuatu is also vulnerable to anomalously long dry spells that coincide
with the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO).
Vanuatu’s total land area is about 12,336km2 with more than 36.1% (440,000 hectares) covered by
tropical forest. By 2006, about 4,800 hectares were covered with planted forests; about 3% of the midto
high forest (about 6,000 hectares) and 0.7% of the low forest (about1,400 hectares) are in protected
areas. Vanuatu has some 108 known species of amphibians, birds, mammals and reptiles and also
home to at least 870 species of vascular plants. The region is also rich in sea life, with more than 4,000
species of marine molluscs. Coral reef systems fringe most islands in Vanuatu; the Reef Islands are a
cluster of coral cays between Mota Lave and Ureparapara, in northern Vanuatu. Mangroves are also
an important part of the ecosystem of Vanuatu, including sea grass beds and other near-shore marine

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