Bilateral and Multilateral Co-operation
The government of Vanuatu has focused on improving its economy with the intent to remove itself from the United Nation’s list of Least Developed Countries. However, despite significant efforts and progress, Vanuatu remains on the list due to its economic vulnerability as a result of the negative effect of regular, severe natural disasters on the stability of its agricultural production (2009). In keeping with its need for financial and technical assistance for economic development, Vanuatu has joined the Asian Development Bank, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the Agence de Cooperation Culturelle et Technique. Since 1980, Australia, the United Kingdom, France and New Zealand have provided the bulk of Vanuatu’s development aid. A number of other countries, including Japan, Canada, Germany and various multinational organisations, such as the Economic and Social Council for Asia and the Pacific, the UN Development Programme, the European Economic Community and the Commonwealth Development Corporation also provide developmental aid. In March 2006, the United States Millennium Challenge Corporation signed a five-year multi-million dollar agreement with Vanuatu with the goal to reduce poverty and increase incomes by stimulating economic activity in tourism and agriculture. Vanuatu retains a strong bilateral relationship with New Zealand and Australia, working with New Zealand’s Aid Programme (NZAID) on economic development and with the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID) on education, health and advocacy for women. Vanuatu is also a member of the United Nations and its related agencies, including the Group of 77, as well as the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF), Non-Aligned Movement and the Commonwealth.