Vanuatu has a population of approximately 261,000 spread over a nation comprising of about 65 (out of 80) inhabited islands. A quarter of the population lives in the urban areas. About half of the population lives below the poverty line and this is particularly an issue in the peri-urban areas of Port Vila, Luganville and Santo. The main economic activities are agriculture and tourism which employ around 70% of the people in work. The country remains significantly dependent on aid.
Vanuatu faces issues of freshwater scarcity, waste management, and air and water pollution around centres of population. Poverty eradication and the development of sustainable livelihoods are priorities.
Local government plays an important role in providing services to local communities and in promoting the economic, social and environmental well-being of people now and in the future.
The Local Government structure comprises of six provincial governments, namely, Malampa, Penama, Sanma, Shefa, Tafea and Torba; and three urban municipalities – Port Vila, Santo and Lenakel.
At the LAAV, Presidents and Secretary Generals represent their respective provincial governments whilst the urban municipalities are represented by the Mayors and Town Clerks.
LAAV is committed to addressing these challenges to ensure that the roles and activities of local government are well understood by stakeholders and the wider community, and that the role of the local government association is acknowledge and supported.