The Government of Vanuatu, through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, International Cooperation and External Trade (MoFAICET), launched its first documented Foreign Policy Wednesday.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister responsible for Foreign Affairs, Matai Seremaiah, said this Foreign Policy aims to promote and develop specific areas, including promoting sovereignty and protecting national boundaries.

“We are committed to safeguarding Vanuatu’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. Resolving maritime boundaries, including our legitimate and historical claims over Matthew (Umaenupne) and Hunter (Leka) islands, remains a top priority,” DPM Seremaiah said.

He said enhancing prosperity and well-being is a key goal, with efforts focused on strengthening bilateral, regional, and international cooperation to expand trade relations, attract foreign investments, and foster sustainable economic growth for everyone.

Prime Minister Charlot Salwai described the launch as a historic occasion, unveiling the principles, goals, and objectives of Vanuatu to the world.

He highlighted the recent launch of the second edition of the National Ocean Policy and the first Marine Spatial Plan as significant national undertakings that will position Vanuatu favorably in the regional and global space.

“A foreign policy paper is essential for a country for several reasons,” PM Salwai said.

“It outlines international objectives and the strategies to achieve these objectives, providing clear direction for diplomatic efforts. It addresses how a country intends to protect its national interests, including foreign security threats, and details how it will engage in international trade, investments, and economic agreements to impact economic growth and stability. A foreign policy also explains how a country will manage international crises, conflicts, and humanitarian issues, helping to effectively respond to global challenges.”

Salwai added the Foreign Policy paper stands as Vanuatu’s connection to the outside world and all global citizens regarded as friends and partners.

“Through this lens, we believe that our commitment to human rights, democracy, good governance, and the rule of law will represent the essence of our relationships with our partners in the region and around the world,” he said.

As Vanuatu expands its global outreach, another significant aspect of its foreign policy is the traditional values of kava diplomacy, symbolising peace, unity, and respect.

“In a broader context, this policy places strong emphasis on regional and international cooperation,” Salwai continued.

“By working together with our Pacific neighbors and the international community, we can address global challenges more effectively, leading to peace and prosperity for everyone.

“Additionally, by building strong alliances, we can ensure that small island nations like Vanuatu have a voice in international forums. Vanuatu’s membership in organisations such as the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), G77 + China, the Commonwealth, the Francophonie Organisation, the United Nations (UN), the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group of States, and others will continue to remain relevant.”

DPM Seremaiah reaffirmed that Vanuatu is committed to tackling global issues through international cooperation.

“We will remain vocal advocates for climate action, sustainable development, human rights, and efforts towards decolonisation worldwide, with immediate attention to our region,” he said.

To advance foreign policy goals, Vanuatu will focus on proactive actions and strategic partnerships by strengthening relationships with key partners, enhancing economic partnerships, security collaborations, and cultural exchanges, and being active in regional organisations and multilateral platforms.

“Public engagement and awareness will be facilitated through the establishment of the Consultative Council on Foreign Relations, ensuring that foreign policy reflects the views and aspirations of the people”.

Seremaiah noted Vanuatu’s continued leadership on critical issues such as climate change, nuclear disarmament, and human rights, integrating these priorities into law and practice.

PM Salwai reiterated Vanuatu’s commitment to working closely with development partners and called on them to align their efforts with Vanuatu’s new foreign policy goals.

He expressed a desire to find a prosperous ground of partnership and sustain future relationships through collaborative efforts.

DPM Seremaiah concluded by stating that Vanuatu’s National Foreign Policy is a comprehensive and forward-thinking framework, intended to advance national interests and contribute to global well-being.

“With our values and principles, we aim to secure a resilient future for Vanuatu and its people. As the Father of our Independence wisely stated, ‘The community sense of living is both wise and practical,’ underscoring the necessity of cooperation and mutual respect among nations. Promoting unity and collaboration, our policy is essential for addressing global challenges and achieving sustainable development,” he said.

PM Salwai acknowledged the partnerships Vanuatu has established with all resident development partners, saying the newly launched Foreign Policy aims to elevate thinking and strengthen future collaborations.