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UNESCO: United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization




  • © UNESCO/Peter Coles
  • In the village of Lenaoloul in the hills of Tanna, men sitting around in the nakamal dancing place after a ceremony

Vanuatu joined UNESCO on 10 February 1994. The country is covered by the UNESCO Office in Apia, Samoa.

Located in the Pacific Ocean some 2,000 kilometres northeast of Sydney, the archipelago of Vanuatu has managed to preserve its unique and complex tradition of sand drawing. More than an indigenous artistic expression, this “writing” occurs in a wide range of ritual, contemplative and communicative contexts. This rich graphic tradition was proclaimed a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity in 2003. A safeguard plan has been established. Vanuatu and UNESCO also work together for the safeguarding of endangered languages.

Vanuatu is also working with UNESCO to enhance the role of indigenous knowledge in the country’s environmental management, notably through redesigning science curricula in schools.

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