Vanuatu releases a world leading NDC to the Climate Change Paris Agreement

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Vanuatu, one of the world’s most climate vulnerable countries, has today submitted one of the world’s most ambitious nationally determined contribution (NDC) commitments to the Paris Agreement on climate change.

At last year’s COP26 climate conference, the Glasgow Pact cover decision that mandates all countries to “revisit and strengthen” NDCs by the end of 2022.

So far only 12 countries have met this commitment, Vanuatu being the smallest and most climate vulnerable to date.

Already a climate negative country, Vanuatu is showing its ambition to go even further to mitigate climate change by phasing out fossil fuels almost entirely as well launching new initiatives around electric vehicles and energy efficiency.

Vanuatu commits to becoming 100 percent renewable by 2030 in its electricity generation sector.

This is one of the first NDCs that gives full and complete consideration to Loss & Damage, recognising it as central to implementation of the Paris Agreement alongside Mitigation and Adaptation. Unlike most NDCs that only focus on greenhouse gas emissions, Vanuatu’s revised and enhanced NDC is one of the world’s most sectorally comprehensive including commitments on gender, people with disabilities, indigenous people, climate justice, health, oceans, decentralisation, youth, and of course finance.

Vanuatu is doubling down on its global climate leadership in the face of a world moving closer towards a climate crisis. It sends a signal of hope and determination that if one of the world’s most vulnerable countries can be ambitious in meeting its obligations under International Law, so too can the world’s richest and most developed. The enhanced NDC
includes 20 Mitigation Targets, 116 Adaptation Targets and 12 Loss & Damage Targets, making this the world’s first NDC to have 78 percent of its commitments dedicated to Adaptation, Vanuatu’s top climate priority. Vanuatu’s NDC sends a message that Vanuatu is serious about all Parties taking transformative mitigation, adaptation and loss & damage action even though finance is still lacking.

Vanuatu is calling for the establishment and rapid mobilisation of a Loss and Damage Finance Facility under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to fill critical financial gaps experienced already by the world’s most vulnerable communities, and to address loss and damage. The proposed Facility will address loss and damage through constructive multilateral process and thereby avoid costly legal pathways.

Vanuatu’s new NDC was launched today at the Pacific Islands Forum Economic Ministers Meeting where the topics of inadequate climate finances dominated discussions. While developed countries had promised to mobilise at least US$100 billion per year by 2020 to fund climate change in developing countries, the latest analysis shows that this finance has not yet been met. The real costs of achieving Vanuatu’s Revised and Enhanced NDC, expected to be financed by donor countries, is US$ 1.2 billion by 2030, with Mitigation activities costing US$315 million, Adaptation initiatives costing US $721 million and the commencement of Loss & Damage initiatives starting at US$177 million.

A key part of the Government of Vanuatu’s climate leadership is the initiative to take climate change to the International Court of Justice for an Advisory Opinion. An Advisory Opinion would breathe new life into the Paris Agreement, clarifying international law around state’s obligations and could inspire more ambitious climate action around the world. Already more than 80 states from around the world are supporting Vanuatu’s call for greater legal clarity on climate change from the International Court of Justice, ahead of a vote at the United Nations General Assembly at its upcoming session.

Vanuatu’s Minister of Finance and Economic Management, Johnny Koanapo Rasou said: “Today Vanuatu is launching the world’s most ambitious Nationally Determined Contribution to the Paris Agreement, bringing us closer to the shared goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees, and demonstrating again that we are fully committed to the UN multilateral climate change process.”

“The global climate finance goals as set under the Paris Agreement have not been met. Developed nations must fulfill their 100 billion annual promises. There is no substitute for grant based public sector finance to address Loss & Damage.”

“At the upcoming COP27, the most vulnerable Pacific nations will be calling on the establishment of a Loss and Damage Finance Facility. Lack of loss and damage finance compounds the economic crisis, but equally importantly, it exacerbates the human rights crisis.”

Vanuatu’s Deputy Prime Minister, Ishmael Kalsakau said: “Every day Vanuatu suffers the consequences of the climate crisis. This is not a tomorrow problem; this is an emergency right now.”

“Coal, oil and gas are dead industries. Without government subsidies they would have died long ago. Let these dirty fuels stay in the ground. Renewable sources of energy are plentiful, create new jobs and will take our most remote island villages to a new level of energy security and access.”

“Unlocking obligations to increased flows of climate finance to implement NDCs is an important possible outcome of Vanuatu’s initiative to bring climate change to the International Court of Justice. We are not asking for compensation or reparations, rather global collective action that results in sustained, radical, and socially just cuts to emissions, now, not later.”

“Vanuatu believes in working together to solve this climate emergency, humanity’s greatest threat. We believe in the United Nations Paris Agreement. We believe in norms and rule of international law. And we firmly believe that our existing international laws and conventions already contain critical protections for human rights, and for the environment, and for supporting victims of climate harm”

Vanuatu’s Minister of Climate Change, Silas Bule Melve said: “Today, Vanuatu is one of the few countries to revise and enhance its NDC under the Glasgow Pact from COP26. This is the most ambitious NDC in the world including 148 commitments on lowering emissions, expanding adaptation and addressing loss & damage.”

“Vanuatu’s NDC is unique in the world in that it directly includes commitments to address Loss & Damage. We are stepping up again today and showing the world that if the most vulnerable nation on earth can commit to addressing loss and damage, so too can every other country.”

Vanuatu’s Director General of the Ministry of Climate Change, Esline Garaibiti said: “Climate ambition globally is inadequate. Emissions are rising as are the resulting climate impacts and suffering. Look no further than the La Nina we are now facing, or category 5 Cyclone Harold from which we are still recovering.”

“The climate crisis is a societal crisis, plunging our fragile planet and its vulnerable people into insurmountable and irreversible repercussions. But equally importantly, it is a Human Rights crisis that all States must act to solve.”

“Today Vanuatu will launch its revised and enhanced NDC, showing we are a nation of action in the face of struggle. We are world class climate leaders that despite our vulnerability, are acting with highest levels of ambition.”

“We expect that by enhancing our NDC now, it will further encourage countries to take ambitious climate actions that keep warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius,” she said.

SOURCE: PACNEWS/VANUATU GOVT