Vanuatu fighting for climate change action

VANUATU has sent a delegation of 22 experts to negotiate on the country’s behalf at COP22 in Marrakech.

These delegates come from the private sector, civil society organizations, development partners, regional agencies and the Government of Vanuatu and their aim is to ensure that all the country’s national interests benefit from the soon-to-be implemented Paris Agreement.

A spokesman for UNFCCC Vanuatu (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) said the UN Climate Conference is the platform where major breakthroughs for Vanuatu have happened, specifically in finance.

Vanuatu will lobby for over 100 million USD per year to flow from the Green Climate Fund to the private sector, civil society and government agencies to implement transformative climate action. It will also lobby to ensure maximum benefits for its people from the UN Loss & Damage mechanism to receive insurance payouts.

Vanuatu delegates from the private sector are demanding that cutting-edge technology for mitigation (solar/wind) and adaptation (food and water security) and capacity building support is accessible in a timely manner.

“The Paris Agreement became international law this week, in part because Vanuatu was one of the first Pacific Island nations to ratify the Paris Agreement,” said the spokesman.

“This means that COP22 in Morocco will also now serve as the first meeting of parties to the Paris Agreement.  Vanuatu’s negotiating partners, the Alliance of Small Island States, released the following statement on behalf of its members.

“The start of the Paris Agreement is a cause for celebration, but we must make sure we do not become complacent. In many ways, the hard work still lies ahead and history has shown that the same political momentum that brought the agreement into force within a year of its adoption can just as quickly shift toward other priorities.”

UNFCCC Vanuatu says climate change is seriously affecting Vanuatu and its people.

“The last few years have seen two of the most powerful category 5 cyclones devastate our islands, and saw the worst coral bleaching event affected Vanuatu’s coral reefs.  The El Nino drought resulted in thousands of people in Vanuatu being faced with food shortages.

“Because of greenhouse gas emissions, the world has already seen approximately one-degree Celsius of warming since pre-industrial times. That is why the world must work in earnest to ultimately limit future warming to only 1.5 degrees as agreed in Paris.”

Vanuatu, along with other Pacific Island countries, has submitted Nationally Determined Contributions, which state its climate solutions and goals.

“Unfortunately, the current NDCs from all countries are insufficient to cater for significant reductions in emissions and warming which would lead to catastrophic loss and damage for Vanuatu,” said the spkesman.

“At COP22 in Marrakech, the Vanuatu delegation will fight to transform pledges into action to ensure that vulnerable communities adapt to impacts that can no longer be avoided.

“The Paris Agreement is our generation’s best option thus far to avert the worst impacts of climate change.”

COP 22 in Marrakech runs until November 18. The Vanuatu delegation is led by the Minister for Climate Change, Ham Lini Vanuaroroa, Director General Jesse Benjamin and Parliamentary Special Envoy the Honorable Albert Williams.