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Vanuatu launches revised action plan on climate change

Friday 12 August 2022 | Written by RNZ | Published in Regional, Vanuatu

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Vanuatu launches revised action plan on climate change
Le Lagoon Hotel in Port Vila where the Pacific Islands Forum Economic Ministers Meeting is being held Photo: Hilaire Bule

Vanuatu has launched its revised Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) at the Pacific Islands Forum Economic Ministers Meeting in Port Vila, where inadequate and inaccessible climate finances dominated discussions.

An NDC is a climate action plan to cut emissions and adapt to climate impacts. Each party to the Paris Agreement is required to establish an NDC and update it every five years.

Vanuatu's NDC acknowledges that finance to address loss and damage is insufficient, and calls for the establishment and rapid mobilisation of a Loss and Damage Finance Facility under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), to fill critical financial gaps experienced already by vulnerable communities.

It also aims to address loss and damage through constructive multilateral process and thereby avoid costly legal pathways.

In a statement, Vanuatu's Minister of Climate Change, Silas Bule, called for the establishment and rapid mobilisation of a Loss and Damage Finance Facility under UNFCCC.

Bule said that while developed countries had promised to mobilise at least $US100 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 NDC, expected to be financed by donor countries, is $US1.2 billion by 2030, with mitigation activities costing $US315 million, adaptation initiatives costing $US721 million, and the commencement of loss and damage initiatives starting at $US177 million.

Bule said Vanuatu's NDC sends a message that Vanuatu is serious about all parties taking transformative mitigation, adaptation and loss and damage action even though finance is still lacking.

"Vanuatu's NDC is unique in the world in that it directly includes commitments to address loss and 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 can every other countries," he said.

Vanuatu 'leading by example'

Director General of the Climate Change Ministry, Esline Garae, said the NDC launch on Friday shows that Vanuatu is a nation of action in the face of struggle.

"While Vanuatu appreciates that its emissions footprint is negligible at the global level, we are taking all necessary mitigation and adaptation actions and we are leading by example. 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.

Vanuatu is one of the lowest emitters of greenhouse gases in the world, yet it is one of the victims of climate change.

A key part of the Vanuatu Government'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.