Vanuatu fighting at COP22 for Climate Change Action
The Ministry of Climate Change has assembled a delegation of 22 outstanding experts to negotiate on behalf of Vanuatu climate change support at the 22nd UN Climate Change Conference in Marrakech, Morocco from the 7th to the 18th of November 2016. These Vanuatu delegates come from the private sector, civil society organizations, development partners, regional agencies and the Government of Vanuatu to ensure that all our national interests, are benefitting from the soon-to-be implemented Paris Agreement.
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. Vanuatu 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 time bound 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. 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.”
There is no debate that climate change is seriously affecting Vanuatu and its people. The last few years has 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, have submitted Nationally Determined Contributions, which state our 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.
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.
Led by the Minister for Climate Change, the Honorable Ham Lini Vanuaroroa, as well as Director General Mr. Jesse Benjamin and Parliamentary Special Envoy the Honorable Albert Williams, there are many opportunities for Vanuatu to change the future of the planet at COP22.
The Paris Agreement is our generation’s best option thus far to avert the worst impacts of climate change.
The Government of Vanuatu is extremely grateful for our partners who have supported all delegates’ participation at this international meeting (at minimal cost to the Government of Vanuatu). Fiscal sponsors include the Government of Morocco, Government of Germany, Government of New Zealand, UNESCO, the UN Climate Convention, the Australia Bureau of Meteorology, UNDP, Pacific Advisory, the World Bank and USP’s Pacific Center for Environment and Sustainable Development.