Vanuatu, Switzerland Sign Bilateral Agreement

A bilateral Agreement on climate change cooperation was signed on November 11, 2021 between Vanuatu and Switzerland on the side of the COP26 climate conference.

The signing was done virtually via Zoom between Minister of Climate Change, Energy, Environment Protection and Conservation, Meteorology & Geo-Hazards and Disaster Management, Bruno Leingkone and Member of the Swiss Federal Council, Simonetta Sommaruga.

Ms. Sommaruga said amid the COVID-pandemic and during the ongoing climate conference COP26, Vanuatu and Switzerland have demonstrated the commitment to combat climate change.

“Our engagement and determination send an important signal towards our countries’ engagement for a success here in Glasgow,” she said.

“The Agreement we sign today will benefit the global climate, as well as Vanuatu and Switzerland.

“The cooperation will lead to enhanced investments in climate action. It will contribute to sustainable development in Vanuatu, financed by Switzerland and will allow Switzerland to reduce more Greenhouse Gas Emissions than only through national measures as part of its Nationally Determined Contribution under the Paris Agreement.”

She said Switzerland is very pleased to have Vanuatu as partner in this journey, alongside Peru, Ghana, Senegal and Georgia.

“Together, I believe, we have designed a new quality for international carbon markets: one that avoids double counting and double claiming between any climate objectives, one that strengthens the social components and includes strong provisions for adherence to human rights, and one that allows synergies with domestic climate policies rather than competing with them,” the Swiss Federal Council member said during the virtual signing of the Agreement.

“In short, our cooperation will unlock mitigation action and social benefits that otherwise would not have happened.

“It is Switzerland’s intention to authorize this mitigation activity upon entry into force of the bilateral Agreement in early 2022.” In his remarks, Minister Leingkone said Vanuatu is a small developing nation with very low emissions at under 0.0016% of world emissions.

He said Vanuatu is also one of the most vulnerable to the effects of climate change and has much to lose, should the worst predictions from increased temperature levels eventuate.

As such, the minister said Vanuatu will do its best to mitigate but would require financial, technical and capacity building support to do so.

“This cooperation is a leap forward towards implementing mainly private sector driven low carbon initiatives in Vanuatu, contributing towards national sustainable development and goals under Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC), in turn contributing to staying below the 1.5-degree Celsius warming and moving towards the global goal of net zero emissions by 2050,” he said.

“The Ministry of Climate Change would like to thank UNDP for the continuous support to move towards achieving our climate goals through this historic bi-lateral agreement.

“Looking ahead, Vanuatu envisages to take forward the projects/programmes which qualify under the Article 6 of the Paris Agreement through the bi-lateral collaboration for transfer of Internationally Transferrable Mitigation Outcomes (ITMOs), that can stimulate investments into mitigation activities and NDC implementation.

“On this note, Vanuatu also requests support from Switzerland and UNDP to provide appropriate support for Vanuatu (technical, financial and capacity building) as part of wider Enabling environment for effective implementation of Article 6 in Vanuatu.”