Pacific SIDS continue to repeat the fact that to stay below a rise of 1.5°C, those countries most responsible must commit to a fossil fuel free future. Vanuatu, composed of 280,000 people spread over more than 80 islands, is among the many Pacific islands at the forefront of the urgent impacts of the climate crisis. However, Vanuatu itself is “carbon-negative” due largely to the coastal ecosystems which act as carbon sinks, and Vanuatu’s enhanced NDC is one of the first to place Loss and Damage as central to implementation of the Paris Agreement. After years of campaigning, Vanuatu’s leadership of a global coalition in the push for an Advisory Opinion on climate change in the International Court of Justice has finally been successful this week, with the UNGA adopting a historic resolution which Vanuatu Prime Minister Ishmael Kalsakau called “a win for climate justice of epic proportions”.

During a dialogue last week hosted by Vanuatu and Tuvalu with Ministers and officials from TongaFijiNiue, and the Solomon Islands, Pacific Leaders called for a “Fossil Fuel Free Pacific” with an equitable phase out of coal, oil, and gas production, leading the world towards an alliance negotiating a global treaty. The Prime Minister of Vanuatu emphasized the importance of the renewable transition, as “transitioning away from an extractive economy provides us with the opportunity to build one that is instead visionary, regenerative and fruitful.”

Vanuatu is also one the first countries to have authorized bankable carbon market initiatives under Article 6.2 of the Paris Agreement on cooperative approaches for emissions reductions. This bilateral climate mechanism on carbon payment includes Internationally Transferrable Mitigation Outcomes (ITMOs), which will allow climate mitigation in Vanuatu to count towards Switzerland’s NDCs, an innovative financial mechanism that can fund climate resilience and economic development in the island of Vanuatu. These funds will be directed towards increasing access to reliable and affordable electricity through renewable energy. UNDP has supported Vanuatu to design and implement projects through the Carbon Payment for Development facility, leveraging carbon markets for transparent and efficient private investment.


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