Republic of Vanuatu National Adaptation Programme for Action (NAPA)
The Republic of Vanuatu ratified the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) on 09 March 1993, and submitted its Initial National Communication (INC) to the UNFCCC on 30 October 1999. Following the preparation of its INC, Vanuatu has initiated efforts to create an institutional set-up that seeks to mainstream climate change issues into the national legal frameworks. Moreover, its INC provides compelling evidence that, by global standards, Vanuatu is one of the nations most vulnerable to climate change and sea-level rise.
Ratification of the UNFCCC is one step forward in terms of commitment to addressing climate change and related issues. Vanuatu is also a Party to many other UN conventions, such as those, among others: biological diversity, biosafety, persistent organic pollutants, and combating desertification. The country has also ratified the Kyoto Protocol on 17 July 2001. The Seventh Conference of the Parties (COP 7) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) resolved to support the work programme for least developed countries (LDCs) to prepare and implement national adaptation programmes of action (NAPAs), including meeting the agreed full cost of preparing the NAPAs. The NAPAs were designed to communicate priority activities (including projects, integration into other activities, capacity building and policy reform) and address the urgent and immediate needs and concerns of LDCs relating to the adverse effects of climate change. The rationale for developing NAPAs was the low adaptive capacity of LDCs, which renders them in need of immediate and urgent support to help face the current and projected adverse effects of climate change. Activities proposed through NAPAs are those whose further delay could increase vulnerability, or lead to increased costs at a later stage. Vanuatu as an LDC was eligible for funding under this initiative.
The objective of the NAPA project for Vanuatu was to develop a country-wide programme of immediate and urgent project-based adaptation activities in priority sectors, in order to address the current and anticipated adverse effects of climate change, including extreme events. The project provided an opportunity to facilitate dialogue and consultations designed to identify and elaborate the immediate and urgent adaptation issues and appropriate activities, by conducting a comprehensive assessment of the available and necessary information on Vanuatu’s vulnerability to climate change and of the response measures and other activities needed to enhance the resilience of the most threatened parts of Vanuatu’s natural heritage, society and economy. Given Vanuatu’s vulnerability status with regards to climate change and sea-level rise,the NAPA also served as an avenue to raise awareness and understanding at all levels in society, with respect to vulnerability and adaptation issues of greatest significance to the country. The initiatives that were undertaken to identify and implement appropriate activities to be implemented in priority sectors, in order to enhance the resilience of Vanuatu to climate change (including extreme events), through adaptation, were identified and documented.
The project was executed by the Vanuatu National Meteorological Services (VNMS) and was overseen by the National Advisory Committee on Climate Change (NACCC). The NACCC is mandated by the Government to oversee the coordination of all climate change initiatives or programmes emanating from the UNFCCC processes including projects such as the Second National Communication, CBDAMPIC, the proposed PACC project and activities relating to the UNCCD and UNCBD,. This ensured the desired synergies with the NAPA project.
The prioritized project concepts under NAPA takes careful account of these ongoing and proposed activities, and ensures complementarity. In particular, sectors such as agriculture and forestry where there are ongoing activities by FAO, SPC,and other regional and international organizations, the proposed activities are designed to add on to the work, and essentially climate proof the development policies and plans.