Vanuatu National Adaptation Plan of Action
“By reducing the vulnerability of Vanuatu’s vital sectors and communities now to current climate-related risks should place the country in a better position to cope with future climate change and to build sustainable ni-Vanuatu communities. The ideal approach to adaptation in Vanuatu is a pro-active, no-regrets approach which encompasses measures and strategies which can be implemented in the present with the aim of reducing vulnerability in the future. A no-regrets approach is one which would be beneficial to Vanuatu even in the absence of climate and sea-level change.” His Excellency the President of the Republic of Vanuatu in opening the first National Conference on National Adaptation Programme of Action in January 2005.
Vanuatu is among countries in the Pacific region that are most vulnerable to the risks of climate change, climate variability and sea level rise. The livelihood of our people and economy which are interwoven, shaped and driven by climate sensitive sectors, the effect of climate and sea level change are already very real and pose a tangible threat to the future socio-economic well-being of Vanuatu.
The very diverse environment that once sustained our forefathers with great abundance and continues to play a central role in the livelihood of ni-Vanuatu has begun to change. Crops in subsistence gardens are showing signs of stress, prolonged and enhanced drought conditions are resulting in water shortages, rising sea levels are slowly eating away our shores, threatening communities and underground water sources, often the only source of water ( apart from rain water) in some of our small islands. Increasing population growth leading to increased pressure on land resources coupled with the shift in social values, land use practices and changing attitudes to the environment, increase the potential vulnerability of Vanuatu to climate change and sea level change.
Climate related disasters are one of the main hindrances to economic development in Vanuatu and this will certainly continue and could predictably be exacerbated by climate change. As expected, the degree and nature of vulnerability varies, in certain degrees between islands but the impacts would certainly be experienced in the livelihood of all people as well as climate sensitive sectors such as agriculture and livestock, coastal zones and reefs, water resources, health, forests and biodiversity.
Adaptation to climate change, variability and sea level change is an urgent need for Vanuatu. This report looks at those vital development sectors of Vanuatu and calls upon the government, communities, provincial authorities, non-government organizations and the private sector to strengthen capacity to deal with climate change, mainstream adaptation in national planning, modify policies and legislations where necessary to become more adaptation friendly, support the capacity for adaptation and implement measures to reduce vulnerability to climate change