Vanuatu submits crucial report to UNFCCC: What this means for a recently graduated Least Developed Country

May 4, 2021

Photo: UNDP

An essential report showcasing Vanuatu's progression and commitment in fulfilling its obligation as a Party to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), has been formally submitted. Vanuatu’s Third National Communication (TNC) provides an in-depth look at Vanuatu’s vulnerabilities and risks to climate change.

National Communications reports are submitted every four years, although flexibility is given to developing countries and Small Island Developing States (SIDS), such as Vanuatu, and it undergoes an international review and/or analysis. These national reports provide up-to-date information on a country's situation regarding current and future impacts of climate change, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, actions towards mitigation and adaptation to climate change, as well as any challenges and gaps that hinder the advancement and implementation of its mitigation and adaptation plans.

Through this report, Vanuatu collected information and acquired the tools needed to develop, monitor, and track policies that mitigate climate change and the measures needed to do so. The reporting process undertaken by Vanuatu was conducted in a collaborative manner with thematic working groups comprised of various experts from the public and private sectors, civil society, and communities. This process supports the integration of climate change considerations into a country’s social, economic, and environmental goals and actions. Without this critical process of data gathering, monitoring, and reporting, countries will not be able to achieve the political buy-in, have access to more support and finance, or move towards a highly resilient, low-carbon future.

Least Developed Countries (LDCs) are categorized as low-income countries with structural barriers that hinder their sustainable development.[1] Vanuatu, a Pacific Island nation that experiences frequent cyclones and other extreme weather events, and with severe economic and human development challenges, became the sixth country in the world to have graduated from the LDC status. This was in part due to years of careful and concerted efforts by government and businesses, strategic leadership and planning, aid, and international cooperation. This also means that Vanuatu will no longer be eligible for international support measures granted for LDCs but can serve as an opportunity for Vanuatu to attract more finance as other graduating countries have seen. When it comes to climate change, finance flows are essential to addressing the constraints of developing countries, especially Pacific island countries such as Vanuatu. Improved access to climate change funds means that Vanuatu can implement its national development agenda.

However, the Government of Vanuatu has been taking proactive steps and is committed to climate action through its National Sustainable Development Plan (NSDP) and National Energy Roadmap which sets a 100 percent clean energy target by 2030. It has also shown commitment towards its National Adaptation Programme of Action (NAPA), and National Climate Change and Disaster Risk Reduction Policy, among others. Furthermore, Vanuatu is strengthening its implementation of the Paris Agreement and limiting global temperature rise, while also urging for committed global action against climate change.

Vanuatu’s Third National Communication report was submitted on 22 March 2021, and can be accessed on the UNFCCC website.

The Global Support Programme (GSP) for National Communications (NCs) and Biennial Update Reports (BURs) provides support to developing countries, non-Annex I Parties as stated in the Paris Agreement, in order to prepare National Communications (NCs) and Biennial Update Reports (BURs) that are submitted to the UNFCCC. The Programme is jointly implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and funded by the Global Environment Facility.

[1] Least Developed Countries (LDCs) | Department of Economic and Social Affairs