Vanuatu’s climate change advocacy efforts continue to gather momentum, most recently with the impassioned speech delivered to the UN General Assembly meeting on Saturday 24th September 2022 by Vanuatu’s President, Nikenike Vurobaravu, where he issued a call to fellow member nations to develop and commit to a fossil fuel non-proliferation treaty.
The proposed treaty would bear similarities to the existing nuclear non-proliferation treaty that many countries have signed up to over past decades and commit signatories to phase out the generation of greenhouse gasses in their economies.
Encouragingly Vanuatu’s near neighbour, New Zealand has joined many sub-national government entities and other Pacific nations in expressing “in principle” support. During a September bi-lateral meeting, Vanuatu’s wider climate change advocacy efforts were discussed and endorsed by New Zealand.
Hand in hand with its proposed Climate Treaty, Vanuatu is also leading an initiative to seek a UN referral to the International Court of Justice for an advisory opinion on whether governments have an obligation to protect the rights of future generations against the detrimental effects of climate change.
For a country that is seldom the subject of much media scrutiny, Vanuatu’s climate advocacy, has given the country a significant boost in its global profile – drawing attention to this carbon-negative, ecologically pristine and peaceful South Pacific island nation. With the entire world experiencing climate change effects in one way or another, it is telling that a traditionally unassertive member of the UN has stepped into the limelight to force the issue centre-stage in New York.