Fiji has become the first country in the world to formally approve the UN climate deal agreed by 195 nations in Paris in December.
The island nation’s parliament unanimously agreed to ratify the Paris agreement on Friday, according to local news reports.
The motion was proposed by the country’s attorney general, Aiyaz Sayed Khaiyum. He told parliament that it would need to ratify the treaty ahead of a signing ceremony in April in New York, where Fiji’s prime minister, Voreqe Bainimarama, will formally sign the document on behalf of the country.
He said tackling climate change was a major priority for the archipelago, which could face wide-scale flooding, fiercer tropical storms, and depleting fish stocks as a result of the world’s changing climate.
The process marks the beginning of an expected wave of ratification votes as other countries prepare for their attendance at the New York ceremony.
In order to formally take effect, the Paris agreement needs at least 55 countries, representing at least 55% of the world’s climate emissions, to ratify the treaty. Observers are confident the milestone can be passed in time for the New York event, given all the world’s major economies expressed full support for the Paris agreement at last year’s summit in the French capital.
Under its national climate action plan, Fiji pledged to generate 100% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2030. It also promised to cut overall emissions from its energy sector by 30% by 2030 compared to business-as-usual, conditional on it receiving climate finance from industrialised nations.
Original post by Madeleine Cuff for BusinessGreen, part of the Guardian Environment Network, February 15, 2016