Freeimages.com/Sebastian Szlasa

Fiji has become the first country in the world to formally approve the historic UN climate deal agreed by 195 nations in Paris this past December.

According to local news reports, the Pacific island nation’s parliament voted unanimously to ratify the Paris agreement on February 12. The motion to ratify the deal was brought to parliament by the country’s attorney general Aiyaz Sayed Khaiyum who sites tackling climate change as a major priority for the vulnerable country. Fiji’s prime minister, Voreqe Bainimarama, will formally sign the agreement on behalf of the country at a ceremony at the UN Headquarters in New York this April for Earth Day.

Despite contributing a mere 0.04% of global greenhouse gas emissions, Fiji is a frontline country for the effects of man-made climate change.  Fijians are already experiencing impacts such as eroding shorelines, large-scale flooding, depleted fish stock, reduced food production, and sea level rise.

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. As for ongoing adaptation initiatives, Fiji plans on the planting of mangroves, construction of seawalls and the relocation of communities to higher grounds.

The Paris Agreement needs at least 55 countries, representing 55% of global emissions, to ratify the treaty in order for it to fully take effect. Observers are confident the milestone can be passed in time for the April event as countries again prepare to act on climate on the world stage.

Read Fiji’s full national climate action plan here.