The Environmental Management and Conservation Act No. 12 as amended by The Environmental Management and Conservation (Amendment) Act No. 28
- Environmental impact assessments
- Bio-prospecting laws and community conservation areas (CCAs)
The Amendment Act makes a number of important changes directly relevant to climate change.It includes a definition of climate change ('a change of climate which is attributed directly or indirectly to human activity that alters the composition of the global atmosphere and which is in addition to natural climate variability observed over comparable time periods', page 3), adds the concept of ecosystem services and processes to the Act, and applies the precautionary principle to any decision made regarding the environment that may risk human health or threaten damage to the environment. It also specifies that any decision made under the terms of the Act must be guided by consideration of climate change adaptation and mitigation issues.
The Act requires that the director of the department responsible for the environment must include in their Environmental Registry a climate change database in joint co-ordination with the National Advisory Committee on Climate Change. It also requires that the National State of the Environment Report, published at least once every 10 years, must include a description of national climate change activities, impacts and issues. It requires that climatic considerations and issues be incorporated into any National Policy for the conservation, sustainable development and management of the environment. Further, it specifically identifies climate mitigation as a critical ecosystem service that may be provided by sites of national biodiversity significance and enables the Minister to make any regulations necessary to uphold Vanuatu's obligations under the UNFCCC for climate change adaptation and mitigation.
It establishes an Environmental Trust Fund, funded by penalties and bonds, which is to fund research, environmental rehabilitation, monitoring and analysis, management of community conservation areas, and as required for the protection and conservation of the environment.It also makes several amendments to enforcement provisions, environmental impact assessment procedures, bio-prospecting processes, and details of what constitutes an offence (and the associated punishments) under the 2002 Act.