Climate Change Act, 2021 (Fiji)

In September 2021, the Parliament of Fiji passed the groundbreaking Climate Change Act, which provides a comprehensive framework using a "whole-of-economy" approach that will guide Fiji's response to climate change and help it progress toward its Nationally Determined Contributions. Drafted with ADB's assistance, the Act creates requirements and governance arrangements, as well as helps to implement the Paris Agreement. Fiji is the first Small Island Developing State to pass climate legislation inclusive of a net-zero emissions goal and the first globally to set out a legally recognized state-supported process for relocation of at-risk communities. The Government of Fiji describes the Act as "the world’s most comprehensive pieces of climate legislation, covering issues such as long-term net-zero commitments, carbon budgets, carbon market establishment, climate-induced human mobility, nature-based solutions, the legal recognition of maritime boundaries relative to sea level rise, climate finance and intergovernmental resilience building."

The objectives of this Act are to—

  • provide a framework by which Fiji can develop and implement clear and long term climate change measures and policies that will safeguard the future of Fiji and its people, ecosystems and biodiversity in the face of the climate emergency;
  • enable Fiji to meet its international obligations under the Convention and the Paris Agreement and to implement Fiji’s NDC;
  • facilitate the achievement of regional commitments and aspirations relating to climate change including the Suva Declaration on Climate Change;
  • establish institutional and governance structures for the implementation of this Act;
  • facilitate the evidence-based consideration of climate change issues in specified areas of government and private sector decision-making;
  • integrate the consideration of climate change projections, articulation of risk reduction responsibilities and formulation of resilience-building objectives across all sector plans and strategies;
  • provide for the development, implementation and review of the NCCP, NAP, National Ocean Policy and any other climate change policies;
  • establish a transparent framework for the monitoring, reporting and verification of anthropogenic emissions by sources and anthropogenic removals by sinks of greenhouse gases;
  • enhance government transparency and enable informed private and civil sector decision-making and risk management through the establishment of data management systems and the publicly accessible Information Platform that contains data relating to Fiji’s greenhouse gas emissions, climate change projections and vulnerability;
  • set a long term emissions reduction target and carbon budgets, and reduce Fiji’s greenhouse gas emissions consistently with the aim of achieving each carbon budget and the long term emissions reduction target; (k) provide for a strategic response to the climate emergency through the implementation, operation and administration of regulations, measures and actions that aim to reduce Fiji’s greenhouse gas emissions;
  • provide for the development of emissions reduction projects, programmes and activities and facilitate access to international carbon markets; 
  • provide for the implementation, operation and administration of regulations, measures and actions that build climate resilience and enhance adaptive capacity to the impacts of climate change, with respect to Fiji’s communities, built environment and ecosystems;
  • provide for the relocation of at-risk communities and safeguard their rights;
  • ensure that climate-related policies and measures adequately integrate consideration of oceans through safeguarding and enhancing the ability of oceans to respond to the adverse impacts of climate change and taking advantage of the mitigation potential of oceans;
  • safeguard Fiji’s national security and sovereignty including with respect to Fiji’s sovereignty over its maritime zones such as internal waters, archipelagic waters, territorial seas, contiguous zone and exclusive economic zone within the meaning of UNCLOS and in the alignment with the Declaration on Preserving Maritime Zones in the Face of Climate Change Related Sea Level Rise;
  • establish a framework for securing nationally and internationally derived finance for the implementation of this Act; and
  • require companies, managed investment schemes, the Fiji National Provident Fund Board, licensed financial institutions and the Reserve Bank to disclose the financial risks that climate change presents to their businesses and measures adopted to reduce these risks, and require company directors and the Fiji National Provident Fund Board to consider climate change risks to the extent that they present foreseeable opportunities or risks to the entity.