The Pacific island nation's Prime Minister, Bob Loughman, explained that rising sea levels and severe weather are disproportionately affecting the region, to which he added the presence of two devastating tropical cyclones and a severe drought in the last decade.
The Earth is already too hot and unsafe and we are in danger now, not just in the future, Loughman said.
Parliament unanimously supported the motion, which follows similar statements from dozens of countries, including the United Kingdom, Canada and its South Pacific neighbor Fiji.
Vanuatu National News
Vanuatu’s parliament has declared a climate emergency with the low-lying island nation’s prime minister flagging a $1.2bn cost to cushion global warming’s impacts on his tiny Pacific country.
According to Longman, Vanuatu's responsibility is to press responsible nations to take action commensurate with the size and urgency of the crisis.
The statement was part of a climate diplomacy push ahead of a United Nations vote on Port Vila's request for the International Court of Justice to act to protect vulnerable nations from climate change.
Separately, this week, Australia's new foreign minister, Penny Wong, used a trip to Fiji to promise Pacific nations a reboot of climate policy after a "lost decade" under conservative rule.
"We will end the climate wars in our country; this is a different Australian government and a different Australia. And we will stand shoulder to shoulder with you, our Pacific family, in response to this crisis," Wong told a Pacific Island Forum event.