Sabtu, 25 September 2021

Vanuatu asks International Court of Justice to weigh in on right to be protected from climate change - ABC News

Vanuatu is asking the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to issue an opinion on present and future generations' right to be protected from climate change. 

Vanuatu, with a population of some 280,000 people spread across roughly 80 islands, is among more than a dozen Pacific island nations facing rising sea levels and more regular storms that can wipe out much of their economies.

"In response to the catastrophic levels of climate change loss and damage faced by this small Pacific nation, Vanuatu recognises that current levels of action and support for vulnerable developing countries within multilateral mechanisms are insufficient," the government said in a statement on Saturday.

Vanuatu said it would route the initiative through the United Nations General Assembly.

This file photo from 2015 shows an abandoned house in the central Pacific island of Kiribati, partially submerged in seawater.
An abandoned house reclaimed by rising sea levels in the central Pacific island nation of Kiribati.(

Reuters: David Gray/File photo


While advisory opinions by the court are not legally binding, they carry legal weight and moral authority given its status as the highest UN court for disputes between states. 

Its opinions can inform the development of international law.

Ahead of November's COP26 UN climate talks in Scotland, Vanuatu will "drastically expand its diplomacy and advocacy" to build a coalition with fellow Pacific islands and other vulnerable nations, it said.

An Australian court got there first

In May this year, a group of Australian teenagers received a favourable ruling in a similar case, in which they tried to stop approval for extending a coal mine in New South Wales.

The application for their injunction was ultimately dismissed, but the Judge ruled that Environment Minister Sussan Ley did have a duty to young people not to exacerbate climate change.

Experts said the ruling set a global precedent and lawyers involved in the case said it was a global first.

Caleb Pollard, president of Pacific Islands Students Fighting Climate Change, said global responses so far were "mostly bandaid solutions that are in reality just buying more time and failing to provide actual meaningful change".


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2021-09-25 08:36:44Z

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