ICJ Resolution Champions



27/10/22 Port Vila, Vanuatu

The Republic of Vanuatu today formally announced on the floor of the UN General Assembly the core group of nations backing its bid for an Advisory Opinion from the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on the obligations of States under international law to protect the rights of present and future generations against the adverse effects of climate change.

Antigua & Barbuda, Costa Rica, Sierra Leone, Germany, Mozambique, Liechtenstein, Samoa, Micronesia, Bangladesh, Morocco, Singapore, Uganda, New Zealand, Vietnam, Portugal have been working closely with Vanuatu to develop the text of the UN Resolution building on formal endorsements from the Leaders of the Caribbean (CARICOM), the Pacific (PIF) and the Organization of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS). Today’s announcement is a significant milestone for international climate cooperation as the campaign now confirms formal support of key climate champions from among developed nations of the Global North.

“For too long we have waited for global leaders to take decisive action on climate change. To put words and treaties in to action. To fully implement the Paris Agreement. To protect our children and grandchildren. We can no longer afford to wait,” Vanuatu’s Special Envoy on Climate Change Bakoa Kaltongga said.

Today’s announcement also outlined the process for bringing a vote to the UN General Assembly that, with a simple majority in favour, will send the issue of climate change legal obligations for consideration by the World’s Highest Court.

With active cooperation among the core group underway, the zero draft will be available to the public by mid-November, and all UN member States will have the opportunity to make suggestions and feedback before it is put to a vote by the end of 2022.

The climate change Resolution to be introduced at the UN General Assembly poses a straightforward question to the International Court of Justice on climate justice and intergenerational equity. “We are asking the ICJ to clarify the legal consequences, based on existing international treaties and principles, for significantly harming the climate system – particularly in Small Island and Developing States and other developing nations which are already experiencing devastating climate impacts,” Mr Kaltongga said.

The UN’s General Assembly is the most representative international body and can, with a simple majority vote of just half the world’s nations, request the UN’s International Court of Justice to clarify international legal matters of global importance.

“Although not all States may be interested in clarifying how international treaties and principles can be applied to climate change action, for the world’s most vulnerable, this clarification including human rights and intergenerational equity considerations is long overdue,” Mr. Kaltongga said.

“Whilst Vanuatu has introduced the resolution, we are representing every citizen of every country. No one is immune to the effects of climate change, but neighbours in the Pacific, Africa and the Caribbean are suffering the most from it.

“We have committed to fully implementing the Paris Agreement, and we have contributed the least to carbon emissions but continue to see fundamental human rights violated as oceans rise, our land disappears and cyclones become more powerful and more deadly. The world must come together as one to respect existing international legal obligations and slow global warming.”

At the opening of the UN General Assembly in September, Vanuatu’s President Nikenike Vurobaravu told UN member States to expect this resolution which aims to put human rights at the centre of climate decisions. It is expected that the vote on the ICJ climate resolution will occur in New York soon after the closing of the COP27 Climate Conference.

“The time for slow and steady action has passed, we need the support of the global community and are calling on world leaders to hear our plea.”

For more information visit www.VanuatuICJ.com

Media inquiries: Tiffany Carroll, Vanuatu ICJ Media Advisor tcarroll@photogenicpr.com tel (AUS) +61417512233 or email VanuatuICJ@gmail.com

At this link (www.VanuatuICJ.com/resolution) you will find Resolution Elements which summarize the detailed formulation which will be released to the public in mid November 2022.