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Vanuatu hopes for 'historic' UN climate resolution

2023-03-23T14:34:53.784Z


Vanuatu's climate minister hoped on Thursday for the adoption next week at the UN General Assembly of a "historic" resolution...


Vanuatu's climate minister on Thursday hoped for the adoption next week at the UN General Assembly of a "

historic

" resolution in the fight against climate change which seeks the opinion of the International Court of Justice on the "

obligations

" of States.

We are in

a state of national emergency

after being hit three weeks ago by two Category 4 cyclones in less than five days, an unprecedented weather event for us in line with what the science says,” Ralph said

. Regenvanu from the small Pacific state during an online press conference.

In this context, his initiative to request an opinion from the ICJ on the fight against climate change arrives on Wednesday March 29 before the UN General Assembly.

This resolution "

is a historic initiative to uphold international law, which aims to deal more comprehensively and more ambitiously with the climate emergency

", he added, anticipating a "

great moment of hope for all those of us hit by the devastation caused by climate change

”.

Specify the obligations incumbent on States

The text, which asks the UN judicial body to specify "

the obligations incumbent on States

" for the protection of the climate system, is already co-sponsored by 119 States.

It should therefore be adopted, unless surprised, by consensus as Vanuatu hopes, or by a majority vote.

While states' national commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions are not binding under the Paris Agreement, the resolution references other instruments, such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Man or the United Nations Convention on the Sea.

The Paris Agreement is an essential element of the international legal framework for climate action, but certainly not the only one (…) nor the most enforceable

”, commented the Minister, assuring that the resolution does not “

target any State , is not intended to blame, shame or seek judgment

”.

However, the text refers to the "

actions

" of States responsible for global warming and their "

obligations

" towards small island States as well as the peoples of today and future generations affected by the impacts.

The opinions of the ICJ are advisory but they carry significant legal and moral weight, and are often followed by courts around the world, increasingly seized by NGOs and citizens on climate issues.

The government of Vanuatu had launched this initiative in 2021, after a campaign started by students from the University of the South Pacific in Fiji in 2019. “It is encouraging

to see that the voice of youth is heard by our leaders

” , commented Cynthia Houniuhi, one of his students, president of the NGO Pacific Islands Students Fighting Climate Change (PISFCC).

Source: lefigaro

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