The chain of islands is one of more than a dozen Pacific island nations facing rising sea levels and more regular storms that could destroy their economies.
Vanuatu is asking the International Court of Justice to issue an opinion on the rights of present and future generations to be protected from the adverse effects of climate change.
Vanuatu, with a population of about 280,000 people spread across 80 islands, is one of more than a dozen Pacific island nations facing rising sea levels and more regular storms that could wipe out most of their economies.
“In response to the devastating levels of climate change damage and damage faced by this small Pacific nation, Vanuatu recognizes the current levels of action and support for vulnerable developing countries within the multilateral system,” the government said in a statement on Saturday. are insufficient.”
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Vanuatu said it would take the initiative through the United Nations General Assembly.
While advisory opinions are not legally binding by the court, they carry legal weight and moral authority, which has been granted the status of the United Nations’ highest court for disputes between states. Its opinion can inform the development of international law.
Ahead of November’s COP26 UN climate talks in Scotland, Vanuatu will “considerably expand its diplomacy and advocacy” to forge alliances with fellow Pacific Islanders and other vulnerable countries, it said.
Caleb Pollard, president of Pacific Islands Students Fighting Climate Change, said global responses so far have been “mostly ‘band-aid’ solutions that are really just buying more time and failing to provide real meaningful change.”
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“We must address the crisis by systematically targeting the root causes of one of the greatest and most imminent threats facing us today,” Pollard said in a statement.