Vanuatu

Photo by Goya Studio on Unsplash

The Pacific law firm Blue Ocean Law are leading a team of prominent international lawyers representing the Republic of Vanuatu in its initiative to request an advisory opinion on climate change from the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

The external counsel appointed by the Vanuata government include Lavanya Rajamani, Professor of International Environmental Law, Pierre-Marie Dupuy, Emeritus Professor at Panthéon-Assas University, Jennifer Robinson, barrister at Doughty Street Chambers, Australia, and Jorge Viñuales, Harold Samuel Professor of Law and Environmental Policy at Cambridge University.

Speaking of the initiative Julian Aguon, the founder of Blue Ocean Law, says:

As the most recent IPCC report makes clear, the window of opportunity to avoid climate catastrophe is rapidly closing. Without bold action, climate vulnerable countries like Vanuatu will face an onslaught of adverse impacts from coastal inundation, to loss of freshwater, to increasingly severe storms and cyclones. This situation is untenable, as the nation is already reeling from one Category 5 cyclone to another.

Margaretha Wewerinke-Singh, who co-leads the team from the Hague, explains the need for the initiative:

Climate change is the greatest crisis of our time. With forests burning, storms raging, and oceans acidifying, the planet’s natural systems are in free fall. For the past 30 years, Vanuatu has called for more ambition and equity in international climate change negotiations; however, the negotiations have struggled to deliver on these fronts. An advisory opinion from the World Court could help to rectify this failure.