OACPS to support Vanuatu draft resolution on climate justice

Vanuatu delegates at COP27

The 76 member states of the Organisation of the African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS) have indicated that it will support Vanuatu’s climate campaign to seek an advisory opinion from the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to protect the rights of people against the adverse effects of climate change.

OACPS Secretary General, Georges Rebelo Chikoti told PACNEWS in Luanda that Vanuatu’s climate change initiative is very important to member states, including the Pacific.

“Indeed, climate change is one of the areas that affect most countries, not only does it affect the island states of the Caribbean and the Pacific, but climate change also affects seriously some of the countries in this region through droughts and sometimes floods that destroy property.

“Indeed, other OACPs all member states are supporting the initiative of Vanuatu. Why, because it is indeed important that we have the International Court of Justice to support or have an opinion on that initiative, but as well, to make sure that the resolution that will come through the UN that will respond to the expectations of the peoples of our states, particularly the island states, like others in the Pacific,” Chikoti said in response to PACNEWS question during a press conference in Luanda.

Last week, Vanuatu, published a draft UN resolution requesting an advisory opinion from (ICJ) on states’ legal obligation for climate action and the consequences of causing harm.

While the court, which is the UN’s main judiciary arm, has no binding authority, its opinion could inform lawsuits around the world and strengthen vulnerable countries’ position in international negotiations.

The draft resolution aims to establish the legal avenues for climate justice for present and future generations. It was prepared with a broad coalition of 17 countries, including Angola, Bangladesh, Germany, Mozambique, New Zealand, Portugal and Vietnam and a number of small island states.

“So, we do believe that this initiative at the OACP level, it is supported. And as far as I know, I was informed that up to eighty-six members of the UN are able to be to support this resolution.

“We should congratulate this initiative from Vanuatu and we also hope that the resolution of the UN will come out favourable responding to the expectations of the people of the OACP and particularly the small island states” said SG Chikoti.

More than 100 countries have indicated they will support the resolution – over the simple majority threshold of countries needed to give the ICJ a mandate in a vote at the UN general assembly.

Vanuatu’s president Nikenike Vurobaravu used the COP27 climate summit in Sharm el-Sheikh last month to consolidate support for the initiative.

Vanuatu’s permanent mission to the United Nations said it will begin consultations with other member states over the next few weeks, with a vote expected early 2023.

One of the key targets is the European Union which the core group of backers hopes will formally endorse the resolution. Vanuatu is seeking the support of members of the 76 members of OACP during this week’s   Summit of OACPS Heads of State and Government in Angola.