United Nations countries led by the island nation of Vanuatu on Wednesday passed what they call a historic resolution calling on the United Nations’ highest court to review countries’ legal obligations to curb warming and protect communities against climate catastrophes.
The resolution was passed unanimously and Vanuatu’s Prime Minister Ishmael Kalsakau called it “a victory for climate justice of epic proportions”.
The resolution now goes to the International Court of Justice to clarify the climate commitments and then initiate proceedings.
UN Secretary-General António Guterres said Wednesday he hoped the statement, if released, would encourage nations to “take the bolder and stronger climate action that our world so desperately needs.”
The initiative was led by Vanuatu, a country that has suffered from successive hurricanes Earlier this month and is also at Danger that the sea level will swallow parts of the island. Scientists say both extreme weather and sea levels have deteriorated due to climate change caused by burning fossil fuels. The resolution specifically asks the court to pay special attention to the damage to small island states.
Youth groups have also been involved in the effort, raising awareness of the need to protect the planet for current and future generations.
“I don’t want to show my kid a picture of my island one day. I want my child to experience the same environment and culture that I grew up in,” said Cynthia Houniuhi, a Solomon Islands native and president of Pacific Islands Students Fighting Climate Change, a group helping to get the resolution was involved in the General Assembly of the UNO. “The environment that supports us is crumbling before our eyes.”
The United Nations International Court of Justice is the world’s highest court and can give “an advisory opinion on any legal question” raised by states, said Nilufer Oral, director of the Center for International Law at the University of Singapore. While the statement is non-binding, it would encourage states to “actually go back and examine what they haven’t done and what they need to do” to address the climate emergency.
The countries have agreed on this to limit warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) with a cap of 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 F) as early as 2015 as part of the Paris Agreement. The agreement requires countries to submit their greenhouse gas mitigation plans to the United Nations and to regularly revise and update those plans.
clarifying these obligations for states, as well other promises to protect biodiversity and strengthening domestic policies are the key objectives of the report, said Ralph Regenvanu, Vanuatu’s climate minister.
“We are also aware that there are significant gaps in the existing international frameworks,” he said, adding that the advisory may push for stronger legal measures such as negotiations Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty or the criminalization of “climate-damaging activities”.
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Source : news.yahoo.com