Jennifer Robinson instructed by Vanuatu to pursue advisory opinion on climate change from the International Court of Justice

Jennifer Robinson has been instructed by the Government of the Republic of Vanuatu and Blue Ocean Law in Guam to assist Vanuatu in its initiative to request an advisory opinion on climate change from the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

Vanuatu, an island nation in the South Pacific, has been a leader in the climate justice movement for decades. Last month, the country announced that it will seek an opinion from the International Court of Justice to clarify the legal obligations of all countries to prevent and redress the adverse effects of climate change. Blue Ocean Law is an international law firm based in Guam specializing in human and indigenous rights, self-determination, and environmental justice.

“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”, said Margaretha Wewerinke-Singh, who leads the international team from The Hague together with Julian Aguon of the Pacific law firm.

Ms Robinson joins the international counsel team including some of the world’s pre-eminent experts on international environmental law: Pierre-Marie Dupuy from France, Emeritus Professor at Panthéon-Assas University, Lavanya Rajamani from India, Professor of International Environmental Law at Oxford University and Jorge Viñuales from Argentina/Switzerland, Harold Samuel Professor of Law and Environmental Policy at Cambridge University.

Greenpeace International has launched an initiative to support Vanuatu, stating that an ICJ advisory opinion, “will be a monumental step forward in our collective fight to protect the rights of current and future generations from the impacts of climate change, and will move us closer to climate justice for the Pacific Islands and other regions on the frontlines of the fight against climate inaction.”

The press release from Blue Ocean Law can be found here. News coverage of Vanuatu’s initiative can be found here, here and here.

Ms Robinson recently hosted an event at Doughty Street on climate change and self-determination in the Pacific, which can be viewed here.