PACIFIC ISLANDS FORUM CHAIR
The Honourable Mark Brown, Prime Minister of the Cook Islands
new UN resolution requesting the ICJ to render an Advisory Opinion on the Obligations of States in Respect of Climate Change
March 29, 2023, Rarotonga — On behalf of the Pacific Islands Forum, I warmly welcome the adoption by the UN General Assembly of the UN Resolution on the Request for an advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice on the obligations of States in respect of climate change.
Its adoption by consensus and the widespread co-sponsorship of this resolution by two thirds of the UN membership is affirmation that nations are united in our collective commitment to abide by existing climate obligations under international law and to successful international climate cooperation.
Today marks a profound moment in the history of our Blue Pacific, and the world. It leaves the voice and leadership of the world’s most vulnerable nations in no doubt that there is an obligation of stewardship upon all nations to ensure this one Blue Planet will continue to sustain all peoples, today and into the future.
Coming in the wake of the IPCC report, we find ourselves faced with an incredible opportunity where both the highest level of the international legal order, and the highest global level of scientific analysis on the climate, are offering a way forward through the looming existential crisis.
The IPCC and the UN General Assembly have affirmed the dire reality confronting the world’s most vulnerable nation states.
I congratulate the Government of Vanuatu for spearheading this global initiative and for reaffirming the Pacific’s ongoing leadership on climate action, justice and advocacy at the international level. I also offer my congratulations to all countries who have co-sponsored this resolution at the UN – This is a win for all.
In parallel, the region meets this week in Fiji to discuss the legal implications arising from the inundation of a state’s entire land territory and what this might mean for statehood and sovereignty in relation to international law. The threat of sea-level rise and the erosion of our statehood are very real and present dangers we must face head-on.
As the world prepares for COP28, I strongly encourage the international community to enhance our collective momentum towards active and equitable transformation to renewable energy, and to continue advocating for stronger and more urgent and ambitious climate action now.
The Pacific’s success belongs to everyone. —ENDS
Photo: Pacific Islands Forum Chair, Cook Islands Prime Minister Mark Brown Image-credit: MFAI/Cook Islands
READ STATEMENTS AT THE UNGA MARCH 29 SESSION FROM UNSG GUTERRES, AUSTRALIA, FSM for PSIDs –chair- Palau, FIJI, MARSHALL ISLANDS, NEW ZEALAND, PAPUA NEW GUINEA, SAMOA, SOLOMON ISLANDS, TONGA for PIF -chair Cook Islands, TUVALU, and VANUATU