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UN General Assembly backs landmark request for an ICJ opinion on climate change

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(Press release) Permanent Mission of St. Kitts and Nevis to the UN, New York, March 28, 2023 – Reacting to a UN General Assembly decision requesting that the International Court of Justice (ICJ) provide an authoritative opinion on states’ obligations and responsibilities surrounding climate change, H.E. Ambassador Nerys Dockery, St. Kitts and Nevis’ UN Permanent Representative to the United Nations said:

“Today marks another historic moment in the fight for climate justice. Just about three weeks ago, we saw the agreement on the landmark legally-binding international Treaty on the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity in the high seas. The adoption of the Resolution today is a major achievement that will allow the ICJ to provide clarity on how existing international law, especially human rights and environmental legislation, can be applied to strengthen action on climate change.

“The moment was made even greater by the consensual adoption by a united General Assembly that chose to stand up for the millions around the world, especially those who live in small island developing states, for whom climate change poses an existential threat.

“I salute Vanuatu, in particular, for its intrepid and tenacious advocacy to garner support for the resolution and the youth activists in the Pacific Islands who initiated this urgent call in the fight for redistributive justice and the protection of the human rights of future generations.

“The ICJ can now choose to provide a robust advisory opinion that will offer much-needed clarity on state obligations and spur action that will help mitigate the causes and consequences of the damage done to the climate and ultimately protect people and the environment globally.

“I am very proud that St. Kitts and Nevis can be counted among the 130 countries that endorsed and co-sponsored the resolution. It is my hope that the advisory opinion will add impetus and commitment to addressing the impacts of global warming.”

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