International Court of Justice to take steps against global warming

At tail-end of four-year advocacy campaign, UN says the ICJ will offer its opinion on how countries are obligated to act to combat climate change
News Agencies|
The UN’s General Assembly adopted a "historic" decision on Wednesday, according to which the International Court of Justice will share its opinions on what countries are obligated to do in the fight against global warming.
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"Together, you are rewriting history," said UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, who believes that the opinion of the UN's judicial body will help world leaders act with courage and meaningful environmental impact, as required to protect the earth.
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Strom in Vanuatu
Strom in Vanuatu
Strom in Vanuatu
(Photo: Reuters)
The historic decision, which seeks an advisory opinion from the International Court of Justice, comes after a four-year campaign launched by Vanuatu - a small island nation in the southwestern Pacific Ocean that could disappear if sea levels continue to rise due to global warming caused by melting ice sheets.
The initiative was first started by law students from the small country who want the international legal system to provide climate justice.
Vanuatu’s prime minister, Ishmael Kalsakau, stated that the decision taken at the UN and the advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice "will have a strong and positive impact on how we address climate change and protect current and future generations."
Before the vote, he added: "Together, we’ll send a clear message that on this day, the representatives at the UN, acting through their governments, have decided to set aside their differences and work together to confront our pressing challenge."
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(Photo: Shutterstock)
The court’s opinion will not be binding in any area of jurisdiction, but it can support future negotiations on climate change by clarifying the financial commitments that countries have in fighting it, assisting countries in changing and improving their national climate plans submitted under the Paris Agreement, as well as strengthening domestic policies and legislation.
"Such an opinion will assist the General Assembly, the UN, and member states in taking bolder and stronger climate action that our world so desperately needs," Guterres said.
Before the vote, diplomats from Vanuatu were still trying to win support from China and the United States, or persuade both countries that the countries, the biggest producers of greenhouse gases, should not oppose the move.
Vanuatu and other vulnerable countries are already grappling with the potent effects of global warming. The island nation in the South Pacific has been hit by powerful cyclones, which have intensified due to climate change.
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