Oxfam welcomes Australia’s commitment to join Vanuatu’s bid for an International Court of Justice (ICJ) climate change advisory opinion

Climate Change, Media Releases article written on the 02 Mar 2023

Oxfam welcomes today’s announcement that the Australian government has committed to co-sponsor Vanuatu’s bid for an International Court of Justice (ICJ) climate change advisory opinion, joining 105 other nations who have committed to co-sponsoring the resolution.

This commitment is a step-up for the Australian government, who had previously expressed support for Vanuatu’s initiative. It demonstrates a willingness to listen to Pacific Island voices, who have been driving the campaign to ensure an adequate global response to the human rights crisis caused by climate change, which is impacting most the people who have contributed the least to global emissions.

The news comes as tropical Cyclone Judy swept through Vanuatu, bringing heavy rain and destructive winds; requiring evacuations in some areas.

Oxfam, along with a global alliance of civil society groups in 130 countries, has been calling for the International Court of Justice to offer an advisory opinion to provide an international legal framework for those experiencing the worst of the climate crisis to affect broad, accelerated change.

The advisory opinion, though non-binding, will make clear the right of people and states, particularly small islands states, to a safe climate and the need for countries like Australia to match the ambition of the Paris Agreement and act hard and fast to tackle the climate emergency.

Vanuatu emits almost 22 times less greenhouse gases than Australia per capita. Despite this, climate change is an existential threat for the small island nation, facing climate extremes and slow onset events at an unprecedented rate and catastrophic loss and damage.

For interviews, contact Lucy Brown on 0478 190 099/ lucyb@oxfam.org.au