Statement by Samoa on behalf of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) under Agenda Item 70: Report of the International Court of Justice

February 02, 2023 Isaia Lautasi Download PDF

Topic: Climate

Statement by Samoa on behalf of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) under
Agenda Item 70: Report of the International Court of Justice

Informal Discussions, Draft Resolution titled “Request for an advisory opinion of the
International Court of Justice on the obligations of States in respect of climate change”

Delivered by Isaia Lautasi
Permanent Mission of Samoa

Thursday, 2 February 2022

1. I have the honour to deliver this statement on behalf of the members of the Alliance
of Small Island States (AOSIS), the 39 small island developing States (SIDS) that
are specially affected by the multiple and intersecting effects of climate change.

2. This is the first time that AOSIS has spoken as a group on this draft resolution, and
it should highlight the importance that we attach to this issue and the support of
all 39 member states for this iteration of the Draft Resolution and the requested
Advisory Opinion from the International Court of Justice.

3. We would like to thank the students of the Pacific, our PSIDS colleagues and the
Core Group for their work to bring this resolution to this point.

4. SIDS, like other small states, depend on an international rules-based order to
ensure our rights and interests are respected. Central to this is a clear common
understanding between States about our collective and individual obligations to
each other, to future generations and to the international system.

5. That climate change becomes more devastating day by day, as our seas continue
their unprecedented and relentless rise, we have either failed to adopt
international law that operationalizes our individual obligations to prevent
transboundary harm, or the content of those obligations is unclear.

6. SIDS are working on multiple fronts—at the ILC, ITLOS and the UNFCCC—to
clarify these obligations. We see this Advisory Opinion as a key tool in ensuring
the stability, security, certainty, and predictability of international rules on climate

7. Today, I would like to speak on two elements of the preambular paragraphs that
we think are essential to this resolution.

8. The first is the necessity to reflect the growing body of human rights and
international human rights law in this resolution. The international response to
climate change and the obligations flowing from that are no longer simply
governed by the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. The pernicious
nature of climate change mean that many areas of our lives and many facets of our
international cooperation are impacted. Many of these areas already have existing
human rights obligations which should be considered by the ICJ in this Advisory

9. Second, at the root of much of our difficulties in implementing our existing climate
obligations and agreement is a lack of finance. SIDS, in particular, do not have
sufficient fiscal space to prioritize both responding to climate change and
sustainably developing. Quite honestly, we should not have to make that choice.
But the finance available to respond to a problem that we did not create is
insufficient. We think it entirely appropriate to highlight these obligations as well
to the ICJ.

10. Again, we thank the members of the Core Group for their work and for the open,
consultative and transparent approach taken in these informals. We look
forwarding to enthusiastically supporting this resolution when it comes to the
General Assembly for action.

11. I thank you

Sub Topic: Compliance


Meeting: COP27