Vanuatu: Announcement of ICJ Core Group of Nations (ICJ AO Initiative)

On 27 October 2022 the Republic of Vanuatu formally announced at the UN General Assembly the composition of the ICJ Core Group of Nations, which currently includes: Antigua & Barbuda, Bangladesh, Costa Rica, Germany, Liechtenstein, Federated States of Micronesia, Morocco, Mozambique, New Zealand, Portugal, Samoa, Singapore, Sierra Leone, Uganda, Viet Nam, and Vanuatu. The Core Group of Nations are producing a zero draft of a resolution to be put before the UN General Assembly requesting an Advisory Opinion from the International Court of Justice (ICJ) and builds on previously reported formal endorsements by the respective leaders of CARICOM, PIF & OACPS. Note, Antigua & Barbuda is a member of the ICJ Core Group of Nations, aligning with the previously reported support of COSIS for the Vanuatu ICJ Initiative.

The currently reported schedule by the Vanuatu ICJ Initiative notes a zero draft of the proposed UNGA Resolution will be made public by 14 November 2022, opened for informal negotiations by 21 November 2022 and tabled for a vote by the UNGA between December 2022-February 2023 (i.e. during 77th Session of UNGA). The current draft question is not detailed in the Joint Statement, the Vanuatu Press Release, or the Resolution Elements Summary (October 2022), but possibilities are noted:

An opinion of the International Court of Justice could, among other things:

  • Clarify the rights and obligations of States in respect of the adverse impacts of climate change on small island developing states and other climate vulnerable states, in particular, thereby facilitating international cooperation in this area;
  • Encourage States to reflect their highest possible level of ambition, in keeping with the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities in light of their different national circumstances, in preparing their NDCs under the Paris Agreement and supporting climate action;
  • Clarify the due diligence requirements relating to climate action for emitters of greenhouse gases– past, present and future, and
  • Clarify the implications for the human rights of present and future generations.
Vanuatu, Joint Statement on behalf of Core Group of Nations, UNGA, 27 October 2022.

For further information, note that UNEP also released its Emissions Gap Report 2022 on 27 October 2022. The executive summary (p. XVI) notes “Policies currently in place with no additional action are projected to result in global warming of 2.8°C over the twenty-first century. Implementation of unconditional and conditional NDC scenarios reduce this to 2.6°C and 2.4°C respectively”. The UNEP Press Release summarises “the international community is still falling far short of the Paris goals, with no credible pathway to 1.5°C in place”.

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