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ICJ extends deadline for climate change submissions

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United Nations (UN) member states and organisations have been given another two months deadline to submit written statements to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) for the advisory opinion on the obligations of states on climate change.

The original submission deadline set by ICJ was October 20, 2023. In July, Vanuatu together with 14 co-signatory States requested an extension of three months supported by the Commission of Small Island States on Climate Change and International Law and by Chile.

In August, the ICJ gave an extension until January 22, 2024.  ICJ also set April 22, 2024 as the time-limit which States and organisations to submit written comments on other written statements.

In a press conference last month, Minister of Climate Change Ralph Regenvanu conveyed that ICJ has again given a further two months’ extension to allow other States and organisations to compile their submissions and prepare for engagement in the proceedings.

He said the submissions are likely to begin mid of this year while the decision could be given next year.

Minister Regenvanu said Vanuatu’s submission is progressing well while other States have just started compiling theirs. He said the extension will help these States file the relevant submissions.

“We want a lot of Small Island States, intergovernmental organisations representing like the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) and the Pacific Community (SPC) to make submissions,” he said.

“Other States will be making submissions against our arguments. So we have to make a lot of submissions and witness statements. We are also preparing how to speak in Court. These submissions will build a stronger arguments,”

ICJ has authorised the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) and the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) to participate in the proceedings. The Organisation of African, Caribbean and the Pacific States, MSG, Forum Fisheries Agency, the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and the African Union have also been authorised to participate.

Led by Vanuatu and over 100 co-sponsors, the resolution seeking an advisory opinion from the world’s top court on the countries’ legal obligations on climate change was adopted by consensus at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in March last year.

Source: VDP

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Ralph Regenvanu

United Nations

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