Antigua, Tuvalu to seek justice over climate change damage


The Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda and the Prime Minister of Tuvalu today signed a historic accord allowing for litigation before international courts.

This move will allow for a legal path to address the severe damage to Small Island States caused by climate change.

The agreement establishes a Commission of Small Island States on Climate Change and International Law, creating a body for the development and implementation of fair and just global environmental norms and practices.

The Commission is also authorised to request advisory opinions from the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea on the legal responsibility of States for carbon emissions, marine pollution, and rising sea levels.

Membership in the Commission is open to all Small Island States whose leaders have long complained about the absence of effective mechanisms for States most responsible for climate change to compensate for the resulting loss and damage.

At the signing ceremony in Edinburgh, the Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda, Gaston Browne, explained that Small Island States’ emission of greenhouse gases is negligible.

However, he said they bear the overwhelming burden of its catastrophic effects, including persistent destruction, repeated costs of rebuilding and huge debts to finance resilience.

“This injustice must end. We insist that those States most responsible for this dire situation respect their legal obligations to stop global warming and to provide compensation to its victims,” he said.

The Prime Minister of Tuvalu, Kausea Natano, stressed that climate justice must be a matter of survival.

“Rising sea levels, extreme weather events, the decline of marine resources – these threaten our very existence,” he said.

According to Natano, it is time to put words into action, to save Small Island States, and to save the world from impending disaster.