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Cook Islands makes historic submission to International Court on climate change

Thursday 9 May 2024 | Written by Supplied | Published in Economy, National

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Cook Islands makes historic submission to International Court on climate change
MFAI director of Treaties, Multilaterals and Oceans Division, Sandrina Thondoo and MFAI director of Pacific and Regional Affairs, Teuru Passfield delivered 31 copies of the 205-page submission to The Hague, Netherlands at 11.30am on Wednesday, March 20, 2024. MFAI/24050810

Cook Islands submitted its first ever statement to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on climate change, joining international efforts to shape the legal landscape on the issue.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Immigration (MFAI) says it remains engaged in the review of statements by other states and organisations relating to the ICJ proceedings for an advisory opinion on the question of the obligations of states in respect of climate change.

According to a statement released this week, MFAI director of Treaties, Multilaterals and Oceans Division, Sandrina Thondoo and MFAI director of Pacific and Regional Affairs, Teuru Passfield delivered 31 copies of the 205-page submission to The Hague, Netherlands at 11.30am on Wednesday, March 20, 2024.

It is the first ever submission to the ICJ – the highest international law court under the United Nations – the Cook Islands has made, joining 87 other states and authorised bodies that made submissions following the adoption of resolution 77/276 by the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in March 2023.

“While the Cook Islands initially intended to support the submission of Vanuatu, who were the key proponent of the draft resolution to UNGA, authorisation was granted by the ICJ in February for the Cook Islands to submit its own statement,” MFAI said.

“This ability to submit in own right enabled the experiences and perspectives of Cook Islanders to be documented in this global process, which aims to shape the legal landscape on climate change, highlighting different obligations of States in shouldering responsibility of climate change-related impacts. “

MFAI said preparing the submission was no small undertaking with its officials, over six weeks, working closely with Crown Law counsel Mariata Pitman and legal drafting undertaken by senior law lecturer Dylan Asafo with direction from MFAI, Crown Law and Climate Change Cook Islands.

MFAI Secretary Tepaeru Herrmann said: “The adoption by consensus at the 77th UN General Assembly is affirmation that nations are united in our collective commitment to abide by existing climate obligations under international law, and to successful international climate cooperation.”

“During the Cook Islands-hosted and chaired 52nd Pacific Islands Forum Leaders Meeting, Pacific Leaders encouraged all Pacific Island States to participate in the ICJ process, and we are very proud of the support we received nationally to do so.

“The input by local climate change experts, traditional leaders, youth, Government agencies, NGOs, as well as SPREP and SPC, was instrumental in enabling us to put together a Statement that reflects the climate change priorities of our ipukarea.

“It is imperative the Cook Islands participate in these global considerations of international law which have direct bearing on our circumstances, interests, and opportunities.”

MFAI wishes to thank all who contributed to these efforts, culminating in the in-person delivery of the Cook Islands submission to the ICJ. MFAI will continue to coordinate Cook Islands forward participation in this process in the coming months.

The ministry is still looking at what other countries and organisations are saying about the International Court of Justice (ICJ) case on climate change.

Comments

John Tierney on 11/05/2024

Sandrina & Teuru Is it possible to please receive the link or an email copy of our Climate Change submission Ka kite John Tierney Interim CEO Kia Orana Kai Natura Taokotai Ltd (KNT)

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