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Wewerinke-Singh leads legal team supporting Vanuatu’s pursuit of advisory opinion on climate change

Vanuatu, an island nation in the South Pacific, announced last month that it will seek an opinion from the International Court of Justice to clarify the legal obligations of all countries to prevent and redress the adverse effects of climate change.

Margaretha Wewerinke-Singh, Assistant Professor at the Grotius Centre for International Legal Studies, leads Vanuatu’s legal team, along with Julian Aguon, the founder of Pacific law firm Blue Ocean Law.  

“Climate change is the greatest crisis of our time. With forests burning, storms raging, and oceans acidifying, the planet’s natural systems are in free fall,” says Margaretha Wewerinke-Singh. For the past 30 years, Vanuatu has called for more ambition and equity in international climate change negotiations; however, the negotiations have struggled to deliver on these fronts. An advisory opinion from the World Court could help to rectify this failure.”

Wewerinke-Singh and Aguon are joined by Pierre-Marie Dupuy, Emeritus Professor at Panthéon-Assas University, Lavanya Rajamani, Professor of International Environmental Law at Oxford University and Jorge Viñuales, Harold Samuel Professor of Law and Environmental Policy at Cambridge University. Blue Ocean Law attorneys Julie Hunter, Autumn Bordner, Kevin Chand and Melina Antoniadis are also part of the team.

The initiative is inspired by a campaign led by Pacific youth organisations, which advocate for a climate change opinion from the World Court focused on intergenerational equity and human rights. News coverage of Vanuatu’s initiative can be found here, here and here.

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