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“We Need International Law to advance and strongly complement the UNFCCC”
Khulekani Magwaza, Executive Director of SAYCCC and WY4CJ Africa Front Coordinator, speaking at a panel discussion on prospects of International Court of Justice Advisory Opinion on Climate Change, on 21 June 2022, in the Hague, Netherlands.

"I believe in consequences, there is no way that there are people polluting this planet and only the vulnerable people have to pay the bill, there is no way that we can talk about something else except them facing consequences too. This is one of the reasons why we need a legal framework with teeth, the UNFCCC has been so slow and weak, the International Court of Justice Advisory Opinion will help us in that manner." These were the remarks by Khulekani Magwaza. He was speaking during a panel discussion at the Climate Change and International Law: The Promise of an Advisory Opinion from the International Court of Justice conference, it was held in the Hague, at the Peace Palace, the Netherlands on 20 and 21 July 2022.


In September 2021, the Vanuatu’s Prime Minister, Hon. Bob Loughman, formally launched a campaign for an Advisory Opinion on climate change from the ICJ. Vanuatu sees this initiative as an opportunity to clarify the legal obligations of all countries to prevent and redress the adverse effects of climate change, and to raise awareness about the impact of the climate crisis while also recognizing that climate change is disproportionately felt by persons in vulnerable situations, particularly those living in geographically vulnerable developing countries.

The conference brought together international legal scholars and practitioners, including advocates involved in climate litigation and stakeholders in emerging legal initiatives to address climate change through adjudication. The conference proceedings did not only provide fresh insight into the potential for the progressive development of international law in the face of climate change, it also provided normative and strategic guidance to ongoing and future legal initiatives to bring climate change before international courts and tribunals. 

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