Antigua and Barbuda file historic case before the international tribunal of the law of the sea

Browne at sea



The Co-Chairs of the Commission of Small Island States on Climate Change and International Law (COSIS), Prime Minister Gaston Browne of Antigua and Barbuda and Prime Minister Kausea Natano of Tuvalu, submitted a request for an Advisory Opinion today to the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) on the obligation of States under the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) to protect and preserve the marine environment in relation to climate change impacts, including ocean warming, sea level rise, and ocean acidification.


This historic proceeding before ITLOS is the first inter-State case addressing the international legal obligations of States with regard to climate change.


The request to ITLOS is complementary to and in support of the initiative of Vanuatu, to have the UN General Assembly request an Advisory Opinion on climate change from the International Court of Justice (ICJ).


It is anticipated that ITLOS will schedule the filing of written pleadings and a hearing in 2023, in which all States Parties to UNCLOS as well as international organizations will be able to participate.


Prime Minister Browne stated that “This is a historic step for Small Island States, to invoke international law in the effort to ensure that the major polluters take their obligations seriously, to prevent harm to vulnerable states or to compensate them for damage. Our peoples are already feeling the catastrophic consequences of climate change. We cannot continue business as usual.”


Prime Minister Natano remarked that “If humankind does not act with urgency, some of our island nations will disappear under the sea within a generation. Protection of the marine environment is a matter of survival. Greenhouse gas emissions should not be treated less seriously than other forms of pollution. If anything, they require even greater urgency and a commitment to respect existing principles of international law.”


COSIS is assisted by a Committee of Legal Experts consisting of 14 distinguished jurists from around the world. The Agreement establishing COSIS was signed at COP26 on October 31st, 2021, in Edinburgh. T


The current members are Antigua and Barbuda, Tuvalu, Palau, Niue, Vanuatu, and Saint Lucia.

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  1. That and Mt. Everest is the same, they nar go no way. Why don’t he take PV Energy to court for the batteries to make the solar farms operational, instead of being derelict? That would assist in using less fossils fuel.
    Why don’t he do something about all the Japanese old cars being dumped in antigua that would eventually affect the environment? The free duty free to import these old cars, can be used for other means.

  2. So “The Piece of You know What” is wearing BLUE at sea and not his usual Gestapo RED..
    Greenhouse gas emissions should not be treated less seriously than other forms of pollution well…….. is that so.?
    So why is solar illegal when dirty gas with over 550 PPM of high Sulphur being sold at petrol stations
    If two men walk into a store and steal One man steal 5 loaves of bread the other one loaf. Then the one who steal one loaf sues the one who steals 5 loaves on the basis he didn’t steal that much, and he is going to be hungry. In fact, he is already hungry.
    Come on…. “You Dirty Piece of You Know Who you are like the man who stole one loaf… your case is dead on arrival

  3. What a leader we have in Gaston. Not afraid to take on the entire world.
    I wish many more leaders could be like him.

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