The Pacific youth are sending out a strong message to all their leaders that will be attending the 51st Pacific Islands Forum that’s currently taking place in Suva, Fiji - to hear the voices of young people and take the world’s biggest problem to the highest court of the world, which is the International Court of Justice (ICJ). This would involve the endorsement of the Advisory Opinion on Climate Change and Human Rights at the 51st Pacific Islands Forum Leaders Meeting.
This Advisory Opinion Campaign is an initiative that was started from the classrooms of the University of the South Pacific (USP) by 27 Pacific law students that undertook the International Environmental Law Course, and saw that there are legal tools that can be a catalyst towards resolving the issue of climate change. Their research led to the establishment of “Pacific Islands Students Fighting Climate Change”, a youth-led organization that is leading the campaign and supporting the Vanuatu Government on the road to getting all leaders to endorse the Advisory Opinion.
In the lead up to the Pacific Islands Forum, Pacific youth and Civil Society Organizations all around the region are rallying and standing in solidarity to show to their leaders and leaders of the world the existential threat that climate change has brought to the survival and livelihood of the Blue Pacific.
Young people from the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu have echoed the need of sustainable change towards their protecting their oceans and protecting their rights from Ecocide, whilst the young people in Fiji have raised a strong message for the leaders to recognise that there is an urgent need for all the leaders to take active meaningful and concrete climate action to protect the present and future generations from the adverse effects of climate change.
It is time that all the Pacific leaders now take into recognition and consider the urgent call for action that is being echoed by youths across the oceans to bring the world's most pressing problem to the world's highest court.
It is time for the Australian Government under the new leadership of Prime Minister Anthony Albanese to actively step up and show strong leadership in support of the Advisory Opinion Campaign when he attends the Pacific Islands Forum Leaders Meeting. This is because Australia’s support of this initiative will pave a way for more states from the international community to join, and show their support that will play a crucial role towards the upcoming United Nations General Assembly later this year.
With the increasing impacts of climate change that is impacting the Pacific everyday, there is no time left for more debates and slow negotiations - it is time that the Pacific sees all their leaders take up the charge and stand with Vanuatu to endorse the Advisory Opinion on Climate Change and Human Rights.
This is the crucial time that all Pacific Leaders step up for a more ambitious and accelerated climate action that is to endorse the Advisory Opinion on Climate Change and Human Rights.