Commission of Small Island States on Climate Change and International Law (COSIS) approves Plan of Action

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Three Heads of Government met virtually on 26 August 2022 to pursue ways by which international law could be utilized to secure compensation for damage caused to small island states by Climate Change. 

The Heads of Government of Antigua and Barbuda, Tuvalu and Palau gathered under the umbrella organisation, ‘The Commission of Small Islands States on Climate Change and international law’, which was established last November prior to the opening of the COP-26 meeting in Glasgow. 

Reaffirming their determination to pursue climate justice for their countries and other small island states, which are amongst the greatest victims of Climate Change, the Co-Chairs of the Commission conferred with a group of 14 international lawyers who are highly experienced in matters related to loss and damage, sea-level rise, marine environment, and human rights. 

The distinguished group of lawyers (see list in Media Advisory below) reported to the leaders on their research activities and a plan of action that is being developed. 

The leaders, Prime Minister Gaston Browne (Antigua and Barbuda), Prime Minister Kausea Natano (Tuvalu) and President Surangel Whipps Jr. (Palau), welcomed the report of the expert group of lawyers and approved their recommendations. 

The Commission also expressed full support for the separate, parallel initiative of Vanuatu to request an Advisory Opinion on climate change from the International Court of Justice.  

Noting that other small island states have indicated interest in joining the Commission, the leaders encouraged all affected states to join their effort to address the urgent and fundamental injustice in which they bear a disproportionate and overwhelming burden resulting from climate change. 

The leaders also decided to establish three working groups, comprising members of the groups of expert international lawyers and representatives of member governments, to advance the objectives of the Commission. 

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