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Vanuatu’s push for the international court of justice to protect vulnerable nations from climate change has received the backing of 1,500 civil society organisations from more than 130 countries, as it heads toward a crucial vote at the UN General Assembly later this year.

In 2021 Vanuatu announced its intention to seek an advisory opinion by the international court of justice on the rights of present and future generations to be protected from climate change.

If it succeeds, the ICJ’s advisory opinion – although non-binding – carries legal weight and moral authority which experts say could help shape international law. The opinion could also influence domestic and regional courts and tribunals when addressing issues relating to climate change.

Vanuatu is trying to build support for its motion ahead of the UN General Assembly later this year, at which it needs to secure at least 97 votes, in order for the matter to be referred to the ICJ.

The alliance, announced on Friday, represents more than 1,500 civil society organisations (CSOs) from across the globe, including preeminent climate groups from the Pacific: Climate Action Network – International, Greenpeace Australia Pacific, Oxfam in the Pacific, 350 Pacific, Pacific Islands Climate Action Network and Vanuatu Climate Action Network.

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