Story | 02 Oct, 2023

WCEL delivered IUCN's oral statements during ITLOS hearing on case No. 31

The oral statements were delivered by IUCN WCEL Chair, Dr Christina Voigt; IUCN WCEL Ocean Law SG Chair, Dr Cymie Payne; and Dr Tara Davenport. 

On Thursday 21st September, WCEL delivered IUCN's oral statements on case 31: "Request for an Advisory Opinion submitted by the Commission of Small Island States on Climate Change and International Law" before the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) in Hamburg.

Previously, on June 14th, WCEL's Ocean Law Specialist Group led by Cymie Payne had submitted IUCN's written statements. Besides Dr Voigt, among Dr Payne's team for this submission were Dr Tara Davenport, Baastian Klerk, Lisa Benjamin, Robin Churchill and A.H.A. Soons - and other scientific reviewers.

During the oral statements Dr Payne provided examples of 'obligations of conduct' and 'obligations of result', raised the need for the precautionary approach and cited examples from customary international law and international jurisprudence.

Dr Davenport laid out the necessity to consider external international agreements in the context of interpreting UNCLOS Part XII obligations in particular the UNFCCC and the Paris Agreement. 

Dr Voigt took the floor last to explain how the climate change regime can inform but does not limit state obligations relevant to UNCLOS. Additionally, she reminded that the Paris Agreement (with its high numbers of parties) constitutes the most recent international scientific, political and legal consensus on climate change action.

You can watch IUCN's (and other) oral statements to ITLOS on case No 31 here: