Climate justice campaigners worldwide want the world’s highest court – the International Court of Justice – to give a legal opinion on the obligations of governments to protect the human rights of present and future generations against the adverse effects of climate change. 

The climate emergency is a human rights crisis of unprecedented proportions. It is manifesting in rising oceans, droughts, floods, typhoons and bleached coral reefs. It is affecting our health, food, water, housing, and livelihoods. It is a threat to not only individuals, but to entire cultures and peoples. Those on the frontlines of the climate crisis - such as low-lying Pacific islands - are losing access to clean drinking water, food sources, and in some cases are being forced to migrate away from their homelands.

Despite this, the climate crisis is yet to be adequately and legally viewed through a human rights lens. Human rights are not fully integrated into climate treaties, climate laws or climate debates - when they should be integrated with existing international legal principles, and human rights obligations.

We have waited too long for global leaders to take decisive action on climate change. The International Court of Justice (ICJ) can clarify the legal consequences of this inaction, based on existing international treaties and principles.

An advisory opinion from the ICJ would put human rights at the centre of climate action. It would clarify the obligations of states in protecting the rights of current and future generations from the adverse effects of climate change. Achieving an ICJ advisory opinion requires a majority vote before the end of the year in favour of a resolution at the current United Nations General Assembly session. 

This campaign was first devised by students in a South Pacific University classroom in 2019. Today, it is led by the Vanuatu government along with a core group of nations - and supported by a global alliance of more than 1,500 civil society groups in 130 different countries.

Sign the petition now, calling on the leaders of all United Nations member countries to vote in favour of Vanuatu’s resolution at the current UN General Assembly. We will be delivering this petition in the lead up to the vote.

Sign the Petition

  Our Petition

United Nations Member States
Attention: Head of government

Dear Leader

In the upcoming 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly, I call on you to vote YES  in support of the Vanuatu-sponsored resolution for an ICJ advisory opinion on climate justice. 

If you are already planning to vote yes, then I call on you to co-sponsor the resolution and encourage other member states to be co-sponsors.

If we are to stop the climate crisis from getting any worse, then we must act together. Your country’s vote can make the world of difference.

Yours sincerely,