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Suva Declaration on Climate Change, Dissertation Example

Pages: 11

Words: 3092

Dissertation

Regional Controversies, Big Country Reaction On Pacific Region Strategies To Adapt Sea Rising Levels, Maritime Border Perspective, Human Rights And Statehood.

Climatic change threat around the globe has not only affected environmental concerns but also affected the geopolitical relationships among nations. Coastal areas and islands have faced the risk of being eradicated by the rising sea levels that are caused by global warming and climatic changes globally. The coastal regions statistically have a higher density population globally, making them possess vital infrastructure that is critical for a nation’s economic sustenance. The rising sea levels and climatic changes in the globe have made many nations face challenges like coastline shifts, rising sea levels, and submergence possibilities in future. These changes may affect the relationship between states and human lives due to the possibility of an emergency of territorial maritime claims in the pacific. These occurrences have raised new legal implications within international law, which calls for international community interventions.

 The combination of climatic change and sea water rise has affected the natural survivability technique of the pacific islands, which has been further elevated by human activities within these regions, creating a linkage that threatens the survivability of these coastal regions in the future. Fletcher and Kane argue that by 2050 there will be a need for human intervention in a radical manner to counter the instability created by these phenomena on coastal lines and islands. [1] The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change laid down a blueprint that will give policymakers scientific information regarding climatic changes globally, thus enabling them to establish the climatic change and rising sea level risks and their mitigation measures.   The body is responsible for facilitating the assessment of scientific knowledge revolving around climatic change, thus identifying scientific knowledge amongst the scientific community globally. However, the recommendation of IPCC is argued to be neutral, thus making them policy-relevant. The first assessment report issued by this body widened scientific research on the issues that the body predicted will be affected by climatic change globally. The body has continued to provide its assessment reports which are responsible for increasing scientific knowledge on climate change, increasing expertise, opinions, facts, and knowledge. The body warned and predicted the possibility of retreating from coastal lines, a phenomenon witnessed in some countries like Australia.

Climate changes have continued to influence national and regional policies. These policies base their intervention measures on the basis of the IPCC and physical science basis, which predicted that sea levels would continue to be witnessed in this century across the globe. Countries within the pacific islands within the Pacific Ocean will witness these phenomena drastically, making them face the risk of inundation, inability to access resources, and land loss which may make their original homes inhabitable in the future. Humans cannot engineer out of this easily as there is a continued carbon(11) oxide emission in the atmosphere and other activities that increases global warming, increasing the level of salinization, land loss, floods, and surge storms around the pacific. The nature in which sea levels are occurring is unprecedented, which led to the creation of policies and legal agreements of the same nature. The pacific is arguably home to the most indigenous and diverse culture in the globe and has the most atoll countries. Under international law, an island is referred to as a rock when it fails to sustain its inhabitants’ life and economy. The definition under international law is critical for pacific atoll states. It has been recorded that the sea level in the pacific is increasing at an alarming rate, more than three times the average estimated globally, where the sea is predicted to rise more than a half meter to one hundred and ten centimeters before the end of the 21st century. The pacific economic zone is extended on an estimate of two hundred nautical miles from the pacific coastal baseline entitling atoll countries to marine areas that has fishing resources. The rising sea level, therefore, can affect atoll countries’ legal entitlements on their maritime boundaries. The UN convention of 1982, revolving around sea legal matters, sets a framework for calculating a country’s maritime zones. Under this convention, the coastal baseline is measured by the water line in the seaward that surrounds the reef. Legal coast baselines are treated as ambulatory by traditional legal interpretations, which advocate for moving the coastal baseline as the coastline of the pacific changes due to rising sea levels. With rising sea levels, it is therefore essential for coastal baselines to be redrawn. This will raise nationalistic conflict of interest as island states in the pacific will resort to defending their traditional coastal baseline maritime borders. They can employ physical defense, like land reclamations, creating sea walls, or building lighthouses. Countries can also try to fix their coastal baseline and maritime borders by registering their coordinates with the United Nations. It is the role of the international communities to mitigate the ambulatory interpretation of international sea law. Through these mitigation measures, atoll states will be allowed to uphold and maintain their maritime border entitlements as they way the coastline to retreatment landwards. It has therefore come to the attention of international policymakers that some atoll countries and island faces the possibility of being uninhabitable in the future. The phenomenon will lead to the migration of vulnerable communities that live in the pacific islands. It has become critical to establish legal systems and policies that will cater to the human needs and rights of those who will migrate and the ones who will remain behind. Challenging questions have been posed by the rising sea level on whether governments in the pacific region will function effectively at both domestic and international levels. The responsibility of the relocated population is a debatable issue within the international community, making it critical for scientific and policy intervention that will help the population and countries within the pacific adapt to the effects of raising sea levels globally. The provision of technical assistance legally and strategically that enable the formulation of accurate mitigation measures that will create both long-term and short-term mitigation measures against the sea phenomenon caused by climatic changes and global warming in the Pacific.

The human thought process is influenced by their nationalities, making sea rise level effects on maritime border changes possibility a threat to coordination on strategic and policy making regarding climatic changes and the utilization of maritime resources. By default, humans will align with their national interest putting into threat the need of other nations, and this is a likely scenario to happen in nations that share the pacific ocean coastal lines. It is important to rethink seal level rise and statehood in the context of these nations without jeopardizing their sovereignty as independent states in order to increase the usefulness of the maritime economic resources while at the same time advocating for the human rights of individuals residing in these regions. Understanding that we as humans are playing in an environment ground that we have no control over is essential in creating climate change policies that will create short-term and long-term mitigation measures that will facilitate human survivability in many years to come in the Pacific region. However, the pacific region countries have accepted the declaration on preserving marine borders. These approaches by these nations are a milestone toward conserving and protecting human rights, ensuring the survivability of the islands within the pacific, and protecting the maritime resources in the pacific. The United Nations climate change conference (CPO26) based its negotiations on that declaration. The declaration is therefore credited for bringing varying challenges that the united nation can address, which is inclusive of maritime resources, human mobility, building resilience, and maritime resources. The blueprint for creating a maritime legal framework that will address the global warming and climatic change threat within the pacific will be facilitated through such cooperation.

Pacific Island Countries And Territories (PICS) Adaptation To Climatic Changes And Sea Rise Levels

The pacific nations have reacted to climatic change by participating in creating laws that are put in place by international communities. These laws have been helpful in creating legal policies and strategies that help in shaping international strategies that help in curbing climatic changes. The adoption of the Paris agreement in 2015  by these states has been helpful in shaping their response to this phenomenon levels in the pacific. The agreement, in conjunction with the Suva declaration on climatic changes, has proven to be relevant in combating climatic changes and increasing water levels within these territories and the globe making them gain immensely on matters relating to environmental changes. [2]

Scientifically the efforts put in place globally and regionally by the pacific nations are insufficient to counter climatic changes and environmental degradation. The pacific states are therefore seeking to participate in the formulation of treaties created at the international level that will advocate for the rights of their communities. These treaties can also be credited for protecting the existing pacific ocean ecosystem legally. The inclusion of the Suva declaration in the Paris agreement created a long-term goal that will ensure the attainment of a fifteen-degree Celsius temperature.[3] The structured expert dialogue stated that a two degrees Celsius global warming effect poses a significant risk to the ecosystem and the vulnerable communities within the pacific ocean atoll states and islands. This declaration, therefore, advocated for states cooperation which will help in the implementation of policies that will decelerate greenhouse emission rate [4] The Suva declaration also advocated for an explicit provision from the agreement that will create strong global and domestic mitigation measures that give room for scientific interventions that will improve on its mitigation measures in future. It also advocated for grant allocation financial for the small pacific island developing states(SIDS). The finance should be channeled into capacity building, which will oversee an increase in formal and informal knowledge, which will be helpful in communicating to the local communities about the effect of climate change and educating them on the same. The Paris agreement can therefore be credited for increasing the pacific states’ hope in the United nation framework convention on climate change, thus strengthening their hope and belief in international cooperation and scientific findings. [5]

The Kyoto protocol created an international emission target that is binding to all nations, whereas the Paris agreement has left a self-regulatory room in which nations are supposed to self-regulate themselves as a way to show their commitments toward curbing global warming. [6]  Under the agreement, each committee formulated their commitments through the determined national commitment in which they are supposed to submit their report in a span of five years on a regular basis with a provision that requires them to base their commitment on transparency which can be verified through a created binding structural procedure that is followed by all nations under the agreement.[7] The committee submission will be helpful in checking the nations’ collective mitigation measures, which are achievable through a specified period of time, making the global community assess whether their long-term objective on fighting global warming, climatic changes, and increasing water level in the sea is achievable or not. Through the Paris agreement, the pacific island countries have managed to influence the creation of favorable climatic change treaties and create an international coalition that has included vulnerable states, giving them legal muscles that have managed to increase a long-term goal of reducing the temperature by fifteen degrees Celsius while at the same time securing legal policies that have damages and lose provision. [8]

The united nation general assembly spearheaded sustainable marine resources use through the creation Ad Hoc Open-end informal working group. The creation established the monopoly of UNGA as a platform that gives global politics ground to address laws and policies about the sea and oceans. The laws created by UNGA are then recognized and binding to all members of the United Nations, making the recognizable by global conventions and other international bodies globally. Its near universal character gives it the mandate to influence big nations that make them abide by the regulations and policies created by the UNCLOS and that is responsible for spearheading the observation of the Division For Ocean affairs and the law of the sea.[9] Nations globally can therefore participate in UNGA Forums in a quest to create legal frameworks and policies that mitigate climatic changes, sea level rise, and global warming issues on the platform. The problem arises when the nations have agreed on a particular maritime law that protects the coastal country’s jurisdictional rights and collective responsibility in regard to the rising sea levels raising the question of how to institute them legally.[10]  A protocol may be added through a decision made in the UN convention meetings or through diplomatic means initiated by non-convention and convention parties such as the USA, which is a non-conventional state.[11] The amendment can also be put in place by the UN general assembly as a result of subsidiary agencies’ negotiations. The convention states that the amendments can be carried out in case of an emerging international law that is customary in nature with the backing of states’ while applying certain tested and predetermined legal contexts. This led to the formulation of the Tuputapuatea declaration on climate change, which requires those countries to accept that climate change has negative impacts which can threaten states’ territorial integrity, sovereignty, and security, posing a threat to the existence of these islands and it also requires that these states acknowledge the benefit of exclusive economic zones for Polynesian island states and territories. [12] The Delap Commitment on securing the Commonwealth of nations was also signed to strengthen the legal recognition of the coastal baseline established and drawn by the UN Convention and maintain its perpetuities regardless of the occurrence of seal level rise in these nations. This strengthens the Framework for a Pacific Oceanscape, which states that when a maritime boundary is legally established, climate change, environmental change, and seal level rise implications on the vulnerable coastal baselines should be addressed regionally in order to reduce the reduction of areas due to these changes. [13] However, the International Chamber of Commerce task force on the arbitration for climatic change-related disputes in 2019 gave the ICC report, which acknowledged scientific interventions in solving disputes that relate to climatic changes. The report paved the way for the application of the ICC rules that give existing legal procedures power for adjudicating these disputes and spearhead the tailoring of legal agreements that will help in solving these disputes.

Fairness, justice, and equity inclusion in the UNCLOS are essential in ensuring the respect of human rights that may be affected by the rising sea level and climatic changes in the pacific. Mobility of humans and migration of individuals due to an increase in seawater level is expected in the pacific region, thus calling for international intervention in creating policies and laws that will protect these individuals.

The Ocean is the biggest absorber of the heat that is introduced into the climatic ecosystem globally. The heat absorbed has led to increasing level of sea water levels as a result of melting ice in seas and land. It is also estimated that the sea level increased by nineteen centimeters between the year 1901 and the year 2010. Again it has been found that the water rose at an average rate of more than three millimeters in a year from the 1990s to date. The regional trend in climatic change has seen New Zealand’s sea water level rise at a rate of 1.7mm annually, posing a threat to its coastal areas presently and in the future. [14]  Most of New Zealand’s infrastructural developments are located in the country’s coastal region, making the country vulnerable to seawater rise. These threats include inundation and erosion of the country’s coastal region. Areas with a small tidal range like the Cook Strait, the East Coast, and Wellington are threatened by this occasion. In addition to this, scientists argue that salt water may mix with fresh underground water in these regions threatening the biodiversity and ecosystem of the region. New Zealand, therefore, has to devise plans and strategies that will help the country adapt to this scenario. The development of strategic plans is essential in helping New Zealand adapt to the sea level rise as I jeopardized the future of the country’s coastal region, which helps the country sustain itself economically. New Zealand Ministry of the environment has reacted by creating the Coastal Hazard and Climate Change Guidance which is responsible for creating scenarios that will help the country to conduct a hazardous risk assessment which enables them to create short-term and long-term development plans.

Bibliography

‘Suva Declaration on Climate Change Freestone, David, and Duygu Cicek. “Legal Dimensions of Sea Level Rise.” (2021).

Kane, Haunani H. and Charles H. Fletcher. 2020. “Rethinking Reef island stability in relation to Anthropogenic Sea Level Rise.” Earth’s Future, Vol. 8 (10).

Moorhead, Matthew. “Legal implications of rising sea levels.” Commonwealth Law Bulletin 44, no. 4 (2018): 701-720.

Recent Developments in International Climate Change Law Signed by the leaders of French Polynesia, Niue, Cook Islands, Samoa, Tokelau, Tonga, and Tuvalu

 Statement for the Hon Sihna N Lawrence Minister of Finance & Administration Federated States of Micronesia (Katowice, 11 December 2018) accessed 15 November 2020

Wright, Glen, Julien Rochette, Kristina Gjerde, and Isabel Seeger. “The long and winding road: negotiating a treaty for the conservation and sustainable use of marine biodiversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction.” Paris: IDDRI (2018).

[1] Kane, Haunani H. and Charles H. Fletcher. 2020. “Rethinking Reef island stability in relation to Anthropogenic Sea Level Rise.” Earth’s Future, Vol. 8 (10).

[2] The Paris Agreement

[3] Freestone, David, and Duygu Cicek. “Legal Dimensions of Sea Level Rise.” (2021).

[4] Suva Declaration on Climate Change’

[5] Suva Declaration on Climate Change’

[6] Recent Developments in International Climate Change Law

[7] Recent Developments in International Climate Change Law

[8]Recent Developments in International Climate Change Law

[9] Wright, Glen, Julien Rochette, Kristina Gjerde, and Isabel Seeger. “The long and winding road: negotiating a treaty for the conservation and sustainable use of marine biodiversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction.” Paris: IDDRI (2018).

[10] Wright, Glen, Julien Rochette, Kristina Gjerde, and Isabel Seeger. “The long and winding road: negotiating a treaty for the conservation and sustainable use of marine biodiversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction.” Paris: IDDRI (2018).

[11] Ibid

[12] Signed by the leaders of French Polynesia, Niue, Cook Islands, Samoa, Tokelau, Tonga and Tuvalu

[13] Moorhead, Matthew. “Legal implications of rising sea levels.” Commonwealth Law Bulletin 44, no. 4 (2018): 701-720.

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