Smiley face
Weather     Live Markets

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) has granted the World Health Organization (WHO) permission to participate in proceedings regarding its advisory opinion on the Obligations of States in respect of Climate Change. This decision came after the United Nations General Assembly requested the ICJ to determine the financial liability of countries for their contribution to climate change. The deadline for submission of responses has been set for June 24, with the WHO’s authorization coming after the initial deadline for written statements on March 22 without an extension.

On March 29, 2023, the UNGA asked the ICJ to issue an advisory opinion on the legal obligations of countries in preventing climate change. This advisory opinion is non-binding but will give insight into how the Court may interpret future climate-related litigation and guide legislative development.
The UN provided the Court with a package of relevant laws and treaties, and the Court has decided to allow member states and international organizations to submit written statements to present their legal arguments and opinions on the matter.

The ICJ has authorized several international organizations to participate in the proceedings, including the African Union, the European Union, and the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), among others. The WHO’s inclusion in the proceedings, announced on March 26, may be the last addition. However, it is still unclear which member states have submitted written statements as these documents remain private at this time.

The WHO has previously emphasized that climate change is a public health emergency, with WHO Director-General, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, stating that the climate crisis is having significant health impacts such as fueling disease outbreaks and contributing to higher rates of noncommunicable diseases. The Court has not yet outlined the process it will use to review the written statements and responses, but it is expected that the advisory opinion will not be released until 2025.

The involvement of the WHO in the ICJ proceedings on climate change highlights the importance of addressing the health implications of climate change. With the deadline for submission of responses set for June 24, it remains to be seen how the Court will proceed with considering the various legal arguments and opinions put forth by member states and international organizations. The outcome of this advisory opinion will provide valuable insights into how countries may be held accountable for their contributions to climate change and could potentially impact future legislative developments in this area.

© 2024 Globe Echo. All Rights Reserved.