SYDNEY, Tuesday 22 May 2024 — In response to the verdict from the International Tribunal of the Law of the Sea (ITLOS), which last night issued its Advisory Opinion on climate change, the following comments can be attributed to Head of Pacific at Greenpeace Australia Pacific, Shiva Gounden:

“Today, the International Tribunal of the Law of the Sea has made history. For the first time, an international tribunal has delivered an advisory opinion on climate change, responding to a request by small island states most impacted by the climate crisis, including Pacific nations. 

“The ruling supports the fact that climate change, driven by the burning of fossil fuels, is causing the degradation of our marine environment. For the communities of our Pacific Island nations who have deep connections to the ocean, the threats are both economic and existential as the climate crisis impacts livelihoods, erodes culture, and even threatens to wash away the very land they call home.

“This historic moment is part of a much larger climate justice narrative, with similar cases before the international courts seeking to use the power of the law to address the accelerating injustices of the climate crisis. 

“One such case is the historic campaign for an advisory opinion on climate harm from the world’s highest court, the International Court of Justice, spearheaded by Pacific youth from the Pacific Island Students Fighting Climate Change and Pacific leaders and civil society from across the world — this latest verdict sets a legal precedent and paves the way for victory.

“Pacific nations and small island states contribute least to the climate crisis, yet face extraordinary impacts — and yet the power and resilience of our communities, and the determination to use the law as a powerful tool to change the course of history, is awe-inspiring. 

“Greenpeace is extremely proud and humbled to have played a role in this case. We commend all those impacted people and communities who have shared their stories of resilience, and the Pacific nation leaders and activists who continue to show true climate leadership from the frontlines of the climate crisis.”


For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact Kate O’Callaghan on 0406 231 892 or [email protected]