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Bahamas files Legal Submissions on Climate Change with International Court of Justice

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 Attorney General Ryan Pinder, on behalf of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas, is insisting to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) that countries around the world be held accountable for their climate policies, citing the existential threat climate change poses to The Bahamas and other small island states.

The written submission was made to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) for the advisory proceedings on the obligations of states under international law to address climate change.

“We are in a new climate era, where climate impacts will increasingly drive geopolitical and economic instability. International institutions must rise to the occasion and insist on decisive action,” said Prime Minister Philip Davis. “The Bahamas is calling on the ICJ to make clear the legal obligations of states to reduce harmful policies and protect current and future generations from the most devasting impacts of climate change.”

The Bahamas contends that states have a duty to prevent environmental harm, cooperate on climate action, and respect the rights of present and future generations to a healthy environment.

"The ICJ's advisory opinion will provide much-needed guidance on the responsibilities of states to address climate change," said Attorney General Ryan Pinder. "It will strengthen the legal framework for climate action and hold states accountable for their contributions to the crisis."

The Bahamas' submission details climate change impacts encountered at a national and individual level, including sea level rise, ocean acidification, extreme weather events, and harm to coral reefs. The Bahamas draws the attention of the Court to the significant and ongoing impacts of climate change on the nation’s economy and the impacts which future generations of Bahamians are likely to encounter.

The submission was filed with the Registry of the ICJ today, in the Netherlands, on Friday, 22 March 2024.

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The submission is in support of a “request for an advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice on the obligations of States in respect of climate change” made by the United Nations General Assembly through resolution 77/276.

The Bahamas will provide commentary on submissions from other states and international organisations ahead of the 24 June 2024 deadline.

The Bahamas will continue to advocate on many fronts for strong and ambitious action to address the climate crisis and protect the rights of present and future generations.

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