Date & Time3:00pm, 25 October 2022 - 4:30pm, 25 October 2022
About the event
This event has taken place. You can watch the recording now.
Extreme weather events are destroying small island infrastructure, upending local livelihoods, and overwhelming public finances. Small island states have made repeated appeals to the wider international community to help with this climate-induced loss and damage.
Such appeals are grounded in sound legal and ethical principles: small island states have contributed little to the overall problem of climate change, yet they are facing the gravest and most immediate threats. Despite the urgency of the situation, commitments to help small island states with climate-induced loss and damage stand largely unfulfilled.
What progress have small island states made on the question of climate reparations?
The lead Legal Counsel of the Commission of Small Island States on Climate Change and International Law (COSIS) spoke at our Critical Conversation in 2021 on loss and damage. The Commission, which was established at COP26, seeks compensation for loss and damage from the world’s highest-polluting countries via the courts. More small island state leaders are expected to join ahead of this year’s climate conference in Egypt known as COP27.
In parallel, an initiative led by Vanuatu has requested an Advisory Opinion on climate change from the International Court of Justice. If it is successful, this would be the first authoritative statement on climate change issued by the ICJ. The opinion would clarify legal questions related to climate change such as states’ obligation to other countries. This could have huge implications for climate change litigation and disputes on climate harm and the COSIS project.
Why should I join this event?
The initiative by Vanuatu to seek an advisory opinion from the ICJ is at a critical juncture and a decision on whether the case will be heard is due within days of this event. We’ve invited the lead Legal Counsel working on the initiative – Margaretha Wewerinke-Singh – to provide you with an exclusive update. We’ve also invited a range of experts that can explain the implications of such an ICJ Advisory Opinion for small and vulnerable states and the notion of climate compensation.
More broadly, the COP27 negotiations in Egypt will be a critical test for the question of climate compensation, and joining this event will help you to understand what’s at stake. Will major industrialised countries finally make good on their commitments to small island and vulnerable states? Or will such states be forced to pursue compensation through the courts?
By joining this event, you can help elevate the voices of those most affected by climate loss and damage. This Critical Conversation is also an opportunity to build alliances, strategies and approaches that can be used at COP27 to make meaningful progress on climate compensation.
Dionne Jackson-Miller is a journalist, attorney at law and a tutor in Constitutional Law at the University of the West indies, Mona. Dione has a background in sciences with a BSc in Botany and Zoology, and an MPhil in Zoology. She has a post-graduate Certificate specialising in Media Law, a post-graduate diploma in Public International Law and a Master of Laws (LLM) from the University of London specialising in Human Rights Law.
Dionne has been working in media for over 20 years. She has hosted a daily current affairs programme “Beyond the Headlines” on Radio Jamaica for over 20 years, and a weekly current affairs programme “All Angles” on Television Jamaica for over 10 years. She is a two-time Journalist of the Year, served two terms as President of the Press Association of Jamaica, and continues to serve on the Association’s Executive.
Margaretha Wewerinke-Singh is an Assistant Professor of Public International Law at the Grotius Centre for International Legal Studies at Leiden University. Her research addresses the legal processes related to sustainable development, climate change and human rights. Margaretha leads the legal team supporting Vanuatu’s pursuit of an advisory opinion on climate change and serves on the Committee of Legal Experts of the Commission of Small Island States and International Law (COSIS).
Prior to joining Leiden University, she was a Senior Lecturer in Environmental Law at the University of the South Pacific (USP) School of Law in Port Vila, Vanuatu, where she coordinated USP’s environmental law programme.
Harjeet Singh is a global expert on the issues of climate impacts, migration, and adaptation. He has supported countries across the world on tackling climate change, coordinating emergency response and disaster resilience programmes.
He is the Head of Global Political Strategy at Climate Action Network International and serves as Global Director – Engagement and Partnerships at the Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty Initiative. He is a member of the United Nations’ Technical Expert Group on Comprehensive Risk Management under the Warsaw International Mechanism for Loss and Damage. Harjeet co-founded Satat Sampada, a social enterprise that promotes sustainable environmental solutions such as organic food and farming in India and beyond. He has served as a board member of Climate Action Network International (CAN-I) and the Global Network of Civil Society Organisations for Disaster Reduction (GNDR).
Rueanna Haynes is an international climate law and governance specialist, and TEDx 2020 speaker, with over a decade of experience in the UN Climate process.
A former Trinidad and Tobago diplomat, Rueanna has negotiated for the Caribbean Community as well as the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS), including in the development of the Sustainable Development Goals. At present, she is the Senior Legal Adviser at Climate Analytics and Director of the Climate Analytics Caribbean office in Trinidad and Tobago.
Rueanna provides strategic, technical and diplomatic advice to island states in climate change negotiations, as well as training for officials new to the UN Climate process.
Keston K. Perry, PhD. is a political economist and Assistant Professor of Africana Studies at Williams College, USA. His work examines the role of race as an economic ordering principle in the climate crisis, its implications for the idea of ‘radical humanism’ as well as its material impacts, in particular how the global financial system and international climate policy affects Caribbean societies. His work appreciates that development finance and global governing arrangements reproduce marginalization and dispossession specifically in the Caribbean and African diaspora. His work is published in a number of international academic journals and popular media outlets.
He was previously a lecturer in economics at the University of the West of England, Bristol, UK and a postdoctoral scholar at the Climate Policy Lab, Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University. In 2021, Dr Perry served as an Economic Affairs Officer and consultant at the Division of Globalization and Development Strategies of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development. In January 2022, he assumed the position of Associate Editor of the international academic journal Geoforum.
He earned his PhD at SOAS, University of London and is currently working on a book on climate reparations.
Dr Mahmoud Mohieldin is an economist with more than 30 years of experience in international finance and development. In February 2022, Dr Mohieldin was appointed by the Egyptian government as the Climate Action Champion at the 2022 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP27), with aims at enhancing the communication between the Egyptian presidency of COP27 and businesses, the private sector and international funding institutions working in climate change-related fields. Since February 2020, Dr Mohieldin has been the United Nations Special Envoy on Financing the 2030 Development Agenda.
He is the former Minister of Investment of Egypt from 2004-2010, and most recently, served as the World Bank Group Senior Vice President for the 2030 Development Agenda, United Nations Relations and Partnerships. His professional experience extends into the academic arena as a Professor of Economics and Finance at the Faculty of Economics and Political Science, Cairo University and as a Visiting Professor at several renowned Universities in Egypt, Korea, the UAE, the UK and the USA.
Dr Mohieldin holds a PhD in Economics from the University of Warwick, United Kingdom; a Master’s in Economics and Social Policy Analysis from the University of York, United Kingdom; a Diploma of Development Economics from the University of Warwick and a BSc in Economics from Cairo University.
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