All News


UNGA resolution on climate change and its implication - IAS Academy in Coimbatore


  • The UNGA has passed a resolution about the obligation of countries regarding climate change.


  • The United Nations General Assembly passed a resolution on 29th March 2023 asking the International Court of Justice to(ICJ) provide an opinion about obligations countries have towards climate change reduction, based on the commitments made to the UN Framework Convention for Climate Change (UNFCCC).
  • The resolution was moved by the Pacific Island of Vanuatu.
  • It is a small island country in the Pacific ocean.
  • In 2015, cyclone Pam (spurred by climate change) wiped out 95% of its crops and impacted two-thirds of its population.

About Resolution

  • The draft resolution called A/77/L.58 has invoked article 96 of the UN Charter to ask the ICJ to address two questions:
  • What are the obligations of states under the international protocol to ensure the protection of the climate system for present and future generations?
  • What are the legal consequences under these obligations for states where they, by their acts and omissions, have caused significant harm to the climate system, particularly for Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and for people who are harmed?
  • The resolution also refers to various international protocols like Paris Agreement, UNCLOS, and Human Rights.
  • ICJ would take at least 18 months to deliberate and discuss the matter.
  • The idea of taking the matter to the highest court was proposed by a group of 27 Pacific Island law students. The issue was raised in Pacific Islands Forum.
  • The draft resolution was co-sponsored by 132 countries at the UNGA and was passed through consensus.
  • Despite some reservations by the U.S., not a single country opposed the resolution.
  • A legal decision by the ICJ would ensure all the countries to work towards mitigating climate change and global warming to the suggested 1.5-2°C limit.
  • The decision of the ICJ on contentious matters like climate reparations by the developed world and legal actions against countries that don’t achieve their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) targets will be closely watched.
  • The action to raise a resolution is more inclusive and better than the two earlier attempts by the Small Island States to the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (December 2022) and Columbia and Chile at the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR) (January 2023).

India’s Stand:

  • Despite being a supporter of climate justice and holding the developed world accountable for climate change, India remained silent about the resolution.
  • India did not join the majority of countries that co-sponsored the resolution. It should be noted that neighboring countries like Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and Maldives were co-sponsors.
  • New Delhi is closely watching the response of global powers like the U.S. and China.

Advisory Opinion of ICJ:

  • The Advisory Opinion of ICJ is not legally binding.
  • However, the ICJ judgment would make the environmental laws more streamlined, specifically on issues like climate justice, climate finance, and “loss and damages” agreed in COP 27.
  • It should be noted that ICJ’s advisory opinion on matters like the Palestinian issue (Construction of the Wall) and nuclear threats was respected.