PM Browne to Address hearing of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS)

The content originally appeared on: Antigua News Room

Prime Minister the Hon. Gaston Browne is in Hamburg German where he will open pleadings of the Commission of Small Island States on Climate Change and International Law at the hearing of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea.

Prime Minister Browne is the Co-Chair of the Commission (COSIS) alongside the Prime Minister of Tuvalu, His Excellency Mr. Kausea Natano.

The International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) is an intergovernmental organization created by the mandate of the Third United Nations Conference on the Law of the Sea.

It was established by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, signed at Montego Bay, Jamaica, on December 10, 1982.

The Convention entered into force on November 16, 1994, and established an international framework for law over all ocean space, its uses and resources.

During his discourse, Prime Minister Browne is expected to make the case for small island states on the impacts of climate change, particularly that they are ongoing, devastating and that they are expected to worsen in the future. 

Prime Minister Browne is anticipating that action will be taken by the Tribunal as he has stated previously that for decades Small Island States have been stating these truths in international gatherings concerning climate change, including at successive Conferences of the Parties to the UNFCCC.

Prime Minister Browne has previously pointed to the the perilous circumstances into which the people of small island states and their countries are being plunged.

He has said that consistently on an annual basis, small island states have listened to promises to mitigate climate change which remain unfulfilled.

The country’s leader is also expected to speak about small island states fragile economies as most are dependent on tourism. 

He is expected to speak about the consequences of climate change as it jeopardise Antigua and Barbuda’s tourism economy which accounts for sixty percent of the nation’s gross domestic product.

He is also expected to link climate change to increased natural hazards, sea-level rise, and ocean acidification and warming which all risk coastal destruction and the collapse of marine ecosystems that support tourism attractions and recreation of both Antigua and Barbuda and other small island states.

Prime Minister Browne is accompanied by  Antigua and Barbuda’s Ambassador to the United States, Sir Ronald Sanders and Professor Payam Akhavan, an international lawyer and member of the Permanent Court of Arbitration at the Hague. 

He is also a Senior Fellow at Massey College at the University of Toronto and a visiting adjunct at its Faculty of Law.

Prime Minister Browne returns to Antigua and Barbuda on Thursday. 

Attorney General and Minister for Legal Affairs, the Hon. Steadroy Benjamin is the Acting Prime Minister. 

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