Open-mic debate held at GCU on ICJ Climate Resolution
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An open-mic debate was held at the Government College University (GCU) Lahore where youth overwhelmingly spoke in the favour of International Court of Justice (ICJ) Climate Justice Resolution to place human rights at the centre of climate change decision-making.
The young students stressed that climate justice is a fundamental human right which is being undermined every second. They believed it is high time to fix this.
The students, joined by GCU Lahore vice-chancellor Prof. Dr Asghar Zaidi and Kohsar University Murree vice-chancellor Prof. Dr Habib Ali Bokhari, also chanted the slogan “vote YES to climate justice”.
The debate was organized by the GCU Lahore’s Environment Protection Society in collaboration with Normandy Chair for Peace France and World's Youth for Climate Justice in the context of Vanuatu’s appeal to the world leaders to vote in favour of ICJ Climate Resolution at the United Nations General Assembly.
GCU Lahore Sustainable Development Study Center (SDSC) Director Prof. Dr Faiza Sharif opened the debate by shedding light ICJ Climate Justice Movement that Pacific Island Nations have been trying to get the world’s highest court to issue a legal statement, or an advisory opinion, on climate change.
“To achieve this, Vanuatu has to get enough United Nations General Assembly members to vote in favour of their ICJ Climate Justice resolution,” she said. Vanuatu recently announced that General Assembly will vote on the resolution on December 14, 2022.
The director said international climate negotiations fail due to the continued use of fossil fuels and interest in using legal levers to force large polluters to take action.
Later, she opened the house for debate on the resolution and climate justice. An overwhelming majority of students spoke in support of the resolution. However, a couple of students stressed the need for more investment in research and technological advancement to cut the use of fossil fuels.
Vice Chancellor Prof. Asghar Zaidi said devastating floods in Pakistan spurred a fight for loss and damage funds and Pakistan’s diplomats did exceptional work for it at COP27. “I hope Pakistan would support Vanuatu’s resolution if it goes in the best interest of climate justice,” he added.
He appreciated that the youth at GCU is becoming proactive, and they debate real challenges to the world. He said the idea to get the International Court of Justice in Hague to issue an advisory opinion on climate change was also conceived by students at the University of South Pacific in Vanuatu.
Kohsar University Murree vice-chancellor Prof. Dr Habib Ali Bokhari said immediate actions are needed because the change in temperature, rainfall, water availability, and population size has a greater impact on the world's food production.