Singapore Ministry of Foreign Affairs

We are concerned Singaporean youths from Fossil Free Yale-NUS and Students Taking Action for NUS to Divest (STAND) who are petitioning Singapore’s delegation to the UN to sponsor/support a resolution at the upcoming General Assembly. We request that the delegation sponsor a resolution requesting for an advisory opinion from the International Court of Justice (ICJ) about states’ legal duties to protect life, including human life, in light of the climate emergency.

This advisory will guide states in understanding their legal duties regarding the impacts of the climate crisis to present and future generations. This request is an innovative approach to use the Court to address the climate crisis. The question is framed to:
- Be non-adversarial against any state.
- Not imply liability or responsibility for past actions of any state par­ty. Instead, it looks to duties and obligations of the future.
- Protect ourselves, our children, grandchildren, future generations, and non-human life from the impacts of present actions.

We believe that our generation, our children’s generation, and the many generations that will follow them deserve to arrive on a planet that is safe, healthy, and worth living on. Additionally, climate change will have disproportionate impacts on vulnerable and marginalised groups that we care deeply about, including women, elderly, persons with disabilities, and the poor.

We believe that you share these values as well and we are thus hoping to get your support on this petition.

Our movement is part of the I Am Climate Justice global movement, which aims to generate international support for an ICJ ruling on the rights of generations that have yet to be born. Currently, petitions have been launched in many countries, including Australia, the Philippines, Marshall Islands, Thailand, and Indonesia, and we hope to add Singapore to that list. More information about the movement is available at: https://tinyurl.com/ICJbrief.

We will be submitting our letter to the relevant ministries and the persons addressed in the letter on 5 June, World Environment Day, in solidarity with the other international campaigns which will also be submitting their petitions to their foreign ministries on the same day.

We hope that you will support us in adding Singapore’s voice to the chorus of countries trying to protect the rights of those who will come after us. Additionally, if you are a part of an organization that would be willing to support our petition, please do let us know at nusdivest@gmail.com so that we can add it to the signatories section of the letter.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact us at nusdivest@gmail.com. We are deeply grateful for your time and consideration!

With hope and love,
Aidan, Bertrand, and Min Jie
On behalf of Fossil Free Yale-NUS and STAND

350 Singapore
A Good Space (National Volunteer and Philanthropy Centre)
Community of Advocacy and Political Education (CAPE)
Fossil Free Yale-NUS
Hush TeaBar
I’dECO Yale-NUS Sustainability Movement
NTU Earthlink
Our Seas, Our Legacy
The Hantu Blog
Students Taking Action for NUS to Divest (STAND)
Yale-NUS Scuba Environments Association (YNSEA)
... and more to come

Prime Minister Mr Lee Hsien Loong
Mr Teo Chee Hean, Senior Minister and Chairman of the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Climate Change
Dr Vivian Balakrishnan, Minister for Foreign Affairs
Mr Masagos Zulkifli, Minister for the Environment and Water Resources
Mr Benedict Chia, Director (Strategic Issues) for the National Climate Change Secretariat
Ms Lynette Long Li Shen, Director-General for the International Organisations Directorate

We are concerned Singapore citizens, young and old, who respectfully write this letter on behalf of our generation and of generations yet unborn. We express our deep concern for the clear and present danger of the climate crisis. Being a Small Island Developing State, Singapore faces existential threats to its survival from the climate breakdown.

As the National Climate Change Secretariat has noted, Singapore is vulnerable to sea level rise, water shortages, food shortages, and greater public health risk (dengue, heat stress)[1]. Exposure to these risks will be especially pronounced for marginalised groups, including the sick and elderly [2], women [3], and the poor [4].

At the same time, we look to the region around us and see that millions of people living in coastal settlements in the region and around the world could be permanently displaced by rising sea levels. Not only is this an urgent matter in its own right, it would result in significant concerns for Singapore’s stability. In light of this, Singapore can and should do everything in its power to take effective action to prevent irreversible damage from climate change [5].

Singapore has consistently worked to be an important member of the international community, as evidenced by its dedicated and active role in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development (UNCSD), and related platforms. It is high time that Singapore takes an important step in supporting the international rule of law and protect current and future generations of Singaporeans.

We respectfully request that:

1) The Singapore government bolsters the global movement pursuing climate action in the international arena by sponsoring, co-sponsoring or supporting a resolution to the UNGA seeking an advisory opinion from the International Court of Justice on the following question:

“In the face of climate crisis, what are the duties of States to protect Life, including human life, of the present and future generations?”

This advisory opinion will guide states in understanding their legal duties regarding the impacts of the climate crisis to present and future generations. The Philippines has already set the precedent in recognizing that present and future generations have a right to a balanced and healthy ecology [6].

2) The MFA release a statement by 1st July clarifying its position on sponsoring this resolution to the UNGA.

We undertake this effort together with other youths from Australia, the Philippines, Marshall Islands, Thailand, and Indonesia who are asking their governments to sponsor this resolution.

We thank you for your time and consideration and look forward to receiving a positive response.

With hope,
[signatories to be listed here]

[1] https://www.nccs.gov.sg/climate-change-and-singapore/national-circumstances/impact-of-climate-change-on-singapore
[2] https://www.brinknews.com/singapores-climate-resilience/
[3] https://www.un.org/womenwatch/feature/climate_change/downloads/Women_and_Climate_Change_Factsheet.pdf
[4] https://www.todayonline.com/commentary/when-both-rich-and-poor-feel-heat-climate-change
[5] https://www.un.org/press/en/2019/ga12131.doc.htm
[6] https://www.futurepolicy.org/crimes/right-of-future-generations/

The Calling for Singapore to support climate justice at the UNGA petition to Singapore Ministry of Foreign Affairs was written by ----- ----- and is in the category Environment at GoPetition.