Sea-level rise (“SLR”) is considered one of the most serious consequences of climate
that will occur in the twenty-rst century or even beyond 2100.
affects the global economy, environment, security and order at sea.
The risk of
SLR compels legal consideration of this phenomenon related to the Law of the Sea,
International Law on Statehood, Environmental Law, Human Right Law, Migration
Law and others. It has gradually been claried by studies of the International Law
the UN International Law Commission (“ILC”)
researchers. Most of them conrm that the main legal implications of SLR concern the
Law of the Sea, in particular, maritime baselines and limits. At a regional level, the
Western Pacic region contains the most low-lying and small island States seriously
affected by SLR in the world.
This research aims to summarize the consequences of SLR for the Western Pacic
States and outline their legal positions in relation to this phenomenon. This paper
consists of four parts including Introduction and Conclusion. Part two will focus on
the impact of SLR and the response of States in the region. Part three will discuss
the legal basis of maintaining maritime baselines and boundaries notwithstanding
physical changes caused by SLR.
1 SLR is estimated in the range of 0.84 m (0.61-1.10 m, likely range) by 2100. See IPCC, 2019: Summary for
PolicymakerS-SPecial rePort on the ocean and cryoSPhere in a changing climate B.3.1, 23 (H.-O. Pörtner, et al.
eds. 2019), available at https://www.ipcc.ch/site/assets/uploads/sites/3/2019/11/SROCC_FinalDraft_FullReport.pdf.
2 IPCC, AR5 Synthesis Report: Climate Change, iPcc.ch (2014), available at https://www.ipcc.ch/report/ar5/syr.
3 R. Nicholls, ‘Case study on sea-level rise impacts,’ OECD Workshop on the Benefits of Climate Policy: Improving
Information for Policy Makers (2003). See M. Hayashi, Sea Level Rise and the Law of the Sea: How can the Affected
States be Better Protected?, in the limitS of maritime JuriSdiction 609-25 (2014); y. Takamura, Climate Change and
Small Island Claims in the Pacific, in climate change: international law and global governance 1. 657-83 (O.
Ruppel et al. eds., 2013).
4 d. Vidas, D. Freestone, & J. McAdam, International Law and Sea Level Rise: Report of the International Law
Association Committee on International Law and Sea Level Rise (2019), available at https://www.researchgate.net/
5 ILC, Commentary to Draft Article 3 of the “Protection of Persons in the event of Disasters” Report (Report on the work
of the sixty-eight session), U.N. Doc. A/71/10 (2016), 23, ¶ 4; “Sea-level rise in relation to international law” (Report
on the work of the seventh session), U.N. Doc. A/73/10 (2018), ¶ 152; G.A. Res. 73/265 (Dec. 22, 2018).
122 Nguyen Hong Thao