The Ongoing Legal Status of Low-Lying States in the Climate-Changed Future

(with Nathan Jon Ross) In Caroline Morris and Petra Butler (eds) Small States in a Legal World (Springer Publishing, Heidelberg, 2017)

Posted: 14 Dec 2017

See all articles by Alberto Costi

Alberto Costi

Victoria University of Wellington - Faculty of Law

Nathan Jon Ross

Victoria University of Wellington - Faculty of Law

Date Written: 2017

Abstract

Low-lying States that may become uninhabitable because of climate change are confronted by many unique challenges, including whether their statehood status should continue if entire populations are forced to relocate to other States' territories. Since the criteria for establishing new States include a defined territory and a permanent population, it is sometimes assumed that these criteria are also essential for the continuity of statehood. This chapter examines the traditional Montevideo statehood criteria with respect to continuity of low-lying States, and highlights cases where States have relied on unorthodox means of meeting those criteria. It surveys alternative types of international legal personality. The analysis finds no authority to support extinguishing the legal personality of these States because of factual changes to the Montevideo criteria. It argues there is potential for either innovative solutions for maintaining statehood, or for converting to an alternative legal personality.

Keywords: Climate change, Statehood, Montevideo criteria

JEL Classification: K00, K10, K32, K33, K40

Suggested Citation

Costi, Alberto and Ross, Nathan Jon, The Ongoing Legal Status of Low-Lying States in the Climate-Changed Future (2017). (with Nathan Jon Ross) In Caroline Morris and Petra Butler (eds) Small States in a Legal World (Springer Publishing, Heidelberg, 2017) , Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3074710

Alberto Costi (Contact Author)

Victoria University of Wellington - Faculty of Law ( email )

PO Box 600
Wellington, 6140
New Zealand

Nathan Jon Ross

Victoria University of Wellington - Faculty of Law ( email )

PO Box 600
Wellington, 6140
New Zealand

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