Many low-lying island states exist at or just a few meters above sea level, and in the coming decades as a result of sea level rise and other factors some of them may face population relocation, loss of water supply and vital infrastructure, disruption of marine resources and agriculture, and other impacts. The government of the Republic of the Marshall Islands has approached Columbia Law School’s Center for Climate Change Law to explore creative approaches to the legal issues facing these nations. Among the legal questions that need to be explored are the implications of the loss of inhabitable physical territory for statehood, for maritime governance, for property, fishing and mineral rights, and for the legal status of displaced persons. International law, human rights law, environmental law, and admiralty law are just a few of the fields that may be implicated.
We will be hosting a conference to explore these issues at Columbia Law School in the spring of 2011. We request legal scholars and practitioners who may wish to write papers for the conference to send me abstracts by September 1, 2010. Details are in the linked Call for Papers.
Michael B. Gerrard
Andrew Sabin Professor of Professional Practice
Director, Center for Climate Change Law
Columbia Law School
435 West 116th Street
New York, New York 10027