Solutions for Post-Territorial Sovereignty in Small Island States
Climate change threatens human, national and environmental security. My research is on one of the most vulnerable groups, small low-lying island states in the group of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS), whose lands will be submerged partially or entirely by 2100 . Their consequential loss of territory would result in the loss of legal status as nation-states. The paper will discuss the following: 1) international law of statehood and the implication of loss of territory for certain states; 2) various options including creating structures in existing locations (including constructing floating platforms/ installation, building sea walls, and creating an artificial island farther above sea level) and two relocation plans (merger/ cessation, de-territorialization), with assessment of criteria such as existence of historical precedents, support from other countries, temporal/spatial implications, financial/engineering practicality and international legal implication; 3) proposal in change of international law (UNCLOS- recognition of artificially created structure/islands as territory and freezing baseline). Lastly, the paper will conclude by addressing features of the problem as well as the most plausible and viable solution. This research has broader implications for the global community because rising sea levels will affect two- thirds of the world population living within 100 kilometers of any coastline . It is my hope that this research will serve as a legal reference and practical guide for island as well as maritime states in the years to come.