Following on from the announcement of the confirmed speakers for Plenary Session 3 Climate Change and Vulnerable Communities, the Organising Committee is delighted to profile Dr Eric Kwa, who will present a paper on "Climate Change and Pacific Island Countries: Helping our Neighbours" on Thursday 27 June: 9.00am-11.00am.


Dr. Eric Kwa is the Secretary (CEO)for the Papua New Guinea Constitutional and Law Reform Commission. He was formerly the Associate Professor of Law at the UPNG Law School and also a former Dean of that School. He is from Siassi Island in the Morobe Province. He is a lawyer and has practised law, appearing before all the different levels of courts in PNG.

Dr. Eric Kwa holds a PhD in Environmental Law from the Auckland University, New Zealand. He also has a Master of Laws with Honours (LLM (Hon)) from Wollongong University, Australia and a Law Degree with Honours (LLB (Hon)) from the University of Papua New Guinea. Dr. Kwa has also attended and successfully completed specialized training in teaching Environmental Law at the National University of Singapore and on biosafety and biotechnology at the Tromso University, Norway.

Dr. Kwa’s key interests are: Environmental Law; Natural Resources Law; Constitutional Law; and Local Government Law. He has researched and published widely in these areas having published five (5) books, a number of refereed articles and book chapters published locally and internationally, and presented more than 25 papers at both national and international conferences. His most notable books are: Constitutional Law of Papua New Guinea (2001, Law Book Co) and Natural Resources Law of Papua New Guinea (2001, Law Book Co). His most recent work is: Access and Benefit Sharing: Policy and Legal Implications for Papua New Guinea (2011, UPNG Press).

Dr. Kwa has undertaken various consultancies for the PNG Government; multilateral organizations such as the UNDP, AusAid, NZAid, UN/GEF; NGOs and the private sector. He is also an experienced legislative draftsman having drafted more than 12 laws and is a trainer of trainers.

Abstract: Climate Change and Pacific Island Countries: Helping our Neighbours

The countries in the South Pacific are most vulnerable to climatic changes particularly in relation to rising sea levels which will affect their way of life and permanently alter their status, history, culture and future. Based on current science it is now known that melting of the south and north poles will create additional land in these two areas while sea levels will rise in the tropics by more than a meter posing real threats to the low lying Pacific Island countries and the coral islands of bigger countries in Melanesia.
Some of these Pacific Island countries will be erased forever from the world map. A number of islands and coastal areas of other Pacific Island countries will be permanently destroyed. The people in these sinking countries, islands and coastal areas will need help from their neighbouring countries and country men and women to sustain their lives and futures.
As the countries in the region grapple with this challenge, a number of political, social, economic and legal issues must be addressed to assist the people from the sinking island countries and people affected by rising sea levels within countries. I will look at the key legal issues that relate to people affected by climate change and provide some proposals to assist the neighbours whose countries will be decimated by raising sea levels. I have raised these issues at a number of forums and hope to generate discussions on some of these legal issues so that everyone is able to assist the vulnerable peoples of the South Pacific.

Organizing Committee: 11th IUCN Academy of Environmental Law Colloquium 2013