Following on from the announcement of the confirmed speakers for Plenary Session 3 Vulnerable Communities and Climate Change, the Organizing Committee is delighted to profile Dr Justin Rose, Environmental Law and Policy Adviser, Government of the Federated States of Micronesia, who will present a paper on “Strengths and Vulnerabilities of Micronesian Communities in Confronting the Challenges of Climate Change” on Thursday 27 June: 9.00am-11.00am.


Dr Justin Rose’s career in government, civil society and academia spans a diversity of environmental law roles - from developing and drafting legislation in seven jurisdictions to leading the Greenpeace Pacific campaign against illegal and unsustainable logging in Melanesia. Justin’s work has included positions with national and state-level government agencies in Australia and the Pacific islands, being the inaugural coordinator of the Master of Environmental Laws Program at the University of the South Pacific, and contributing to the work of various civil society organizations as both a manager and consulting specialist. Justin’s current role involves assisting the Government of the Federated States of Micronesia in revising and developing its environmental regulatory and legislative systems, including preparing domestic implementing legislation for seven multilateral environment agreements. Justin’s publications include articles and papers in the area of regionalism in environmental law, environmental governance by customary institutions, and trust funds supporting environmental programs in the Pacific.

Abstract: Strengths and Vulnerabilities of Micronesian Communities in Confronting the Challenges of Climate Change

This paper addresses the session’s theme from two separate but related perspectives. It firstly overviews the policies and programs currently being undertaken by Micronesian governments and other stakeholders in responding to the impacts of climate change that are already being experienced throughout the country, most acutely in remote atolls. Secondly, it critically re-evaluates the increasingly common discourse characterizing certain societies, such as those of small Pacific islands, as being uniquely or especially weak or vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. Labels such as vulnerability and community, frequently applied in these contexts, are questioned and contested. Also identified and emphasized are various important strengths displayed by Micronesia’s polities as they confront the grim reality of a rapidly changing climate. These include a wealth of traditional knowledge, long histories of successfully adapting to climatic variation, and deep reserves of social capital, that they are drawing upon in meeting these challenges.

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