New LISD Policy Paper on "Self-Determination and Sea-Level Rise" by Barbara Buckinx, Matt Edbrooke, and Rana Ibrahem


In the fall of 2020, the Liechtenstein Institute on Self-Determination at Princeton University (LISD) and the Liechtenstein Mission to the United Nations, New York, organized a series of seminars to discuss the consequences of sea-level rise for self-determination. According to the latest projections of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, man-made global warming is likely to cause global sea levels to rise significantly over the course of this century, presenting an existential physical threat to the territorial integrity of low-lying island States and threatening their right to self-determination. Representatives of immediately affected States, scholars, lawyers, and other experts met to discuss the situation, as well as the status of measures being taken to address the consequences of rising sea levels, under four headings: Statehood and Sovereignty, Citizenship and Statelessness, Adaptation, and UN Responses.


LISD's latest report, "Self-Determination and Sea-level Rise," summarizes said workshop held between September and December 2020. The workshop and this report are products of LISD’s Project on Self-Determination, Environment, and Migration. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the workshop was divided into four seminars, taking place via video teleconference and under the Chatham House Rule.


About the Authors

Barbara Buckinx is Associate Research Scholar and Director of the Project on Self-Determination, Environment, and Migration at the Liechtenstein Institute on Self-Determination, and Lecturer in Public and International Affairs at the Princeton School of Public and International Affairs, Princeton University. She received her PhD in Politics from Princeton University and holds MA and MSc degrees in Psychology and Social and Political Theory, both from the University of Edinburgh. Prior to returning to Princeton, she was a predoctoral fellow with the Political Theory Project at Brown University, a Justitia Amplificata and Kassel Foundation postdoctoral fellow at Goethe University Frankfurt, and a Fellow with the Center on Global Justice at the University of California, San Diego. Her work has appeared in Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy, Migration Studies, Ethics & International Affairs, and Global Justice: Theory Practice Rhetoric. She is coeditor of Domination and Global Political Justice: Conceptual, Historical, and Institutional Perspectives (Routledge, 2015).


Matt Edbrooke is the Political and Scientific Advisor on Self-Determination at the Liechtenstein Mission to the United Nations. He joined the Liechtenstein Mission after working as a Political Advisor to the Somaliland Ministry of Foreign Affairs & International Cooperation. Previous to this, Matt was the A. Whitney Ellsworth Fellow at Independent Diplomat, an organization that provides diplomatic expertise and assistance to marginalized peoples and groups. He holds an MSc from the University of Oxford and a BA from the University of Exeter.


Rana Ibrahem is a research specialist at Princeton’s Liechtenstein Institute on Self-Determination (LISD), where her portfolio includes the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) and the Liechtenstein Colloquium on European and International Affairs (LCM), an international forum for multi-track diplomacy and conflict resolution. As the OSCE project manager, Rana devised and implemented an Academic Advisory Program for the 2017 Austrian Presidency of the OSCE in close collaboration with the chairmanship team in Vienna, which includes a series of international conferences and private workshops that addressed trust-building in multilateral negotiations, widespread misinformation, and extremism and radicalization. As part of her work in the Middle East and North Africa, Ibrahem worked as a policy fellow with Endeavor, in Amman, Jordan. Rana holds a BA in the School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University. Her latest publications are “The Unreconciled US Civil War” in Kerr, R., Redwood, H., & Gow, J. (Eds.) Reconciliation after War: Historical Perspectives on Transitional Justice (1st ed., 2021), and “Deep Unreconciliation,” a Working Paper for LISD.