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“Climate change inundation” presents a unique challenge to the territorial, legal, and political infrastructure of low-lying atoll island states, and to the autonomy and independence of their populations. This article examines this challenge from the perspective of self-determination, a legal principle whose relevance in this context has been widely acknowledged but not yet explored in detail. It identifies atoll island populations as self-determining peoples and argues for the recognition of climate change inundation as a grave external threat to their self-determination. It then proposes a collective decision-making framework for atoll island peoples, drawing inspiration from the Declaration on Friendly Relations.