AOSIS Climate Summit Address

The following statement was delivered today by His Excellency the Honourable Baron Waqa M.P., President of the Republic of Nauru and Chair of the Alliance of Small Island States, at the United Nations Climate Summit 2014 on behalf of the coalition of 44 low-lying and coastal nations. 

Nauru has the honour to speak on behalf of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS), a group of 44 countries that are among the most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.

Mr. Secretary General,

AOSIS commends your efforts for convening this historic Summit. You have long been a champion of action to address climate change and it will be remembered as one of your greatest legacies.

We look for your continued leadership in advancing the announcements and initiatives coming out of the Summit.

You have called upon Leaders to arrive in New York with bold announcements. AOSIS is here to answer your call.

No one better understands the grave risks posed by climate change than SIDS. Climate change and sea level rise are already threatening our viability and even our existence as sovereign nations.

The science is clear: The window to achieve a 2 degree or 1.5 degree pathway is rapidly closing.

We understand the risks, and we are taking action. We will continue to lead.

SIDS have set some of the most ambitious renewable energy and energy efficiency targets in the world. They have been adopted in our legislation and enshrined in international declarations, such as the Barbados and Majuro Declarations.

AOSIS is committed to finalizing an ambitious, meaningful, and universal agreement in Paris that is capable of achieving the AOSIS agreed 1.5 degree temperature goal.

In fact, as part of our intellectual contribution to this Summit we have submitted a report entitled, “Tackling the Challenge of Climate Change” – that captures the views of 30 climate, energy, and land-use experts on the many concrete solutions available for reducing emissions in the near term. Most importantly, it underscores the need for urgent action.

We are also formulating our intended Nationally Determined Contributions and encourage all others to do so as well.  We need bold iNDCs from all nations. Developed countries must take the lead, both in terms of reducing their own emissions and providing developing countries with the necessary means of implementation to mitigate and adapt. To be successful we must all do our part.

The certainty of climate finance is essential in building the trust needed for an agreement. That is why we are calling for an initial capitalization of the GCF with $15 Billion USD and simplified access for SIDS.

Earlier this month, we concluded the very successful Third International Conference on SIDS in Samoa, where over 100 partnerships on sustainable energy were announced. For example, many of us have joined IRENA’s SIDS Lighthouses Initiative. This ambitious programme provides a framework to help us with our rapid transition to clean sources of energy and we look forward to further progress in the months ahead.

Some of our Members also took part in signing the Statute Establishing SIDS Dock, which provides an excellent opportunity for SIDS-SIDS cooperation on renewable energy.

Of course, we know that some impacts of climate change will be unavoidable, and therefore we must hasten the development of the Warsaw International Mechanism to address Loss and Damage. We have seen how mechanisms like the Caribbean Catastrophe Risk Insurance Facility can respond to our urgent needs and we expect the new mechanism to build on this success.

This Summit is about action. AOSIS is prepared to do its part, and we are looking for partners to join us. We have not lost hope. Our task is urgent and difficult, but achievable.

Thank you.