AOSIS Leaders Gather at UNGA

In what has become something of an annual tradition, AOSIS leaders gathered on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly for a luncheon to rejuvenate the group’s 26-year partnership.

In that time, AOSIS has grown to include 39 members and 5 observers from Small Island States around the world, nearly one-fifth of the UN’s voting membership and solidifies its role as the moral conscience of the climate change and sustainable development negotiations.

That group’s leadership was on display this week as 8 AOSIS members—Papua New Guinea, Dominica, Kiribati, Singapore, Tonga, Antigua and Barbuda, Vanuatu, and the Solomon Islands completed their Paris Agreement ratification processes, bringing the members to have done so to 25.

That means as Dr. Mohamed Asim, Maldives’ foreign minister who hosted the luncheon said, “over one-third of the parties to have ratified the Paris Agreement are AOSIS members. We represent a mere fraction of global emissions, but by joining together we have helped bring one of the most consequential international treaties in history to the verge of taking effect.”

The gathering was casual, but conversations still steered to some of the major challenges facing the group and the world today.

Even though the Paris Agreement is on the verge of taking effect this year, the Foreign Minister remarked how important it was for all countries large and small to formally join as soon as possible so the implementation phase can start in earnest.

The point was also made that even though the 2030 Agenda was agreed last year for sustainable development, realizing the objectives was still for from assured. Adequate support to bring people out of poverty and build a sustainable future will require a new sense of urgency and accountability moving forward.

Sounds like a fitting job for an influential group of countries with moral authority that brought the issues to international attention in the first place.