AOSIS Ministers Set Out Priorities Ahead of Lima

Mahe, Seychelles—This week, Nauru, Chair of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) convened a meeting of the group’s ministers, which was hosted by the Seychelles government on the shores of the Indian Ocean, ahead of the crucial United Nations climate change conference in Lima in two weeks, which is meant to lay the groundwork for a legally binding climate agreement applicable to all parties to be reached in Paris next year.

The AOSIS meeting provided an opportunity for the group’s ministers to reaffirm their solidarity and identify their priorities for Lima. It took place amidst two events with significant implications for the climate talks: First, an announcement by the United States and China yesterday on their joint-plan for climate action; and second, preparations for a high-level Green Climate Fund pledging conference to be held in Berlin next week. AOSIS’s ministers released the following statement on behalf of the group:

“First, as representatives of island nations facing an existential threat from climate change, we absolutely need an ambitious agreement coming out of Paris next year. This must include strong leadership from the world’s two largest economies. We look forward to more detailed information about how the commitments match up against what is needed to ensure a safe global climate. We recognize the importance of bilateral cooperation between these two countries, but the numbers must add up.

“Second, finance is an integral building block of the 2015 agreement and the GCF pledging conference is a crucial opportunity for developed countries to help build trust after years of broken promises on climate finance. We see US$15 billion as the starting point for initial contributions in Berlin next week and the 2015 agreement must contain commitments by developed country Parties and provisions to ensure scaled-up, adequate, and predictable finance to support mitigation and adaptation.

“Third, we know that to have the best chance of limiting warming to well below 1.5°C –the level needed to protect all of our members – emissions must start coming down immediately, well before 2020. We see the solutions-oriented approach under Workstream 2 of the ADP (the only discussions at the climate talks dealing with near-term reductions) as essential to closing the ambition gap. We implore the world’s largest emitters – both developed and developing countries – to seize this opportunity to dramatically accelerate the implementation of clean energy policies and mobilization of investment in the little time we have remaining to act.

“Finally, we must continue to work in earnest to adopt an ambitious legally binding agreement applicable to all Parties in Paris. It is critical that all countries bring forward ambitious national contributions in early 2015 that are in line with 1.5 degree pathway.

“Climate change is an existential to Small Island States demanding urgent action, we call on top emitters and the world to ensure this rare opportunity is not lost.”