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COP 25 – AOSIS Closing Statement

Madrid, Spain; Sunday, December 12, 2015

Madam President, I have the honour of speaking on behalf of the Alliance of Small Island States. We are especially appreciative of the COP President’s extraordinary work in convening and executing COP 25, in partnership with the Kingdom of Spain, our host country. AOSIS is also thankful for the leadership of the SBI and SBSTA Chairs. 

As people living on the frontiers and in the epicentres of climate risk and vulnerability, we know precisely what ambitious action looks like and how it must be supported. We live with climate impacts daily. So, small islanders fully embraced COP 25’s promise to be the COP of ambition; the COP of action. It is indeed well beyond “Time for Action.”

It is for this reason that AOSIS optimistically called for Parties at COP 25 to seize our last significant window of opportunity to act decisively. Decisive action for us means triggering “Our Decade of Ambition.” 

As people contending with the most egregious and unjust consequences of the climate emergency, we outlined four key measures of ambition:

  1. Closing the mitigation gap to safeguard the Paris Agreement goal of achieving a viable 1.5-degree world
  2. Enhanced action and support for Loss and Damage through a fit-for-purpose Warsaw International Mechanism 
  3. Delivering a new climate finance goal that reflects our ambition for a 1.5-degree world
  4. Guaranteeing robust guidance and rules on markets under Article 6 that:
    • Moves beyond the zero-sum game of pure offsetting
    • Fosters ambition
    • Ensures environmental integrity; and
    • Deliver overall reduction in global emissions

We welcome this Blue COP’s strong show of support for our oceans. Oceans are central to the integrity of the climate system. Action must now follow swiftly.

But, as COP25 draws to a close and islands wade through and beyond the glitzy public relations and buzzwords, we are astounded. We are appalled and dismayed at the failure to come to a decision on critical issues, the scale of inaction, ineffective processes and some Parties’ yeoman commitment to obstruction and regressive anti-science positions. 

Climate action is not a wish. It is a matter of survival and it must be funded. We welcome the near US$90 million pledged to the Adaptation Fund at this meeting. But, adapting to secure 1.5 costs vastly more. 

Loss and damage is an existential issue for AOSIS member states. Several islands in the Pacific have already been inundated, lives have been lost. We all face a similar fate much sooner than previously projected. We know comprehensive climate action. We were the lone voice that raised the need for a comprehensive loss and damage mechanism in 1991 when the Convention was being drafted. So, AOSIS welcomes the decision on the review of the Warsaw International Mechanism (WIM) adopted at COP 25, and would like to associate ourselves in this regard with the statement made by G77 and China.

We are pleased that Parties did not allow the critical issue of governance to scuttle the progress made at COP 25. ​The COP decision on the WIM that has been adopted recognizes that issues related to the governance of the WIM have not been concluded and will therefore continue. We note carefully that nothing in the decisions taken at COP 25 prejudges the outcome of our discussions on WIM governance.

The decisions made here should be honoured and Parties must continue to preserve a space for loss and damage on the Green Climate Fund’s (GCF) board. We also strongly urge developed country Parties to scale up new and additional finance to the operating entities under the Financial Mechanism for the submission of robust cross-cutting projects.

Finally, we fully support market mechanisms. A robust and transparent market mechanism is an element of ambitious climate action. Our failure to comprehensively settle this critical element of the Paris Agreement is disappointing, but we are making progress. We remain concerned that double counting, pre-2020 credits and questionable accounting may undermine environmental integrity and threaten the very core of the Paris Agreement. Where is the ambition?

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The Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) is the most consistent champion for climate action. Formed in 1990 and currently Chaired by Belize, AOSIS is a group of 44 low lying small island and coastal developing states facing insurmountable challenges to our sustainable development due to the escalating impacts of climate change.