On the occasion of the 23rd session of the Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC COP 23 Fiji) in Bonn, on 16 November 2017, we the Ministers and high-level representatives of Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS), congratulate the Republic of Fiji on assuming the Presidency of this 23rd Conference and on being the first Small Island Developing State to host this critically important international event, and we express appreciation to the Federal Republic of Germany for its facilitation and accommodation.

Recognizing the central elements of the Fiji Vision for the Presidency, which promise to deliver transparency and inclusiveness for all, to advance implementation of the Paris Agreement and to accelerate climate action for vulnerable societies drawing on Small Island Developing States’ (SIDS) experiences,

Noting the particular vulnerability of SIDS to the impacts of climate change,

Concerned by the devastation already inflicted on SIDS by climate change impacts at current levels of warming, including intensifying extreme weather events, sea level rise, and ocean acidification,

Alarmed by the clear scientific evidence that unless warming is kept below 1.5°C, SIDS will face further intolerable and existential threats,

Aware of the need to rapidly build resilience, and stressing the urgent need for support in this regard to address adaptation as well as loss and damage,

Concerned by the difficulties that SIDS continue to experience in navigating the modalities for accessing international climate finance facilities,

And recalling Article 9 para 9 of the Paris Agreement which calls for “efficient access to financial resources through simplified approval procedures and enhanced readiness support for developing country Parties, in particular for the least developed countries and small island developing States, in the context of their national climate strategies and plans,

Reiterating long-standing concerns about the unfair classification and graduation of developing countries, in particular SIDS, based on GDP,

Noting with appreciation the ambitious Nationally Determined Contributions submitted by SIDS and their commitment to implementing them,

Further noting the need for adequate support for the implementation of these Nationally Determined Contributions,

Recognizing the urgency for action, brought into focus by the unprecedented impacts of the 2017 Hurricane Season in the Caribbean,

Recognizing also that climate impacts in all SIDS are becoming more frequent and more severe,

Further recognizing the importance of seeing increased mitigation ambition in the NDCs to be communicated by 2020,

We the members of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) who are party to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Agreement, further:

Endorse and support the call of the SIDS for the financing of resilience building and development;

Endorse and support the continued championing of the effort to limit global temperature rise to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels;

Call for the simplification of the modalities for accessing the international climate finance mechanisms;

Call for establishment of a fast-track mechanism for resilience building and development in SIDS;

Call for rolling back of the graduation criteria based on GDP, to realistically reflect the special circumstances of SIDS in the context of impacts of climate change;

Call for increased financial, technological  and capacity support for the implementation of Nationally Determined Contributions of SIDS;

Further call for increased attention to loss and damage and the need to:

  • build capacities to comprehensively assess risks;
  • develop and implement approaches to address slow onset events;
  • assess and enhance scientific research on loss and damage; and
  • access finance for loss and damage, including by creating a link to the Financial Mechanism of the Convention.

We reiterate the special circumstance and needs arising from the adverse impacts of climate change on SIDS and support the coalition that calls for harnessing much needed assistance for the mitigation and adaptation efforts of SIDS. We further reiterate the urgent need for accelerating action on the climate agenda. The impacts of recent disasters, particularly in Caribbean and Pacific SIDS, punctuate the urgency of now.