AOSIS Calls For SIDS-Led Solutions At Pacific Islands ConferenceAugust 18, 2023
Topic: Sustainable Development
AOSIS Calls For SIDS-Led Solutions At Pacific Islands Conference
Pivotal meeting produces regional agreement on SIDS priorities ahead of the Fourth International Conference on SIDS
August 18, 2023
Leaders from small island developing states (SIDS) across the Pacific region convened in Nuku’alofa, Tonga, on August 16th – 18th for the seminal Preparatory Meeting of the 4th International Conference on SIDS. Participants put forth solutions which can lead to a turning point in addressing the challenges of these vulnerable countries which are dealing with multiple crises, while striving to safeguard their people and economies. This marked the final meeting of the SIDS regions which comprise the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS), following regional meetings for the African, Indian and South China Seas, as well as the Caribbean.
These meetings are critical constituents for the milestone Fourth UN International Conference on SIDS (SIDS 4), which is being convened by the United Nations General Assembly and will bring world leaders together to agree on a cogent new plan to achieve sustainable development for SIDS. SIDS 4, which will take place in May 2024 in Antigua and Barbuda, will be the first UN meeting of global leaders and development partners to chart an action plan for SIDS in a decade. The Conference will assess the progress of the SIDS Accelerated Modalities of Action (S.A.M.O.A.) Pathway, the landmark 10-year SIDS sustainable development plan which was agreed at the last Conference.
In her address, the Chair of AOSIS, Peseta Noumea Simi, noted “Over the last thirty years, we have watched our coastlines disappear, our debt amassed to unsustainable levels, and our people struggle. As in all SIDS’s regions, agriculture, fisheries and tourism have been severely affected. We face a situation of insufficient effort and lack of urgency. And action has not been commensurate with need.”
“Climate change exacts its toll across our region daily. Sea level rise threatens homes, ravishes infrastructure and devastates livelihoods. Rising temperatures are making droughts more pronounced and agriculture more difficult. The hurricane season will soon be upon us. And we know that one of us, or a few of us, will be impacted. Others will wrestle with severe drought. Across the board we will increasingly be affected by extreme weather events. Ocean acidification and marine pollution threaten crops and fisheries. The economic viability of countries in our region remains under constant threat. And if we are not vigilant and proactive, Pacific debt will spiral out of control, leaving little room to maneuver.”
Ms. Simi emphasized the toll climate change is exacting across the region as well as the debilitating impact of debt, and called for “a SIDS-led process for SIDS and a bold vision for resilient prosperity.”
An outcome document from the meeting has been established and will inform the priorities for SIDS 4.
AOSIS noted its continued commitment to amplifying these messages and priorities at international fora to galvanize strong support from the global community for SIDS sustainable development.
About AOSIS: Since 1990, AOSIS has represented the interests of the 39 small island and low-lying coastal developing states in international climate change, sustainable development negotiations and processes. As a voice for the vulnerable, its mandate is more than amplifying marginalised voices as it also advocates for these countries’ interests. In terms of size, AOSIS closely resembles the countries it represents on the global stage, but often punches far above its weight, negotiating historic global commitments to cut greenhouse gas emissions, among other achievements.
Bianca Beddoe | Communications Advisor