AOSIS Leaders’ Declaration 2014

Forum: Third International Conference on Small Island Developing States (SIDS), Apia, Samoa
Authors: Heads of States and Governments of AOSIS
Date: September 2, 2014
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We, the Heads of States and Governments of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS), meeting in Apia, Independent State of Samoa this 2nd day of September 2014 during the Third International Conference of Small Island Developing States (SIDS),

Reaffirming that SIDS remain a special case for sustainable development in view of our unique and particular vulnerabilities;

Reiterating that climate change continues to pose the most serious threat to our territorial integrity, viability and survival, and that it undermines our efforts to achieve sustainable development goals and threaten our very existence;

Acknowledging the importance of the International Year of Small Island Developing States and its role in raising awareness and mobilizing international support for our sustainable development;

Emphasizing that there is urgent need to address the security implication of climate change, including violation of territorial integrity, existential threat, more frequent and severe climate related disasters, threats to water and food security, increased natural resource scarcity, and forced displacement and the human dimensions of climate change, including where necessary, initiatives for preparing communities for relocation;

Welcoming the adoption of the Small Island Developing States Accelerated Modalities of Action (S.A.M.O.A) Pathway outcome document and the renewed political commitment of the international community to a global partnership and an enhanced international cooperation that will take urgent and concrete actions to address the vulnerability of SIDS;

Reaffirming that the Barbados Programme of Action (BPOA), the Mauritius Strategy of Implementation (MSI) and the S.A.M.O.A Pathway remain the essential blueprints for addressing the sustainable development needs of SIDS. And expressing our continued commitment to their principles and priorities, as well as the Rio Declaration, Agenda 21, the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation on sustainable development (JPOI), and the outcome of the Rio + 20 Conference and stressing the urgent need for their full implementation;

Recognising that the Third International Conference on Small Island Developing States is a once-in-a-decade occasion at which we can highlight our realities, the challenges we face and our determination to show our resilience and commitment to the on-going sustainable development of our countries, for the benefit of our peoples and for future generations;

Recognising our stewardship of the atolls, the islands and the low-lying coastal regions. We understand that it is the land, the seas and oceans surrounding us that define us and that will

largely determine our future. We know that we have inherited them from our forebears and hold them in trust for future generations of our people. Our determination to survive and thrive on these lands is based on these realities; and

Reaffirming the AOSIS Leaders’ Declaration on Climate Change of 2009, AOSIS Leaders’ Declaration of 2012 and the Barbados Declaration on Achieving Sustainable Energy for All in Small Island Developing States of 2012.

Post-2015 Development Agenda

  1. Affirm that the priorities for SIDS need to be incorporated in the design of the post- 2015 development agenda, which should build on the S.A.M.O.A Pathway.
  2. Underscore our commitment to work with the international community to ensure that the post-2015 development agenda and the related Sustainable Development Goals should continue to recognize that SIDS remain a special case for sustainable development in view of their unique and particular vulnerabilities, and advance the priorities of SIDS in these processes. Call for international support for SIDS in their efforts to fully implement the post-2015 development agenda and related goals, including, inter alia, through their full integration into national development plans and programs.
  3. Further affirm the need to establish a global enabling environment inclusive of national and regional dimensions for the post-2015 development agenda that it takes into the need for the full implementation of the BPOA, MSI and the S.A.M.O.A Pathway, which would include a robust global follow-up system to strengthen accountability at all levels and ensure adequate and timely analysis of the implementation of the BPOA, MSI, and the S.A.M.O.A Pathway.
  4. Call for a post-2015 development agenda that mainstreams sustainable development at all levels, integrating economic, social and environmental aspects and recognizing their linkages, so as to achieve sustainable development in all its dimensions with the effective support of the United Nations (UN) system and the international community, in order to reach inter alia, prosperity for all SIDS.
  5. Further call for the development of a global compact reflecting the collective political will of SIDS to support their sustainable development paying particular attention to the imperative of building resilience, increasing competitiveness and expanding the flow of funds for the financing of sustainable development.
  6. Emphasize that, as custodians of vast expanses of oceans, we must have ownership of strategies concerning the sustainable development of oceans and seas. Fisheries, coastal tourism, possible exploitation of seabed resources, potential sources of renewable energy; these are the building blocks of an ocean-based economy. We stress the importance for SIDS to adequately benefit from these resources and to ensure that the burden of conservation and management is not disproportionately transferred to SIDS.
  7. Acknowledge that significant gaps remain in the implementation of the BPOA and the MSI and call for these to be addressed through the full and effective implementation of the S.A.M.O.A Pathway. The post-2015 development agenda must also take the remaining gaps into account.
  8. Stress that strengthened cooperation and partnerships at the national, regional and international levels are vital, and recognise the value of partnerships as a means of building understanding, providing support, and expressing and fulfilling commitments to support SIDS efforts over the long term taking fully into account their challenges, development priorities and national circumstances.
  9. Recall that the High Level Political Forum (HLPF) under the auspices of the ECOSOC shall conduct regular reviews, starting in 2016, on the follow-up and implementation of sustainable development commitments and objectives, including those related to the means of implementation, within the context of the post-2015 development agenda, and in this connection and call for attention to the follow up and implementation of the BPOA, MSI, and the S.A.M.O.A Pathway.
  10. Recognize that SIDS face special challenges in achieving sustainable development, and call for dedicated support for SIDS for the implementation of the BPOA, MSI, and the S.A.M.O.A Pathway, through, inter alia, the provision of new, additional, and predictable financial resources, capacity building, and development and transfer of SIDS appropriate technologies. In this regard, we urge all countries to fulfil their commitments to SIDS.
  11. Call on the UN system and international community to support SIDS in strengthening their national institutions so that their national institutions can become implementing agencies.
  12. Recognize that SIDS possess a wealth of culture, and traditional and indigenous knowledge, which are drivers and enablers for sustainable development, and we call for the development of national, regional, and international mechanisms to promote and protect tangible and intangible cultural heritage, practices and traditional knowledge of SIDS.
  13. Call for increased financial and technical assistance to strengthen SIDS capacity to effectively participate in the multilateral trading system, and reiterate the need for special and differential treatment for SIDS in various trade and economic agreements, including the extension of trade preferences to SIDS and more flexible rules of origin.

Climate Change

  1. Underscore that SIDS are extremely vulnerable to climate change and have demonstrated strong leadership in calling for ambitious and urgent action to address climate change.
  2. Emphasize that while SIDS contribute the least to global emissions, and have limited human, financial and technological resources, our nations continue to take significant actions towards the reduction of our own emissions including through regional and inter- regional energy initiatives.
  3. Stress that the UNFCCC is the primary international, intergovernmental forum for negotiating the global response to climate change in order to protect the global climate and recall its objectives, principles and provisions.
  4. Express concerns over the most recent contributions of the IPCC Working Groups 2 and 3 to the Fifth Assessment Report, which underscore that Small Island Developing States are especially vulnerable to the effects of climate change, sea-level rise, ocean acidification, and extreme weather events. Already, with warming of less than a degree, SIDS are experiencing more frequent and intense storms, droughts, extreme weather events, accelerating sea-level rise and other life-threatening impacts.
  5. Reiterate that climate change is a global challenge, but international action to address climate change remains grossly inadequate, and emissions of greenhouse gases continue to rise globally at a distressing rateWe call for the widest possible cooperation by all countries, with developed countries taking the leadand their participation in an effective and appropriate international response, with a view to accelerating the reduction of global greenhouse gas emissions on the basis of equity and in accordance with their common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities.
  6. Call for urgent global action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to keep the global average temperature increase well below 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, and long-term stabilization of atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations at well below 350ppm CO2-equivalent levels.

Other Post-2015 Processes

  1. Acknowledge the on-going negotiations for a 2015 climate agreement under the UNFCCC and on the post-2015 framework for disaster risk reduction, which must both take into account the special case and particular vulnerabilities of SIDS.
  2. Emphasize that the outcome of the process launched under the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action should be a Protocol under the Convention and must be legally binding and applicable to all Parties, to be adopted no later than 2015 which strengthens the multilateral rules-based and legally binding regime, is based on science and the principles of the UNFCCC and ensures the survival of all SIDS. We urge all Parties to work with an increased sense of urgency and purpose towards an ambitious, comprehensive and meaningful outcome.
  3. Call for mobilization of adequate, predictable, reliable, new and additional resources to support nationally appropriate mitigation actions, adaptation measures, technology development and transfer and capacity building in SIDS for the pre-2020 and post-2020 period including through the fulfilment of the commitments undertaken by developed country Parties to the UNFCCC to a goal of mobilizing jointly USD100 billion annually by 2020 for the full operationalization of the Green Climate Fund through its capitalization as soon as possible. Welcome the recent announcements by Germany and other countries towards the initial capitalization of the Green Climate Fund and continue to urge other developed country parties to contribute significantly to support the effective capitalisation of the fund.
  4. Call for the urgent operationalization of the Warsaw International Mechanism for loss and damage associated with climate impacts and stress that a permanent seat on the Executive Committee of the Warsaw International Mechanism is to be allocated to SIDS.
  5. Stress that the post-2015 framework on disaster risk reduction must be concise, ambitious and action oriented, build on previous achievements, priorities and gaps, and address the need for strengthening national systems for monitoring and implementation. It should also include a periodic review and ensure strengthened international cooperation on disaster risk reduction, particularly the Means of Implementation for SIDS.
  6. Welcome the convening of the Third International Conference on Financing for Development, to be held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, from 13 – 16 July 2015, and emphasize the need for support for the effective participation of SIDS in the preparatory process and the conference.
  7. Note the UN Secretary General’s Climate Summit on 23rd September 2014, and support the call for global efforts to mobilize action and ambition on climate change.
  8. Express our heart-felt appreciation to the Government and People of the Independent State of Samoa for hosting the AOSIS Leaders Meeting as well as the Third International Conference on Small Island Developing States.