Our Strength is Our Unity – AOSIS Opening Statement at COP28

November 30, 2023 AOSIS Chair Download PDF

Topic: Climate

● Samoa is honored to speak on behalf of Small Island Developing States. We are 39 small island and low-lying coastal nations that are most vulnerable to climate change. ● We align ourselves to the statement made by Cuba on behalf of G77 and China. ● Let me also join others in congratulating your Excellency for assuming the Presidency of COP28. We reiterate our support for and indeed count on your leadership as you steer us toward impactful long-lasting outcomes. ● Mr. President. ● In Samoa, we have a saying: “E so’o le fau I le fau”. “Unity is strength”. Let us make sure when making our climate commitments at this COP we truly band together and cement them with a genuine intention to work together for the greater good. We are being presented at this COP with a pivotal opportunity that we must grasp with both hands. Our world is at a tipping point, and it is only through our unity that we will have the strength to pull ourselves back from the brink. ● Excellencies and friends, I remind you of our solemn duty to “leave no one behind”. The women, men and children from my vulnerable islands are wondering if we have forgotten this promise. The people of Vanuatu, where category 5 cyclone Harold caused $500 million in loss and damage. The people of Tuvalu, where rising seas are swallowing the land. Our small island communities are struggling with drought, lack of access to drinking water, debilitated agricultural yields, loss of livelihoods, displacement from our homes that are the legacies of our ancestors. ● This is happening right now, at our present level of warming. This is why AOSIS will not, cannot, stop fighting to keep 1.5 alive. ● We must stand together. Our lives depend on this, and COP28 is our first chance as a global community to reflect on how well we are doing in implementing the Paris Agreement. In doing so, we must assess how well we are doing in reducing emissions, how resilient our communities have become and how much finance is flowing to particularly vulnerable countries and more importantly have these countries been able to access it? ● The IPCC’s sixth assessment report, supported by the recent GST synthesis report, indicates that we are nowhere near what we all collectively agreed to at COP21. Exceeding the critical 1.5C temperature goal is not something that AOSIS can support. The 1.5 degree goal is not merely a number for us, it represents our lives and livelihoods, the environments we depend on, our economies and our social wellbeing. ● When it comes to climate change, SIDS remain a special case with special circumstances as has been recognized by this august body, and any outcomes from this COP must ensure that this is acknowledged and protected. We are the most vulnerable nations on the planet and have contributed the least to this climate crisis – or as the Secretary General calls it the “era of global boiling’. We find ourselves in situation that is working to undermine our unique circumstances and indeed threatens the very existence of our members. ● Mr. President. [Agenda items] ● We commend you and your team’s efforts prior to COP28 for undertaking consultations so that we can agree on an agenda that is balanced and highly ambitious. Also, through you we thank all the parties who have demonstrated flexibility to proceed with the critical task before us without delay. ● We must ensure that all the agenda items that were proposed by parties prior to the COP are given the level of attention required in as effective and efficient a manner as possible. We trust that under your able leadership we will be able to deliver on this aim. ● Mr. President, allow me to set out AOSIS’ priorities for this COP. ● Matters related to Science ● The IPCC AR6 report is a wakeup call on the urgency required for taking climate action now. Failure to act is not something we can support. DOWNLOAD PDF FOR FULL VERSION

Sub Topic: Mitigation


Meeting: COP27