UNITED NATIONS–AOSIS Ministers met here today on the sidelines of the 70th Session of the United Nations General Assembly to discuss key issues related to the highly anticipated climate change negotiations that begin in Paris at the end of the year.
“The meeting here in New York is the last opportunity for leaders to look each other in the eye and commit to doing what is necessary in Paris,” said Thoriq Ibrahim, Minister of Environment and Energy for the Maldives and Chair of AOSIS.
With only 5 negotiating days remaining before delegations descend on Paris for the 21st Conference of the Parties, which are widely regarded as the last best opportunity to adopt a global climate change treaty in time to avert the worst impacts of the crisis, time is growing short, especially because key differences still remain on what the 2015 agreement should look like.
To be sure, the AOSIS leaders gathered to review the group’s key positions and reaffirm their support for the strongest possible outcome.
AOSIS has long said that Paris must result in a deal that balances four essential components: mitigation,finance, adaptation, and loss and damage.
In terms of the Paris agreement, AOSIS is of the view it must be an ambitious, legally binding Protocol capable of limiting warming to below 1.5 degrees. It will therefore need to be designed to increase ambition through consecutive commitments toward achieving this imperative.
It must also fill gaps in the current climate finance architecture and flows and provide for a significant increase of support for adaptation projects; barriers to access for capacity-constrained countries must also be addressed.
Finally, AOSIS has stressed, that with the effects of climate change already taking a toll, and slow-onset impacts such as ocean acidification and sea level rise, now impossible to avoid, loss and damage must be anchored and given permanence in the 2015 agreement.
“Recent history shows that if we wait to the eleventh hour, opportunities like the one before us can easily slip away. But this time there will be no going back,” said Ibrahim.