As COP26 Closes the Paris Agreement Work Programme, We Must Race To Resilience

2021-11-13 Lia Nicholson, AOSIS Lead Climate Negotiator Download PDF

Topic: Climate

Statement on behalf of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) at the
Joint Closing Plenary of COP, CMP, CMA

Mr. President

Antigua and Barbuda takes the floor on behalf of the Alliance of Small Island States. We associate ourselves with the statement by the Republic of Guinea on behalf of the Group of 77 and China.

We thank the COP Presidency for your tireless efforts to support nearly 200 Parties to cross this finish line. You pulled off a tremendous international event in the midst of a global pandemic. Addressing the climate crisis could not wait.

We appreciate the people of Glasgow and Edinburgh, whose warm hospitality kept us going over these weeks. We thank you.

And to the engine behind this process: UNFCCC Secretariat and hundreds of staff that made this possible. We recognise and commend your efforts.

The Paris Agreement Work Programme is completed. After years of deliberation, we overcame our differences and found a common path to guide implementation.

One common time frame synchronises our efforts in the plan-implement-evaluate cycle.

The enhanced transparency framework will build mutual trust – the currency of multilateralism.

Article 6 is now agreed. The mandatory 2% cancellation rate under 6.4 is major compromise from our AOSIS position. The small silver lining is that we will revisit this rate, in 5 years, with a track record on the overall impact of the markets on global emissions.

Finance Day at COP26 celebrated “historic” climate commitments from companies covering 130 trillion dollars in financial assets.

We implore the private sector to apply today’s new best practice guidelines, especially the 5% share of proceeds for adaptation and 2% cancellation rate, as they use the carbon market in Article 6.2.

We have done our job with Article 6, to the best of our abilities. It is time for the private sector to do their job, too.

On loss and damage,

Despite our best efforts, at both political and technical levels, AOSIS was not successful in listing loss and damage as a distinct category in the transparency framework for support. Particularly vulnerable countries must report loss and damage in a catch-all column at the end, marginalising a priority.

We recognise the Presidency’s efforts to create the space to try to find common ground,
the final landing zone is not even close to capturing the essence of what we hoped.

While happy that the Santiago Network has finally been given a mandate and functions to do work, technical assistance is only a minor part of the overall solution.

Small island nations are already borrowing money to cope with, and recover from, extreme and slow onset climate costs, forced to tap into pension funds, relocate communities, manage internal displacement and external migration.

When elephants fight, it is the grass that gets trampled.

The United Nations Climate Change Convention must protect the most vulnerable nations. Yet, safeguards are not in place. When the few hectares of an island’s arable land are lost to seawater intrusion, imported food now costs five times as much, what next? When a hurricane destroys hospitals and schools, what next?

One-off finance pledges do not give us the confidence that our future is secure.

We know, that you know, that island states can no longer absorb the costs of pollution from others.

At COP26, we relented on the Loss and Damage Finance Facility reluctantly, because this package in front of us is our best shot at keeping 1.5 alive. Looking ahead, COP27 will be a referendum for climate justice.

On mitigation ambition,

At yesterday’s plenary meeting we heard unanimous and profound calls for urgent actions for the sake of our future generations and a clear shift in this room to support keeping 1.5 alive.

Today, we have not closed the 1.5-degree emissions gap. But we have set out a process that keeps it within reach – but only if each and every Party does their part, coming back to the table with higher pre-2030 ambition.

And implement these plans. Implementation mode requires that we not only talk theoretically about emissions pathways, but also concretely about sources of emissions and sectors and technologies to scale urgently. The same applies to adaptation and resilience, where risks are more insidious and harder to quantify than tonnes of emissions, but equally important. AOSIS welcomes the 2-year work plan ahead, on the global goal on adaptation. The goal of at least doubling adaptation finance is critical, coupled with the concrete measures to improve access.

On finance,

The finance decision has galvanized the need for institutions to include climate vulnerabilities in concessional finance and other forms of support. While we have arrived at an acceptable package on finance, the language is slippery. We have been burned before. We heard that our developed country partners will hold themselves to the same standards they hold us to when delivering on these financial obligations. As Small Island States, we are pleased that the ocean, which plays an important role in solving the climate crisis, has been given due recognition. We welcome the decision text on a forum and the invitation to constituted bodies to advance our collective ocean-and-climate understanding.

Together we need to sprint ahead on the race to zero and race to resilience, powered by the race to deliver the 100 billion and beyond commitment.It’s been a pleasure to work in person again.

I thank you.

Sub Topic: Cross-cutting


Meeting: COP26