National Communications are valuable for conveying the adverse effects of climate change1999-05-14 Samoa on behalf of AOSIS
Introduction The Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) welcomes this opportunity to further elaborate on the issues relating to articles 4.8 and 4.9. These articles are of fundamental importance to developing countries, in particular AOSIS, but unfortunately they have not received the necessary attention up until now. AOSIS sees this as an important opportunity to move forward the deliberation of the issues in a positive manner and has urged the Conference of the Parties (COP) to start its consideration of what actions are necessary to assist the developing countries included in Articles 4.8 and 4.9 in their efforts against the adverse effects of climate change. In this regard would like to raise a few concerns. AOSIS values the discussions currently undertaken on this issue, in order to establish a process for considering Articles 4.8 and 4.9 of the UNFCCC. A key point is that both concepts whilst being considered jointly at the initial stage must also in the early stages pave the way for further in-depth consideration as separate concepts. AOSIS is of the view that those countries recognized under Article 4.8 will be those most vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change. AOSIS feels that preliminary discussions of considering jointly both Articles have been fruitful in the context of assessing the sense of other Parties on this very important issue. However, AOSIS is of the opinion that Parties must look at the adverse effects of climate change as a premise for assisting those countries most vulnerable. I. Process It is clear to AOSIS that only the developing countries themselves can identify and highlight their concerns in the areas of funding, insurance and the transfer of technology under these articles. The best methodology for doing so appears at this stage to be the national communications from Parties not included in Annex 1. Further opportunity should be given for the developing countries to explore what other means could be used by the COP to better reflect these concerns. AOSIS views it as most important that each National Communication should outline information on the adverse effects of climate change, including anecdotal information. Although conventional science gathering methodologies of industrialized countries are an accepted norm in many parts of the world, many of the AOSIS members have a wealth of information related to climate change and this information needs to be considered alongside conventional science. Furthermore, AOSIS views the importance of the work of the IPCC in assisting Parties to fill in gaps and provide information on the adverse effects of climate change. Both the 1st and 2nd Assessment Reports moved to assist us in this context, and it is hoped that the Third Assessment Report will be able to build upon the previous reports with a focused view on the special needs and concerns of small island states. II. Analysis AOSIS Members are concerned that we proceed speedily but with some degree of analytical consideration. While adaptation projects will be the decision of Governments, there will be a need to show how one has arrived at the conclusion that a given project is good for the adaptation of the country. A number of countries that are members of AOSIS are fulfilling their requirements under the UNFCCC to develop and complete their National Communications. One of the most important components of each of these communications is the outline on the vulnerability of the country to the adverse effects of climate change and possible options to adapt to those effects. Recent agreements at COP4 have enabled AOSIS members to take a look forward at how adaptation planning and technologies may be further considered in detail in the context of the Second National Communication. It is also important to address the issue of what constitutes appropriate alternative technology. Parties should be assisted in their efforts to assess and evaluate different technologies, as well as in sharing of information. III. Further discussion and problem solving The above section notwithstanding, AOSIS has been disappointed with past discussions in that not enough effort has gone into producing innovative approaches to adaptation. There are indeed very few adaptation technologies available, and AOSIS feels that further and intensified work is required. This should contribute to the discussion of adaptation problems, and assist particularly vulnerable countries to make informed decisions. AOSIS feels that the most critical aspects of recognizing the special needs and concerns of its members will be in the context of the transfer of technologies, particularly adaptation technologies, and the financing of implementing technologies in member countries. AOSIS is of the view that linking the concept to measures which provide for actual results to island communities is one of the most vital issues we are seeking to address. AOSIS would therefore support any efforts that the FCCC Secretariat may be able to undertake to assist the Parties in advancing the discussion on the issue of adaptation, as well as on adaptation technologies and strategies. IV. Linkages with other activities under the Convention There are clear linkages to issues such as public awareness and education, as well as the issue of financing of adaptation. AOSIS feels strongly that this particular linkage should be highlighted as an important issue under the Convention. However, AOSIS feels that it is premature to make a formal linkage to the issues which will arise under the Kyoto Protocol, until such time as the Protocol is nearer to entry into force. V. Participation AOSIS Members are particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change. It is not a coincidence that ‘small island countries’ are listed at the top of the list of countries most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. Indeed the very survival of many of these countries hinge on the ability of the international community to implement the provisions of these articles of the Convention. Hence, it is absolutely vital that AOSIS experts be invited to the workshop for an effective and balanced discussion on these important issues, and that the participation by AOSIS Government delegates be facilitated. Such participation could also have wider benefits for the AOSIS membership as a whole through the sharing of information and experience. Conclusion AOSIS looks forward to the further work on this important issue, and considers that this is an area where the FCCC Secretariat could usefully cooperate with other agencies and departments of the UN system, such as the Small Island Developing States Unit of the Department for Economic and Social Affairs, as well as with SIDSNet.
Sub Topic: Loss & Damage