Statement on behalf of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) at the joint SBSTA and SBI Closing Plenary (SB58)June 15, 2023
Executive Secretary Stiell Distinguished Chairs of the Subsidiary Bodies Colleagues Samoa delivers this statement on behalf of the 39 members of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS). [We associate ourselves with the statement made by the Group of 77 and China.] AOSIS wishes to begin by reminding the world that this process is supposed to be guided by the latest and best available science. The findings of the IPCC AR6 report affirms in no uncertain terms the dire consequences for small island developing states in a 1.5 degree world, and we urge all Parties to use all IPCC reports, reports that are accepted by all member governments. These confirm that we are far off track from achieving this target, and sets out the collective actions that we need to take in order to keep this goal within reach. With this in mind, we approached this session with a sense of urgency to course correct, and ensure that we are on a pathway that does not further compromise the future of our vulnerable island nations. Therefore, we are shocked by the lack of momentum, stagnation and in some cases even regression that we encountered during this session. The necessity to pursue 1.5 degree consistent pathways was put on trial, and we spent the entire session debating whether the Mitigation Work Programme should be featured on the agenda for this session. We are also appalled by the harassment that some delegates faced during these negotiations, and take this opportunity to remind everyone in this room that these are diplomatic multilateral negotiations that must adhere to the code of conduct, which must be upheld throughout the process. These factors obviously failed to create the conducive environment that we need for substantive discussion and necessary progress. This should not be the tone that we set for ourselves as we march towards COP 28, especially as we are undertaking the Global Stock take of the Paris Agreement with the aim of sending the world the right signal on the direction we need to be heading. We had rich discussions during the Technical Dialogues and other associated events for the Global Stock take that enabled a better collective understanding of how the outcomes of the GST should be shaped, and we must now transform the extensive inputs and dialogues into a strong political signal at the highest levels to align implementation pathways with the 1.5 degree temperature goal. In this regard, we encourage the high-level committee to put arrangements in place for a process that involves heads of state and government at the earliest opportunity. We are concerned that such a process has yet to emerge but we have full confidence that the high-level committee will be able to deliver on this front. AOSIS also recognizes the progress made during this session in formulating a potential outline for the structure of the CMA 5 decision, and we reiterate the need to develop a technical annex that can help us to accelerate implementation in this critical decade and to inform the development of the new iteration of NDCs for the post 2030 period. There is an urgent need to close the ambition and implementation gap with emissions peaking immediately, at the very latest before 2025, and emissions halved by 2030. The Mitigation Work Programme has a meaningful and practical role in providing guidance and actionable solutions for bridging these gaps, and helping to put us on track to stay below 1.5 degree of warming. We are therefore deeply disappointed that there was no agreement on the inclusion of this item on the agenda for the session, and emphasize the need for it to be included for every during SB session. Despite this setback, we hope to build on the outcome to enhance future dialogues. We must also utilize submissions and the limited space we have to start formulating the strong mitigation outcomes that we need delivered at COP 28. On Article 6, AOSIS is very concerned that the Parties remain far apart on some issues that may have great significance for transparency and accountability. For the credibility of our process, we need a clear up-front understanding of the cooperative approaches Parties intend to use. AOSIS emphasizes that all cooperative approaches must deliver greater mitigation and adaptation ambition through the application of SOP and OMGE, as mandated under Article 6.4 and as strongly encouraged in Glasgow under Article 6.2. The whole world is already experiencing the impacts of climate change, and developing countries are on the frontlines, with the least capacity to respond. Adaptation, therefore, remains a critical priority, especially for the most vulnerable. On the GGA, it was clear from the beginning that developing countries, including SIDS, wanted to see discussions captured and for the work undertaken here at SB58 to have meaningful contribution at CMA5 in Dubai. We greatly appreciate the flexibility shown by all Parties to agree on text here in Bonn to ensure progress on the GGA and we appreciate the compromise shown on all sides. It is also important to recognize that the escalating impacts of climate change have exceeded the adaptation capacity of SIDS, and loss and damage is a reality, not an eventuality. Our calls for action over the last three decades were not met, and we are now seeking justice. We must urgently operationalize the instruments that we need to comprehensively address this. AOSIS welcomes the opportunity provided by the second Glasgow Dialogue to engage in a discussion on our vision for the newly established loss and damage fund and funding arrangements. We look forward to the SBI Chair’s report on the Dialogue, which we expect to be comprehensive and inclusive of SIDS’ priorities and experiences, and also made available well in advance of the third meeting of the Transitional Committee. While we were unable to reach agreement on recommending a host for the secretariat of the Santiago network, AOSIS wishes to emphasize the importance of making this important decision based on merits, to ensure an effective and functional secretariat that best serves vulnerable countries. We are keen to resolve this matter as a matter of urgency, and are therefore grateful that the guidance on the critical matters to be included in the memorandum of understanding that we agreed upon has been captured, and will be taken forward so that we do not need to start from scratch. Finance is what underpins all actions under this regime. While for the most part, we were limited to discussing finance in dialogues and workshops, its centrality to every aspect of our work is axiomatic. Our commitment to implementing ambitious action is not just a statement. It is a commitment to act. But we cannot afford to make good on all aspects of that commitment from our own limited resources especially when those very resources are also being used to respond to extreme weather events and the loss and damage associated with climate change. We look to making further progress on the new collective quantified goal to operationalize the special circumstances of SIDS. There is also a need to make meaningful changes in how the financial architecture responds and caters to our needs. Nevertheless, AOSIS welcomes the successful initiation of the SCF Review. However, we express our concerns with the lack of progress on the items dealing with support for transparency under the Convention and Paris Agreement. We are also glad that we were able to agree on the 2024-2025 budget here, but it was hard and less than two thirds of mandated activities will be funded. We expect, as is reflected in the decision, that for future budgets, all mandated activities are funded through mandatory contributions. Looking ahead, we must leverage the incremental gains from this session, and continue dialogue to build trust and mutual understanding between now and Dubai. However, we need more space in the time available to us to advance these discussions in order to reach our common landing zones and deliver ambitious outcomes at COP 28. Given the strong commitment of the incoming COP Presidency to ensure success in Dubai, we are confident that the UAE will find the right avenues in the months ahead to enable these discussions in an inclusive manner. AOSIS emphasizes the need to pay attention to capacity constraints faced by SIDS and LDCs and ensure equity and inclusiveness in the work that lies ahead. As the Prime Minister of Samoa has stated: climate change is at the heart of our vulnerabilities as nations and peoples. While we may be the worst affected, the real solution is not in our hands especially when it comes to global emission reductions. There are no tradeoffs, we are negotiating the survival of our islands. Thank you.
Sub Topic: Mitigation