Canadians for Action on Climate Change Stands in Solidarity with the AOSIS Declaration on Climate Change 2009
ALLIANCE OF SMALL ISLAND STATES (AOSIS) DECLARATION ON CLIMATE CHANGE 2009
We, the Member States of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS), meeting in New York
this 21st day of September,
Gravely concernedthat climate change poses the most serious threat to our survival and
viability, and, that it undermines our efforts to achieve sustainable development goals and
threatens our very existence;
Alarmed that emerging scientific evidence shows that the effects of human-induced climate
change are worse than previously projected and that the impacts of climate change which we
are already experiencing including sea level rise, more frequent and extreme weather events,
ocean acidification, coral bleaching, coastal erosion, and changing precipitation patterns, will
Greatly disturbedthat despite the mitigation commitments made by Parties to the United
Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and its Kyoto Protocol,
especially those of the developed countries, global emissions continue to increase, leading to
rapidly accelerating impacts, accompanied by costs and burdens that are beyond the ability of
many, but, especially the small island developing states (SIDS) and other particularly vulnerable
countries, to control;
Profoundly disappointedby the lack of apparent ambition within the international climate change
negotiations to protect SIDS and other particularly vulnerable countries, their peoples, culture,
land and ecosystems from the impacts of climate change and our further concern at the slow
pace of these negotiations;
1. Now therefore, we, call upon the international community, with the developed countries
taking the lead, to undertake urgent, ambitious and decisive action to significantly reduce
emissions of all green house gases, including fast action strategies, and to support SIDS,
and other particularly vulnerable countries, in their efforts to adapt to the adverse impacts of
climate change, including through the provision of increased levels of financial and
2. We underscore that adaptation must be an urgent and immediate global priority.
3. We firmly maintain that the UNFCCC is the primary international, intergovernmental forum
for negotiating the global response to climate change.
4. We reaffirm the principles enshrined in the Rio Declaration and the UNFCCC and its Kyoto
Protocol, in particular, the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and
respective capabilities having regard to national circumstances, and, the precautionary
5. We urge all Parties to work with an increased sense of urgency and purpose towards an
ambitious, comprehensive and meaningful outcome that preserves the legal nature of the
international climate change regime and the existing commitments under the UNFCCC and
its Kyoto Protocol.
6. We assert thus that the outcome to be concluded at the fifteenth session of the Conference
of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in
Copenhagen in 2009 should inter alia:
a. Use the avoidance of adverse climate change impacts on SIDS as one of the key
benchmarks for assessing its appropriateness, consistent with the precautionary
principle and the principle of prevention;
b. Adopt a package of mitigation activities, now, up to and beyond 2012 that provides for:
i. long-term stabilization of atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations at well below
350ppm CO2-equivalent levels;
ii. global average surface temperature increases to be limited to well below 1.5° C
above pre-industrial levels;
iii. global greenhouse gas emissions to peak by 2015 and decline thereafter;
iv. reductions in global greenhouse gas emissions by more than 85% below 1990
levels by 2050
v. Annex I parties to the UNFCCC to reduce their collective GHG emissions by more
than 45% below 1990 levels by 2020, and more than 95% below 1990 levels by
2050, given their historical responsibility;
vi. A significant deviation from business as usual by developing countries through
measurable, reportable and verifiable nationally appropriate mitigation actions in
the context of sustainable development, supported and enabled by technology,
financing and capacity-building, in a measurable, reportable and verifiable manner.
c. Provide SIDS with new, additional, predictable, transparent and adequate sources of
grant-based financing to fully meet the adaptation needs of these particularly vulnerable
countries, and ensure for SIDS that access is timely, direct, prioritized and simplified.
d. Call for an urgent and significant scaling up of the provision of financial resources and
investment that is adequate, predictable and sustainable to support action on mitigation
in developing country Parties for the enhanced implementation of national mitigation
strategies; including positive incentives, the mobilization of public- and private-sector
funding and investment and facilitation of carbon-friendly investment choices.
e. Ensure that renewable energy and energy efficiency form essential pillars of future
mitigation actions by all countries, taking into account national circumstances.
f. Establish a mechanism to address loss and damage from climate change comprised of a
disaster risk component, insurance, and compensation funds, to help SIDS manage the
financial and economic risks arising from climate impacts; to assist in the rapid recovery
and rehabilitation from climate related extreme weather events and to address
unavoidable damage and loss associated with the adverse effects of climate change.
g. Provide support to SIDS to enhance their capacities to respond to the challenges
brought on by climate change and to access the technologies that will be required to
undertake needed mitigation actions and to adapt to the adverse impacts of climate
change, noting the obligations of Annex 1 countries under the UNFCCC in this regard;
7. In our voluntary efforts to defeat deforestation and increase carbon sequestration, finance,
technology and capacity development is necessary to underpin a step-wise process for
reducing emissions and increasing carbon sequestration through the conservation and
sustainable management of forest crops which are good carbon dioxide sequestrators.
Based on national circumstances, a well designed REDD Plus instrument will require
resource mobilization from a variety of sources, including public, private and market-based,
as appropriate1, that employ robust methodological standards for measurable, reportable
and verifiable actions. Robust environmental integrity will need to be maintained if a REDD
mechanism is linked to the international carbon markets.
8. Acknowledging the portfolio of technologies identified by the Intergovernmental Panel on
Climate Change to achieve lower stabilization levels, including hydropower, solar, wind,
geothermal and bioenergy and determined to avail ourselves of such technologies as
appropriate and based on their feasibility and applicability, we encourage, where applicable,
national, regional and international efforts for consideration of a process to overcome
technical, economic and policy barriers with a view to facilitating the development and
commercialization of appropriate and affordable low- and zero- emission technologies.
9. We further recognize that the inclusion of Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) is potentially
an important mitigation option for achieving the ambitious emission reduction targets being
supported by AOSIS and urge the development of a program of work on Carbon Capture
and Storage in order to resolve related issues.
1 Tuvalu expressed a reservation on the reference to market-based sources.
10. We also emphasize that there is an urgent need to consider and address the security
implications and the human dimensions of climate change, including where necessary,
initiatives for preparing communities for relocation.
11. We underscore that while SIDS contribute the least to global emissions, and have limited
human, financial and technical resources, our nations continue to take significant actions
towards the reduction of our own emissions including through regional and inter-regional
12. We also recognize the need to reinforce the UNFCCC process by calling on the big emitters
to agree to produce enough clean energy to attain the targets of limiting temperature rise to
1.5 degree Celsius and 350 parts per million of atmospheric greenhouse gas
13. Finally, we express our support for the establishment of the Headquarters of the UNFCCC
Adaptation Fund Board in Barbados.
14. We, the Member States of AOSIS, strongly emphasize the importance of urgent progress
towards a fair and meaningful Copenhagen outcome which, through safeguarding the most
vulnerable countries, ensures a truly shared and sustainable global vision for our present
and future generations.
The Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) is a coalition of small island and low-lying coastal countries that share similar development challenges and concerns about the environment, especially their vulnerability to the adverse effects of global climate change. It functions primarily as an ad hoc lobby and negotiating voice for small island developing States (SIDS) within the United Nations system.
AOSIS has a membership of 42 States and observers, drawn from all oceans and regions of the world: Africa, Caribbean, Indian Ocean, Mediterranean, Pacific and South China Sea. Thirty-seven are members of the United Nations, close to 28 percent of developing countries, and 20 percent of the UN’s total membership. Together, SIDS communities constitute some five percent of the global population.
Member States of AOSIS work together primarily through their New York diplomatic Missions to the United Nations. AOSIS functions on the basis of consultation and consensus. Major policy decisions are taken at ambassadorial-level plenary sessions. The Alliance does not have a formal charter. There is no regular budget, nor a secretariat. With the Permanent Representative of Saint Lucia as its current chairman, AOSIS operates, as it did under previous chairmanships, out of the chairman’s Mission to the United Nations.
AOSIS’s first chairman was Ambassador Robert Van Lierop of Vanuatu (1991-1994), followed by Ambassador Annette des Iles of Trinidad and Tobago (1994-1997), Ambassador Tuiloma Neroni Slade of Samoa (1997-2002), Ambassador Jagdish Koonjul of Mauritius (2002-2005), Ambassador Enele Sopoaga of Tuvalu (acting chairman 2005-2006), Ambassador Julian R. Hunte of Saint Lucia (2006), Ambassador Angus Friday of Grenada (2006 – 2009), and the present chairman Ambassador Dessima Williams of Grenada.