"This is reality and tomorrow is going to be worse than today.”- Hon. Col. Samuela Saumatua, Fiji's Minister of Local Government, Housing, Urban Development and Environment, speaking at an AOSIS Climate Change Press Conference in Durban.
Durban, South Africa, 7 December, 2011 - The Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) are standing firm on their decision to reject any delays for a legally binding agreement starting after 2020.
Speaking at a press conference at the 17th Conference of Parties in Durban, South Africa, Grenada’s Foreign Minister Hon. Karl Hood and Chair of AOSIS said, “Speaking about 2020 at a time when anything should come into force is what we totally reject because we believe that we have all that it takes to begin the work right now, we believe that waiting is a disaster.
“If we do not apply the break as it were and come back we will get to a point of no return so we cannot accept 2020 at any time at all to put anything into force because we believe the time is now. Any pledges, any targets must be based on some scientific analysis and the science has said to us that we cannot wait until 2020.”
Countries such as Barbados in the Caribbean, Tuvalu and Kiribati in the Pacific would be completely underwater with a sea level rise of more than two metres.
With a day left of the negotiations the AOSIS are maintaining their stand hoping on the countries political will to do the right thing for the survival of their countries.
“My question is – Is this COP 17 or will this be the ‘corpse’ the burial of this process? I hope we do not have to call the undertaker at the end of the day for a process that does not seek our political will.”
Fiji’s Environment Minister, Hon. Colonel Samuela Saumatua asked, “How long are we going to wait?”
“The science is telling us, reality is telling us, experience on the ground is telling us that the situation is not going to improve but we carry on as if we are almost blind folded; are we ostriches that we bury our head in the sand and pretend things are not as they are, this is reality and tomorrow is going to be worse than today.”
Climate Envoy from Barbados and Chief AOSIS negotiator on Finance Mr Selwin Hart shared same concerns saying that it is most unfortunate how the process is developing where many countries seem to think that the small islands have time on their hands when in fact they do not and action needs to be taken now and immediately.
“The positions of the AOSIS are guided by the impacts members are experiencing and the inherent dangers in postponing a comprehensive and ambitious response.
“We are very small countries, we don’t have any economic military or any other power to exert within this process, we just have the power of our situation and it is unfortunate how this process is developing.
“There is this impression that some of our positions are extreme and that we are isolated, no, most of our positions have the support of the overwhelming support of the parties.
The AOSIS is also pushing for a legally binding framework that will encompass all, including those who are not party to the Kyoto Protocol because the small island states believe the KP is no longer enough.