"AOSIS has long advocated a science-driven, robust and ambitious response to the climate challenge. We are here to play our part in ensuring that we live up to our responsibility to our people and future generations, and we assure you of our support as we fight for our survival and work to ensure a safe climate future for all." - Alliance of Small Island States.11 November 2013, UNFCCC COP 19, Warsaw Poland - The Alliance of Small Island States asked the international community today, to reflect on whether it is living up to the commitments made to each other over two decades ago, to tackle and find solutions to climate change with the establishment of the UNFCCC.
The opening of the 19th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention (UNFCCC) to Climate Change was the backdrop for the call from AOSIS.
"In the immediate wake of Super-storm Haiyan, one of the strongest storms in recorded history, which left a wake of destruction across Palau, Micronesia, and most severely in the Philippines, it is hard to claim that we have," said Ms. Lara Daniel of Nauru, speaking on behalf of AOSIS during the opening.
"Our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims of this horrific tragedy. It is a cruel reminder for all of us regarding what is really at stake at these talks. We should also recall that last year's conference began with the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy as a backdrop."
Ms. Lara Daniel of Nauru presenting a statement at the opening plenary of the UNFCCC COP 19 on behalf of AOSIS. Photo courtesy of Mr. Ewan Cameron
The 14 Pacific islands represented at the UNFCCC COP 19 negotiate at the international climate change conference together as part of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) a coalition of 44 states and observers from small island and low-lying coastal countries.
Together, Small Island Developing States communities constitute some 5 percent of the global population, they are the most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.
AOSIS is calling for progress to be made at this COP on a legally binding protocol under the UNFCCC to be adopted no later than 2015 to keep global warming well below 1.5 degrees. This protocol must ensure there is no backsliding in the type, nature, or ambition of mitigation commitments.
"For many island nations, the cost of more extreme weather events has been mounting for some time: in the toll it is taking on our oceans and reefs; in the damage it is causing our food and water supplies; in the loss of our coastlines and parts of our sovereign territories; and, sadly, in the many lives lost," said Daniel.
"The safety, viability and survival of our members demands that the agreement be based on best science and therefore include a global goal of keeping warming well below 1.5 degrees."
This year the 19th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention to Climate Change (UNFCCC COP 19) is hosted by Warsaw, Poland from 11 to 22 November.