The Declaration:


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

further intensify;

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

technological resources.

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

energy initiatives.

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.



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