Small island states forging climate legacy

Small island states forging climate legacy

December 14, 20232 min read

Comprising nations that are often overshadowed by larger counterparts on the economic stage, the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) has become a formidable presence in shaping the discourse around climate change. Despite their limited economic clout, the AOSIS group wields influence by virtue of their vulnerability to the frontlines of climate impacts, making them pioneers in advocating for climate justice. 

Now at the heart of global climate negotiations, the AOSIS group has successfully spearheaded the establishment of a breakthrough in climate justice: A dedicated fund geared towards assisting less developed nations in bolstering their adaptation and resilience efforts.

Kalim Shah, associate professor of energy and environmental policy at the University of Delaware, can comment on AOSIS and its role at The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (also known as UNFCCC). He makes the following points:

  • The AOSIS group, which is the negotiating body for small island developing states (SIDS) in The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), has emerged over the last decade as a major force in the global negotiations (even though the group comprises of small island nations which are typically not significant economic powerhouses=). They continue to lead on a number of key components of the UNFCCC climate agreement and wield this power largely because small islands are on the frontlines of climate impacts like seal level rise and are among the first to be impacted, even as they hold "no responsibility" for global warming.

  • Small island states have now successfully led the negotiations for and approval of acknowledgement of "loss and damage" and a specific new loss and damage fund. This fund is dedicated to helping less developed countries with their adaptation and resilience building needs. “Loss and damage” is a general term used in UN climate negotiations to refer to the consequences of climate change that go beyond what people can adapt to, or when options exist but a community doesn’t have the resources to access or utilize them. 

  • This could be a turning point for the Alliance of Small Island States, since over 70% of climate funds to date have been allocated or distributed to climate mitigation efforts and very little to the SIDS. Since SIDS do not account for massive amounts of Greenhouse gas emissions, this was of little real help to them. But now the global consensus is understanding that the 1.5 degrees threshold of the Paris Accord will be passed and more efforts on the adaptation side must be available for the most vulnerable, such as SIDS to cope with climate impacts that are inevitable.

To set up an interview with Professor Shah, visit his profile and click on the "contact" button.

Connect with:
  • Kalim Shah
    Kalim Shah Associate Professor, Energy and Environmental Policy

    Dr. Shah studies public policy, governance and institutional analysis for sustainable development in small islands and economies.

powered by

You might also like...