Joint statement from Chairs of LDC Group and Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS)

Date: 21 September 2019

New York, USA: In advance of the UN Climate Action Summit in New York, and in the midst of the global climate strike, the Least Developed Countries (LDC) Group and the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS), representing over 80 of some of the world’s poorest and most climate vulnerable countries, convened to share expectations and priorities for the Summit.

United behind the science, the Chairs of AOSIS and the LDC Group — Ambassador Lois Young from Belize and Sonam P. Wangdi from Bhutan, respectively — announced the following statement on behalf of their members, reflecting the increasingly common interests and priorities of the groups based on their common vulnerabilities to the impacts of climate change:

“The UN Climate Action Summit on Monday comes at an important time, six months ahead of the deadline for countries to bring forward more ambitious emission reductions pledges.

These new climate announcements must reflect each country’s highest possible ambition and must deliver a pivot of the global economy toward full decarbonization by 2050. Each country must contribute a fair share to the global effort.

Our expectations for these efforts are that they will be both clear and consistent with the science, including the latest scientific reports on land, the ocean and the cryosphere: global warming must be held to 1.5C – this is a survival issue for AOSIS members and LDCs. We have only ten years to get onto a 1.5C pathway. For this, all Parties must step up their ambition – every year counts, every fraction of a degree matters.

The upcoming Climate Action Summit also needs to deliver tangible support to the poorest and most vulnerable countries. SIDS and LDCs are particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, which are already bringing serious sustainable development challenges to our ecosystems, our economies and our people. Additional resources are urgently needed to combat these increasing climate impacts and to address the crucial issue of loss and damage. Our countries have contributed the least to global warming but are suffering the greatest impacts – this inequity and reality must be recognized and addressed.

AOSIS and LDCs also share a common understanding of ambitious climate action in the context of carbon markets. The outcome of the negotiations under Article 6 of the Paris Agreement has the potential to either deliver greater ambition, or completely undermine the Agreement’s goals. In order to deliver greater ambition, it is now time to move beyond pure offsetting. Achieving actual emission reductions requires the application of a cancellation or discount rate to the reductions under Article 6 and AOSIS and LDCs have presented ways to achieve this. At the same time, we cannot allow double counting, the carryover of pre-2020 Kyoto units to the Paris Agreement or other accounting loopholes to undermine our shared goals. And importantly, Article 6 must deliver a greatly enhanced stream of resources for the Adaptation Fund.

LDCs and AOSIS member states are striving to be part of the solution, despite our limited contribution to the climate crisis. We expect the international community to support our actions and initiatives so that we are not left behind in the technological revolution now upon us, and to ensure that we are able to adapt to the now inevitable impacts of climate change.

AOSIS and the LDC Group look forward to expanding and enhancing our cooperation on our shared priorities, against the backdrop of intensifying climate impacts in our countries. As our nations struggle from strength to strength, we will draw closer together to overcome our shared challenges. In this regard, we welcome the offer of support from the UN-OHRLLS to assist with these efforts.

We call on all countries to step up ambitious climate action through the submission of enhanced climate pledges and long-term low emissions development strategies by 2020 in line with the 1.5°C temperature limit under the Paris Agreement. We look forward to strengthened climate action leading from the UNSG’s Climate Action Summit through to COP 25 and beyond.

The science is clear, the planet is getting warmer and public outrage is getting louder. The state of the climate crisis is evident. The world must rise to the challenge.”

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