Small Islands

The Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) is the name given to an intergovernmental organisation within the UN, established under the leadership of the Maldives, Trinidad and Tobago in 1990 at the Second World Climate Conference in Geneva.  The organisation represents the many diffuse island states within the Pacific, Atlantic and Indian Oceans and the Caribbean, South China and Mediterranean Seas.

There are 44 member states, 39 of which are also members of the United Nations.  The main purpose of the organisation is to bring representation of all the small island developing countries (SIDS) together under one consolidated voice within the United Nations.  It is concerned solely with the effects of global warming on these small, low-lying ocean island countries.

AOSIS is an ad hoc committee that lobbies for the needs of its member states with emphasis being on the impact of climate change on the economies of these tiny countries, which make up 20% of the UN’s present membership, but whose peoples together account for only 5% of the world’s entire population, who in turn, account for only 1% of the world’s anthropogenic (man-made) GHG emissions.

The organisation has been, and is, extremely active within the UNFCCC (Conference of the Parties to the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change) in shaping global policy on climate change.  It was the first member to put forward a draft text in the Kyoto Protocol negotiations in 1994.  Then in 2013, after the chaos wreaked by Typhoon Haiyan (Super Typhoon Yolanda) in the Philippines, the organisation lobbied for the establishment of an International Mechanism to assess the damage caused by such climate change phenomena.

AOSIS calls for support of its members in the form of finance, technology, and capacity building and also negotiates for insurance support in dealing with extreme situations and also for the setting up of a compensation mechanism for rehabilitation after losses caused by climate change.  Their first success in lobbying for a loss compensation mechanism was in the setting up of the Warsaw International Mechanism for Loss and Damage associated with Climate Change Impacts, at the Nineteenth Session of the UNFCC otherwise known as COP 19.

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