At AOSIS preparatory meeting, world leaders urged to seize opportunity at COP28


The Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), Simon Stiell has added his voice to that of Small Island Developing States (SIDS) from the Pacific, Caribbean, African, Indian Ocean and South China Seas, who are members of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS), calling for decisive action from world leaders at COP28.

“COP28 is our chance to make a dramatic course correction and do right for our future generations,” said Stiell. “We need to seize this opportunity, we need to do everything possible that will lead to the best possible outcome from this COP, come 12th December.”

The call comes as the countdown to the opening of COP28 in Dubai continues, where thousands of delegates are expected to attend. The Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC was addressing members of AOSIS at their preparatory meeting in Dubai, on Monday.

The two-day meeting, chaired by Samoa, is to strengthen AOSIS positions on priorities that must be achieved to give SIDS the best chance of sustainably coping with worsening climate change impacts.

For two days, lead coordinators for AOSIS, the negotiating bloc for SIDS, gave critical updates on the various thematic topics that will be negotiated at COP28.

The session with the Executive Secretary of UNFCCC provided delegates with an opportunity to hear from the UNFCCC, ask questions, seek clarifications, and to raise matters AOSIS views as priorities for COP28.

“I am here to assure you that we are here to provide support to ensure your voice is heard. COP28 must be a clear turning point. Governments must not only agree on what stronger climate actions will be taken but also start showing exactly how to deliver them,” said Stiell.

Discussions at COP28 will build on progress made at the 27th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP) held in November 2022 and the 58th sessions of the UNFCCC’s Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI) and Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA) held in June 2023.

One of the biggest items is the completion of the first Global Stocktake (GST) under the 2015 Paris Agreement, which aims to assess collective progress towards achieving the objectives of the Paris Agreement.

Photo: SPREP

Stiell told AOSIS that the GST is extremely important and what comes out of it must serve as our collective compass, showing us where we stand in relation to our commitments, and more importantly, leading us to where we need to go.

“We need to leave COP28 with an ambitious outcome that cuts across adaptation, mitigation, loss and damage, and means of implementation.”

Samoa’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations (UN), Fatumanava-o-Upolu III Dr. Pa’olelei Luteru, said the GST should be based on the best available science and give us a roadmap for course correction.

“Failing here is not an option for SIDS,” he said. “Small Island Developing States have been crying out for urgent climate action for over three decades and we can no longer be ignored.

“Now is the time for concrete action, and we are amplifying our call. Real results matter to us. We cannot, must not, go into COP28 banking on a lot of pledges with no tangible commitments. Our survival is at stake.”

Other key items on the COP28 agenda are the early capitalisation of the Loss and Damage Fund, Climate Finance, Mitigation Ambition and Adaptation, in particular the Global Goal on Adaption (GGA).

The 28th Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC COP28) in Dubai, UAE is taking place from Thursday 30 November 2023 – Tuesday 12 December 2023.

It is being attended by Pacific leaders and their delegations, who are advocating for the survival of Pacific communities who continue to be at the forefront of climate change impacts.