Chair of AOSIS and Samoan Minister of Natural Resources and Environment, Toeolesulusulu Cedric Schuster

Chair of Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) and Samoan Minister of Natural Resources and Environment, Toeolesulusulu Cedric Schuster has expressed AOSIS’s readiness to collaborate for strong outcomes at COP 29.

Minister Schuster made the statement in his opening remarks at the Copenhagen Climate Ministerial by acknowledging the incoming COP presidency from Azerbaijan.

“AOSIS looks forward to working with you through this year and at COP 29 in Baku for strong and bold outcomes.

“We welcome the work of the troika to implement mission 1.5. From an AOSIS perspective, the Troika must help us to make progress this year to raise ambition on all fronts. While enabling implementation,” said Minister Schuster.

He emphasised the urgency of addressing key issues to keep global temperatures below 1.5 Celsius and highlighted the importance of collective action.

“As I’m sure you know by now, meeting the 1.5 Celsius goal is a matter of survival for small island developing States, but we can’t get there on our own. We will only succeed if we make progress on each of these issues through a global effort with each one of us committed to ambitious action.

“On mitigation ambition, we must focus on the outcomes of the first global stocktake at COP 28. The GST acknowledged that although some progress has been made, the implementation of the current nationally-determined contributions will not put us on a pathway to limit emissions to a one point five degree temperature rise,” he said.

Minister Schuster stressed the need for countries to submit updated targets aligned with the 1.5-degree target by early 2025.

“Primarily, this will require all countries to remain faithful to their commitments to submit updates to their 2030 targets as well as NDCs with 2035 targets that are economy-wide,covering all greenhouse gases, sectors, and categories, aligned with the one point five degree target, and their net zero targets; by the agreed deadline. In other words, in early 2025, 9-12 months before COP 30, at the latest.

“We applaud the agreement in Dubai to operationalise the new dedicated fund for responding to loss and damage. However, much more financing must be mobilised to ensure its effectiveness.

“AOSIS urges countries to continue the critical work toward operationalising this fund, including helping to expedite the critical work of the fund’s Board this year.

“Before we reach the stage where we experience loss and damage from the impacts of climate change, advancing the scale and impact of adaptationefforts in small islands remains a crucial and urgent priority,” he explained.

He said the groundbreaking UAE Framework for Global Climate Resilience agreed in Dubai establishes the groundwork for meeting the Paris Agreement’s global goal on adaptation – scaling up adaptation action and the flow of adaptation finance by setting ambitious and achievable high-level targets that will enable countries to transform towards a clean and resilient future.

Minister Schuster emphasised the urgency of scaling up adaptation efforts and called for fulfilling pledges to double climate adaptation finance by 2025.

“This represents the floor of what should be provided for adaptation finance. We urge developed countries to make good on this promise and go beyond it in line with the needs of those particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.

“2024 provides the international community with the opportunity to determine one of the most consequential catalysts for achieving the Paris Agreement’sgoals – the setting of the New Collective Quantified Goal on Climate Finance (‘NCQG’).

“As SIDS, we continue to highlight that climate finance is distinct and therefore additional to current and future development finance.

“Climate change has been recognised as a compounded challenge to the world on top of all of its existing baseline development issues. It is therefore logical that climate finance is added to requiste development and humanitarian finance. Double counting and repurposing of such finance is not only intellectually dishonest but is simply unjust,” he said stressed.

Minister Schuster also emphasised AOSIS’s commitment to engaging with all stakeholders to ensure the implementation of COP 28 outcomes.

“I will be actively engaging with all of you, not only to unpack the outcomes of COP 28 and better understand what it will take to meet the commitments we made, but also to help set us on a path to ensuring that these outcomes are implemented.

The survival of our people on small island developing States depends on it,” he said.