Small Island States and the Paris Agreement

Date
2015-12
Authors
Burkett, Maxine
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Publisher
Wilson Center
Abstract
Islands predominated in the Paris COP negotiations.[1] From metaphor to moral compass to declarations of kinship—like President Obama’s the small island developing states’ vulnerability, dignity, and ambitions served as a rudder. Among other significant provisions discussed below, the response of the Agreement and the decision text—the latter a supporting though not legally binding document—and to demands for capacity building and efficient, simplified procedures for accessing financial resources directly addressed small islands’ concerns. And so the closing movements of the meetings offered congratulatory and hortatory words from island representatives, including a spontaneous, harmonized chorus of Bob Marley’s Three Little Birds stressing the refrain, “Every little thing is gonna be alright."[2] Small island states representatives are, however, clear-eyed about the potential of the Paris Agreement and understand that it is but a foothold in a much, much steeper journey. In Paris they were represented primarily by the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) negotiating bloc, a coalition of small island and low-lying coastal countries that share similar development challenges and concerns about the environment, especially their vulnerability to the adverse effects of global climate change. AOSIS, with 44 members and observers from all regions of the world, works as a negotiating voice for small island developing states (SIDS). The small islands representatives demanded a number of elements, including a long-term temperature goal of “well below 1.5 degrees” Celsius above pre-industrial levels, an indicative pathway to achieve it, an international mechanism on Loss and Damage due to climate-related events, and scaled-up, reliable financial resources above the $100 billion per year by 2020 already promised by developed countries to developing nations, particularly the most vulnerable.
Description
Keywords
Citation
Burkett, M. (2015) Small Island States and the Paris Agreement
Rights
Access Rights
Collections
Email libraryada-l@lists.hawaii.edu if you need this content in ADA-compliant format.