AOSIS persists amid challenges at COP15
By Cherelle Jackson
COPENHAGEN - For years now members of the Alliance of Small Island States have taken an active role in Climate Change negotiations to no great avail.
Their pleas for action have been consistently ignored by developed nations at the Conference of the Parties.
This is according to Saleemul Huq, Senior Fellow for the Climate Change Group of the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED).
"Taken together, there are a hundred countries, are a majority of UNFCCC, there are only a 192 countries in the whole process, a 100 makes them a majority, but you wouldn't think it. No one is listening to them here, alright," Huq said.
"Within the G77 and China which they all belong, they are actually a super majority, but even within that group no one listens to them."
According AOSIS has every right to be respected in the negotiations and for their voice to be considered.
"If they organise themselves as a group speak with one voice, then that is a powerful voice, then that voice can no longer be ignored, and that is what they have to do here. They are getting better at it, AOSIS is very good, increasingly AOSIS, Africa and Least Developed Countries are working together, coordinating positions, joining each other, supporting each other," Huq said.
AOSIS which has a membership of 42 States and observers, drawn from all regions of the world make up a significant part of the United Nations Climate Change negotiations.
Thirty-seven are members of the United Nations, close to 28 percent of developing countries, and 20 percent of the UN's total membership.
Together, these communities constitute some five percent of the global population.
With these facts the Chair of AOSIS Ambassador Dessima Williams says their voice is strong and and will persist.
"Obviously we are not exhausted with the processes, this is multilateral diplomacy. By virtue of being that it is slow and tedious and complex, we understand that. What we do not accept it bad faith or not hearing our plea, our call, our existence, our experience," she said.
Williams is convinced that COP15 will bring about changes, and the united front of AOSIS will ensure results from the conference.
Asked if AOSIS has been at all discouraged by the slow process and continued delaying tactics by developed countries she said:"Do not think we are discouraged. There is half of UN membership calling for ambitious and specific targets going into the Ministerial level, we cannot be discouraged, in fact we are encouraged that we have been and continue to be on the right path in trying to raise the bar of performance of commitment of obligation and of clarity. It is hard work. We will be here every day and every night."
Williams says the islands will not be deterred.
"AOSIS is fully engaged," she said with a smile.