Hon. Toeolesulusulu Cedric Schuster
Climate Change Resilience

7 November 2023, Dubai UAE - The Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) has expressed concerns about what it describes as attempts to delete the reference to special circumstances of Small Island Developing States (SIDS) across the COP28 agenda. 
The point was raised by Samoa, as the Chair of AOSIS on Wednesday, during the AOSIS Ministerial Briefing Meeting, as the first week of the 28th Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC COP28) in Dubai, UAE, ends. 
“We are concerned there are ongoing difficult negotiations of attempts to delete the reference to special circumstances of SIDS across the agenda item or negotiations,” said Samoa’s Minister of Natural Resources and Environment, Hon. Toeolesulusulu Cedric Schuster.
“As AOSIS, we need to be united in sending out the messages related to the special needs and circumstances of SIDS, as we are identified at international law as special case for sustainable development.”
Hon. Toeolesulusulu described the attempts to delete the reference to special circumstances of SIDS as an “attempt to renegotiate the convention and its Paris Agreement.”
The special circumstances of SIDS in relation to the triple planetary crisis of climate change, biodiversity loss and plastic pollution, refers to their small size and small economies which makes them inherently susceptible to external economic and financial shocks. 
Their geographical location also means that the triple planetary crisis, in this case the climate crisis, threatens their very survival. At COP28, Small island developing states (SIDS) from the Pacific, Caribbean, African, Indian Ocean and South China Seas, who are members of the AOSIS, continue to advocate for urgent and ambitious climate action to combat climate change.
Hon. Toeolesulusulu said the strong political messages from Leaders of SIDS countries who addressed the COP28 High Level plenary reaffirmed the desired pathway for achieving much-needed strong outcomes for COP28.
“Our ask for this first Global Stocktake is simple and clear. We must course correct to keep the 1.5C degree limit within reach and ensure that particularly vulnerable countries have the support they need to deal with the impacts of climate change that we are already experiencing,” Hon. Toeolesulusulu said. “We have run out of time for backsliding and must avoid it at all costs. Anything beyond this would only result in strife and suffering and undermine all efforts at sustainable development and poverty eradication. 
AOSIS also called for unity and solidarity to progress the Global Goal on Adaptation. 
“It is time now to agree on a plan for actioning this noble and indispensable aspiration. To do this, we must agree on a robust framework for the Global Goal on Adaptation at this conference. This framework should help us not only to measure progress in achieving the Global Goal, but more importantly, it must be able to accelerate action to adapt to the adverse impacts of climate change.”
On Climate finance, the AOSIS Chair said adequate, predictable finance in terms of adaptation, mitigation and loss and damage is urgently needed to address the consequences of climate change.
Samoa also reiterated AOSIS’s position on the need for a complete phase out of fossil fuel, in line with the best available science and provisions of the Paris Agreement
“We cannot leave without a strengthened commitment at COP28 to phase out the use of fossil fuels, and to end fossil fuel subsidies. This includes no new investments in fossil fuel production and distribution infrastructure, particularly from major emitters as part of a just, fair and equitable transition,” Minister Toeolesulusulu said.
Since 1990, AOSIS has represented the interests of the 39 small island and low-lying coastal developing states in international climate change, sustainable development negotiations and processes. As a voice for the vulnerable, its mandate is more than amplifying marginalised voices as it also advocates for these countries’ interests and Samoa as the Chair has continued that work at COP28.
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.
A key part of amplifying the One Pacific Voice at COP28 is the Moana Blue Pacific Pavilion, which is a Pacific partnership with Aotearoa New Zealand and Australia. Another key part of the Pacific’s work at COP28 is the Pacific Delegation Office, which is Pacific partnership with Aotearoa New Zealand. Both the Moana Pacific Pavilion and the Pacific Delegation Office are managed by the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP).