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PROJECT: Support to the Republic of Nauru as Chair of the Alliance of Small Island States (year three of support)


Project Reference: ADGL-0035

This project aimed to provide support to the Republic of Nauru, as Chair of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS), by providing funding for two key positions:

  1. Legal Adviser to the Chair of AOSIS
  2. Climate Change Adviser to the Chair of AOSIS.

In doing so, it was hoped that the Small Island Developing States (SIDS) would take a more active and influential role in climate negotiations, which would in turn provide them with a fair and equitable climate deal.

SIDS face a variety of barriers to participating effectively in climate negotiations. This is because they are:

  • Often unable to fund delegations to attend negotiations
  • Geographically dispersed and hence unable to meet with other SIDS in person without extensive travel
  • Often only able to meet immediately prior to negotiations, which makes it difficult to develop and implement negotiation strategies
  • Lacking sufficient funds and expertise to effectively prepare for and contribute to the negotiation process

SIDS are also often among the most vulnerable to the effects of climate change. It is therefore in the interests of a fair and equitable climate deal that SIDS are supported to take a more active and influential role in the United Nations Framework for Action on Climate Change (UNFCCC) negotiations.

The key outputs that were delivered by these individuals are as follows:

Legal Advisor:

  • Technical and legal advice and support to the AOSIS Chair on climate change, including technical and legal analysis of UNFCCC negotiation documents
  • AOSIS statements, briefing documents, legal opinions, resolutions, submissions, treaty text, position papers and presentations
  • Coordination of AOSIS member states and negotiators, including at UNFCCC meetings.
  • Attendance at UNFCCC negotiations, other climate change meetings and bilateral meetings, representing Nauru
  • Development and implementation of AOSIS strategic objectives.

Climate Change Adviser:

  • Professional support and technical advice to the AOSIS Chair on climate change
  • Drafting statements, briefing documents, UNFCCC submissions and presentations
  • Undertaking general research on climate change
  • Attending UNFCCC negotiations and other related climate change meetings.

The key outcomes include:

  • Provision of legal and technical support to inform and interpret the AOSIS group’s policy and negotiating position
  • Provision of negotiation and strategic support to inform and interpret the AOSIS group’s policy and negotiating position
  • Ensuring the participation of the negotiating teams in the negotiations and key group meetings
  • Facilitating the AOSIS group’s strategic planning before and during the negotiation process.

Recent update:

December 2012:  Leading up to the Republic of Nauru’s first COP as Chair of AOSIS in Doha, Nauru took the opportunity to coordinate work and meetings to strengthen relationships between AOSIS members and to help build capacity within the membership.  AOSIS members represent countries that are most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, but often lack the resources and capacity to participate effectively within international climate negotiations.

In the past year, Nauru, as Chair of AOSIS, convened an AOSIS Leader’s meeting in September, demonstrating high-level commitment by members with regards to climate issues, as well as providing a strong mandate for AOSIS delegations going into Doha.  AOSIS also made submissions to the UNFCCC throughout the year and attended informal meetings.

In Doha, Nauru, as AOSIS Chair, coordinated pre-COP AOSIS strategy meetings, a ministerial level AOSIS meeting, and daily coordination meetings during the negotiations.

Regrettably, Doha did not deliver the mitigation ambition the scientific community says is essential to keep global temperature rise from exceeding 2 degrees Celsius, to say nothing of 1.5 degrees, and the cascade of catastrophes that would follow.  Climate finance was also a missing element of the Doha outcome, with no concrete progress on delivering the promise of mobilising $100 billion per year by 2020 to address the needs of developing countries.

However, the Doha outcome included the adoption of the amendments enabling the second commitment period to the Kyoto Protocol, which is a major milestone in the climate change regime.  The agreement by parties to a mandatory review of their emissions targets by 2014 is a critical element of the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol to increase mitigation ambition, and it will serve as an important precedent for the future legal agreement to be negotiated by 2015.

AOSIS achieved several other significant milestones:

  • Pre-2020 mitigation ambition workplan: AOSIS’ proposal for pre-2020 mitigation ambition formed the basis of negotiations on Workstream 2 of the ad hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform (AWG-ADP).  The decision captured many elements contained within the AOSIS workplan proposal, including high-level engagement, workshops, and participation and submissions by the private sector, intergovernmental organizations and civil society in helping to identify methods to increase mitigation ambition
  • Loss and Damage:  Agreement to establish institutional arrangements, such as an international mechanism at COP-19 to address loss and damage associated with the impacts of climate change in particularly vulnerable developing countries.  This was a significant step towards realizing a longstanding AOSIS priority.

AOSIS efforts on pre-2020 mitigation ambition and on loss and damage were spearheaded by Sai Navoti and Malia Talakai, with the generous support of CDKN.

AOSIS also welcomed UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon’s plan to convene a World Leader’s Summit on Climate Change in 2014 and will resume efforts to achieve a real mitigation effort leading up to this leader’s summit.

CDKN funding: £150,000

Project Manager: Kinga Lodge

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