President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih has stated that while member states of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) may be small countries scattered around the globe, our shared vision and unity ensures that AOSIS is loud and a powerful force for change. He made this statement during his intervention at the AOSIS Leaders' Summit 2021, held online on the margins of the 76th Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York City.
President Solih stated at the summit that all AOSIS member states have an extensive track record of advocating for sustainable development to address climate change, among other unique vulnerabilities faced by Small Island Developing States (SIDS). He noted that the Covid-19 pandemic had demonstrated SIDS susceptibility to external shocks, revealing the economic contraction experienced by the Maldives following the prolonged shut down of global travel. He strongly urged multilateral collaboration to diversify SIDS economies and build sustainable climate resilience through financial assistance, technology transfer and capacity-building.
"Funds established to assist countries in special situations like SIDS need to be adequate, predictable and accessible." The President said.
President Solih also discussed marine pollution and the momentum that AOSIS could build leading up to the COP26 conference. He expressed his confidence that the Leader's Declaration, adopted at the summit today, would demonstrate the urgency of these issues and the need for global support from developed countries, international financial institutions, the private sector and civil society. He pressed the international community to take progressive action.
"We fully support the ongoing efforts to coordinate multilateral action to address the menace of marine plastic pollution," he added, "including potentially through an international treaty."
Following the first-ever Small States Conference, held in the Maldives in November 1989, the Maldives spearheaded efforts to form the intergovernmental organisation. AOSIS was founded in 1990 during the Second World Climate Conference in Geneva and comprises low-lying coastal and small island countries. AOSIS is a key advocate for SIDS and international environmental policy, with a particular focus on global climate change.