Small Island States conference rebukes developed nations

The president of the Fourth International Conference of Small Island Developing States (SIDS), Gaston Alphonso Browne, accused wealthy nations of empty climate pledges on May 27, referring to a lack of financial help to developing countries, along with the inadequacy of carbon emission reduction efforts. The summit, entited "Charting the Course Toward Resilient Prosperity," was hosted by Antigua & Barbuda, where Browne serves as prime minister. Browne blasted developed nations for failing to meet their "obligation to compensation" to the SIDS nations. This refers to the annual $100 billion that was agreed to under the 15th Conference of Parties (COP15) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in 2009 and reiterated in the 2015 Paris Agreement.

In his opening statement at the conference, Browne also assailed the world's giant oil companies:

Isn't it high time to end fossil fuel subsidies and to make these companies accountable to reduce emissions and to accelerate the transitions to renewable energy resources to protect lives and livelihoods? Shouldn't a global oil tax be levied on these companies which are consistently enjoying supernormal profits?

The first international conference of SIDS nations was held in 1994 in Barbados. The Barbados Programme of Action for Small Island Developing States was adopted during the conference, emphasizing the need for a sustainable approach for such nations in adressing the climate crisis. The second SIDS conference was held in Mauritius in 2005. The Mauritius Declaration noted the threat of rising sea levels to the very survival of member states. The last and third SIDS conference was held in 2014 in Samoa. The Samoa Pathway again emphasized the growing urgency of these concerns.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has also called on the developed nations to "honor their commitments to provide $100 billion a year to developing countries for climate support and fully replenish the Green Climate Fund."

From Jurist, May 28. Used with permission.

See our last reports on the UN climate process, the Paris Agreement, and the dilemmas faced by small island nations.