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Dec 12, 2018

Belize Accepts Chairmanship of AOSIS

Belize has accepted the chairmanship of the Alliance of Small Island States. This week, during the COP24 in Katowice, Poland, Ambassador Lois Young accepted the leadership from the Maldives during a ministerial meeting. AOSIS was established back in 1990 – around the same time when climate change came to the fore. These same small countries that share similar concerns decided to form a negotiating body. When we spoke with Carlos Fuller today at COP, he explains the functions of AOSIS and how Belize intends to make its mark when it assumes chairman in January 2019.

 

Carlos Fuller

Carlos Fuller, Negotiator, SIDS

“Climate change got on the international agenda because of small island states. The threat they felt from climate change and sea level rise. We recognized as individual states we could not negotiate very strongly so we bought together forty-three countries in one effort and we assist each other in the negotiation process. A large country can bring four hundred delegates and send a person and expert to each event. Small countries obviously don’t have the resources to do that. So, therefore, we share out the responsibilities of different agenda items and we then give the responsibility to an individual to speak on behalf of all country in that area. As you know, Belize will assume the chairmanship of AOSIS next year. And we are just touching base with the people who are going to lead. We had an event yesterday, a fellowship that Belize will start guiding for AOSIS.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“What is our role now?”

 

Carlos Fuller

“Well, certainly, we would be speaking on behalf of the entire group. We would also be cheering each sessions, ensuring that we have somebody covering each of the issues and providing support to whoever is doing that work.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“Being under Belize’s leadership, so to speak, what are the key things the AOSIS would want to achieve going forward?”

 

Carlos Fuller, Negotiator, SIDS

“Actually, Belize lobbied to get the chairmanship. And this year, presented a manifesto and that was done by the permanent mission in New York because that is where most things operate during the year before we go into COP, a negotiating session or any other meetings that are held. One of the things was to continue to defend the position that for SIDS we are most vulnerable group of countries to climate change and continue to being threatened by other regions. So, that is an area we certainly want to advance. The second area is to put some structure into the AOSIS process because right now there is no secretariat, do defining term limit; there is no process in place yet, so we want to institutionalize the process coming out of it.”

 

Belize will be the chair for two years, after which Antigua and Barbuda will assume for another two years. This story was supported by the 2018 Climate Change Media Partnership, a collaboration between Internews’ Earth Journalism Network and the Stanley Foundation.

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Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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