Prime Minister??David Thompson????

"An ambitious, comprehensive and legally-binding outcome, which safeguards the most vulnerable and assures the environmental integrity of the global climate architecture", should be delivered at the upcoming Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen.

Speaking at the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) in New York yesterday, Prime Minister David Thompson said that this was Barbados’ belief.

"Our destinies are inextricably linked, and at this juncture we must truly demonstrate solidarity with each other to ensure our collective survival. The seriousness of the Copenhagen negotiations cannot be stressed enough," Mr. Thompson stated.

He added that an agreement that did not deliver on the ambitious level of mitigation and adaptation, demanded by the climate change threat, would result in the disappearance of some of the countries represented at yesterday’s meeting.

"For Barbados, and for all of us, this is an unacceptable option," the Prime Minister noted.

He maintained: "Given the precarious situation of small island developing states we must continue to play our traditional role as "the conscience" of the world. In doing so, we must always be mindful that principled positions are hardly ever popular, but this should never serve as a restraint to the free expression of our views."

Mr. Thompson pointed out that AOSIS was never conceived to pursue the agenda of a few, but rather, to ensure that the voice and concerns of a marginalised and underrepresented group of States was given full expression, particularly on issues of primary concern to them.

"Groupings comprising the larger nations cannot alone assume responsibility for issues of a global nature, such as climate change.?? This must be a cause of concern for AOSIS and should motivate us to ensure that our group fulfills the potential envisaged by its founders," the Prime Minister urged.

He suggested that the opportunity should be seized to agree on a way forward to ensure a strong, united and effective AOSIS, prior to their next meeting, which he recommended should be ahead of next year’s review of the Mauritius Strategy.

Mr. Thompson identified several issues which he said needed to be addressed over the next few months. These included streamlining and prioritising the issues on the agenda of the AOSIS, and reviewing the Group’s internal and working arrangements.

"We cannot be an effective force if our house is not in order. Our institutional capacity needs strengthening with a structure and support mechanisms that work," he opined.??

The Prime Minister also recommended a review of the regional and United Nations system support mechanisms to determine their value to AOSIS before their mandate was renewed.

"I leave it in your hands to decide on how best to proceed on this proposal, but given the enormous amount of indigenous intellectual capital in all our regions, a suggested approach might be to convene a small group of eminent small island developing states personalities with the mandate to consider the aforementioned issues and report to us in a timely manner," he remarked.

The AOSIS Climate Change Summit represented an opportunity to review the current status of negotiations on climate change. It comes three months before the UN Climate Change Conference (COP-15), which will take place in Copenhagen from December 7 to 18.??One of the expected highlights of the Summit was the adoption of the AOSIS Climate Change Declaration.

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