Maldives presides over first AOSIS plenary session as chair

The Maldives has presided over its first session as chair of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) in New York.

“As one of the founding members of AOSIS, it is a great honour to assume this stewardship role on what is the eve of the coalition’s twenty-fifth anniversary, and also during a critical year for international efforts to address sustainable development and climate change,” said Ambassador Ahmed Sareer, the Maldives’ Permanent Representative to the United Nations.

A statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs notes that the Maldives’ time as chair will see continued discussions to define the post-2015 development agenda as well as the crucial COP 21 talks in Paris this December, which will seek to decide upon a new framework for a legally binding agreement on climate change.

“Political momentum for action on these urgent issues is building and the Maldives is committed doing everything we can to seize this opportunity to improve the quality of life for island people and all vulnerable communities around the world,” continued Sareer, the group’s chair.

In a message to the meeting, Minister of Foreign Affairs Dunya Maumoon noted that this will present an opportunity for AOSIS to “maneuver”.

“This is the time for AOSIS countries to make the most crucial decisions for the future of our people. And the Maldives is honoured to have been entrusted with this esteemed groups’ leadership at this crucial time,” said Dunya.

Formed of 39 low-lying coastal and small island countries, the alliance focuses primarily on issues of vulenerability – particularly in reference to the effects of climate change. It functions as a lobby group within the UN system, of which its members make up 20 percent.