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AIS Forum High-Level Dialogue at COP 28 Dubai, A Concrete Call for Global Action to Combat the Climate Crisis

Dubai, United Arab Emirates, 30 November 2023 – The Archipelagic and Island States (AIS) Forum organised a high-level dialogue entitled “Rising Tides, Sinking Island: AIS Forum’s Call to Action on Climate Loss and Damage” which took place in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. This dialogue was carried out in collaboration with the AIS Forum Secretariat and the Coordinating Ministry for Maritime Affairs and Investment (Kemenkomarves), as part of the AIS Forum’s concrete action in advocating crucial issues faced by archipelagic and island countries. One of them is sea level rise because of climate change.

Held at the Indonesian Pavilion, this dialogue session was one of the opening sessions of a series of activities carried out by the Indonesian Government in its participation in COP28 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC) Dubai. Attended as speakers were Jodi Mahardi, Deputy for Maritime Sovereignty and Energy Coordination of the Coordinating Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Investment, Amena Yauvoli, Ambassador of the Republic of Fiji to Indonesia, and Flavien P. Joubert, Minister for Agriculture, Climate Change, and the Environment of the Republic of Seychelles. Meanwhile, Stacey Alvares de la Campa from Island Innovation Barbados moderated the dialogue that ran for about 1.5 hours.

The challenge of climate change faced by archipelagic and island countries is a crucial issue discussed in this high-level dialogue. One of the most prominent problems is the massive rise in sea levels due to increasing melting of ice sheets, glaciers, and thermal expansion of the sea. AIS countries are generally the first to be affected by this threat.

Ambassador Amena stated that rising sea levels are a real threat to the Pacific region. “We have experienced this challenge in Fiji and other Pacific countries. “We (Fiji) have relocated coastal communities because their areas are affected by rising sea levels,” he explained.

Likewise, Minister Joubert revealed that coastal communities are now increasingly aware of the threat of climate change and are starting to work hard to take mitigation steps to protect marine ecosystems, even if only through small steps. “One example is their increasing awareness of the importance to maintain the sustainability of marine ecosystems, such as the effort to protect the existence of seaweed for coastal ecosystems.” he said.

In responding to this, Deputy Mahardi said that the common challenges faced by island countries were the main reasons for Indonesia to initiate the AIS Forum. “Common challenges need to be faced collectively. “That’s why Indonesia invited archipelagic and island countries to jointly take concrete steps to resolve it,” explained Deputy Mahardi.

Furthermore, Deputy Mahardi explained that one of the concrete efforts to foster collaboration in archipelagic and island countries had been carried out by the AIS Forum through the adoption of the AIS Leader’s Declaration at the AIS Forum High Level Meeting last October. AIS Countries  call for the importance of global awareness, collaboration and intervention through the AIS Forum as an affirmation of the inherent rights of island countries to live, prosper and maintain their unique identity.

As part of the final resolutions of the COP 28 in Dubai this year, the discussions provided confirmations in taking strategic steps to deal with the issue of rising sea levels in island and archipelagic countries. Through this dialogue, the AIS Forum provided an open space to exchange ideas, solutions and take resolutions to common problems.(*)

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After a sideline discussion at the Ocean Conference 2017 in New York City and a follow-up Conference on the Archipelagic and Island States Forum in Jakarta in 2017, a common understanding among AIS participating countries was born. The Archipelagic and Island States Forum was then formally established through the adoption of the Manado Joint Declaration during the first Ministerial Meeting of the participating countries on 1 November 2018.

The Archipelagic and Island States (AIS) Forum is a platform designed to include island states and archipelagic countries regardless of their region, size, and development level. A global initiative that brings together 51 archipelagic and island nations to take part in a collective forum addressing challenges of ocean resource usage for sustainable economic growth, climate change resiliency, ocean pollution, emergency management, and the enhancement of sustainable fisheries.

 

The Archipelagic and Island States (AIS) Forum stands as a visionary platform, purposefully crafted to encompass the participation of 51 diverse archipelagic and island nations from across the globe. Its overarching mission is to facilitate a collective forum aimed at addressing the pressing issue of sustainable development. Within this forum, these nations come together to forge international partnerships and foster cooperation in their shared commitment to sustainable development. By uniting their efforts and expertise, the AIS Forum plays a pivotal role in harnessing the collective power of these island states to tackle the environmental, economic, and social challenges they face while striving to build a more sustainable and interconnected world.
Five years after the establishment of the AIS Forum, leaders from AIS countries have agreed to strengthen commitment for collaboration among nations. On 11th October 2023 in Bali, Indonesia, at the First High Level Meeting of the AIS Foru,, 32 AIS countries agreed to adopt the Leaders’ Declaration on the Solidarity of the Archipelagic and Island States. The adoption of this declaration marked a significant step for the AIS Forum to further elevate its position in the global scheme. The Declaration focuses on four collaborative areas, which are:

Our Team offers an insightful glimpse into the exceptional individuals who comprise the driving force behind the Archipelagic and Island States (AIS) Forum. These dedicated professionals work cohesively to realize our mission and objectives. The AIS Forum, as a platform, is thoughtfully designed to incorporate the active participation of 51 archipelagic and island states from various corners of the world, uniting them within a collective forum to address the critical concerns of sustainable development.

The AIS Forum’s role is to facilitate close cooperation between archipelagic and island states in its four working areas. The forum has fostered connections and collaborative projects through its partnerships with private enterprises, government authorities, universities, NGOs, media and global or regional organisations. This approach aims to create a network of experts, researchers and policymakers who can provide insight and support to the AIS programme.

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