Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS)

  • Pasha Carruthers
  • Orville Grey
  • Clifford Mahlung
  • Linda SiegeleEmail author
Part of the Springer Climate book series (SPCL)


From the outset of negotiations on the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC or Convention), AOSIS urged the global community to focus on the plight of those countries particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of a changing climate system. While the ultimate objective of the UNFCCC focuses on the “stabilization of greenhouse gas concentrations” at a level which prevents dangerous human “interference with the climate system,” this objective is explicitly bounded by a timeframe that is based on adaptation parameters, i.e., the natural adaptation of ecosystems; maintaining global food production; and the continuation of sustainable economic development. The Bali Action Plan, negotiated in 2007 at COP 13 in Bali, Indonesia, marked a breakthrough on adaptation for AOSIS, with the clear separation it makes between the impact of the implementation of response measures and enhanced action on adaptation, a framing that has persisted under the UNFCCC to the present day. Despite the failure of the Copenhagen negotiations at COP 15 (2009), the Bali approach to adaptation led in 2010 to the establishment of the Cancun Adaptation Framework, the Adaptation Committee, the process for developing medium- to long-term national adaptation plans and the work program on loss and damage—each of which were outcomes strongly supported by AOSIS and depended on its close cooperation with the G77 and China. With the Paris Agreement, the issue of adaptation has been set legally “in stone” at the international level. And though the special needs and interests of individual members of the G77 and China add a seemingly insurmountable level of complexity to the equation of addressing adaptation, the rich history of positive change on adaptation that the joint effort of members of the G77 and China have managed to engineer is truly remarkable. AOSIS and its members are extremely proud of their contribution to the sum of this effort which is truly greater than its parts.


AOSIS Particularly vulnerable developing countries Bali Action Plan Cancun Agreements Adaptation Committee National adaptation plans Work program on loss and damage Adaptation communication Flexibility Capacity-building Adaptation finance 



  1. Verheyen R (2005) Chapter 3. In: Climate change damage and international law: prevention duties and state responsibility. Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, Leiden/BostonGoogle Scholar


  1. Betzold C, Castro P, Weiler F (2012) Climate policy, 2012—AOSIS in the UNFCCC negotiations: from unity to fragmentation?Google Scholar
  2. IISD (2016) From Bali to Marrakech: a decade of international climate negotiations (2016). In: Allan J et al (eds), pp 8–13.
  3. Khan MR, Timmons Roberts J (2013) Adaptation and international climate policy. WIREs Clim Change 4:171–189.
  4. Mace MJ (2005) Funding for adaptation to climate change: UNFCCC and GEF developments since COP-7. RECIEL 14(3):245Google Scholar
  5. Möhner A, Klein RJT (2007) The global environment facility: funding for adaptation or adapting to funds?. SEI, StockholmGoogle Scholar


  1. Kyoto ProtocolGoogle Scholar
  2. Paris AgreementGoogle Scholar
  3. United Nations Framework Convention on Climate ChangeGoogle Scholar

UN Documents

  1. IPCC, Third Assessment Report.
  2. IPCC, Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5 °CGoogle Scholar
  3. UN Document A/A.237/15, Report of the International Negotiating Committee, Fourth Session, Annex V.
  4. UN Document A/AC.237/Misc.1/Add.3, Elements for a Framework Convention on Climate Change, proposed by Vanuatu on behalf of AOSIS (4 June 1991).
  5. UNGA Resolution 44/207, Protection of global climate for present and future generations of mankind, paragraph 14.
  6. UNGA Resolution 45/212, paragraph 7.

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Pasha Carruthers
    • 1
  • Orville Grey
    • 2
  • Clifford Mahlung
    • 3
  • Linda Siegele
    • 4
    Email author
  1. 1.RaratongaCook Islands
  2. 2.Green Climate FundSongdoKorea
  3. 3.Climate Change DivisionMinistry of Economic Growth and Job CreationKingstonJamaica
  4. 4.University College LondonLondonUK

Personalised recommendations