This week 20 UN ambassadors from the "Alliance of Small Island States" (AOSIS) are visiting Germany for the first time. At the invitation of the Federal Foreign Office the ambassadors are taking part in a comprehensive fact-finding trip, including talks with Federal Government representatives in preparation for the UN climate conference in Copenhagen. The delegation is due to meet Federal Chancellor Merkel and Federal Foreign Minister Steinmeier, and will visit the German Bundestag.
For that reason the central theme of the tour, apart from discussions on how to cooperate more closely within the UN, is climate and environment policy. Island states in particular are facing a major threat from climate change. The delegation will therefore also visit the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), while in Bonn, the site of the UN climate-related bodies, the ambassadors will take part in the UN conference on "The Social Challenges of Global Change".
Germany traditionally has very close contacts with the 35 members of the AOSIS group within the UN; for example, Federal Foreign Minister Steinmeier regularly meets AOSIS representatives during his visit to the UN General Assembly in New York. Moreover, climate and environment policy is one of Germany's focuses within the UN in both New York and Bonn.
The AOSIS delegation is headed by Dr Demissa Williams, Ambassador of Grenada to the UN. The ambassadors of the following countries are taking part in the fact-finding tour: Grenada, the Commonwealth of the Bahamas, the Republic of Cape Verde, the Commonwealth of Dominica, the Republic of Guinea-Bissau, the Republic of Haiti, the Republic of Maldives, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the Republic of Mauritius, the Republic of Nauru, the Federation of Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, the Independent State of Samoa, the Democratic Republic of Sao Tome and Principe, the Republic of Suriname, the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, the Republic of Vanuatu, Belize, the Co-operative Republic of Guyana and the Republic of Kiribati.