Statement by

Ms. Fathimath Nashwa, Third Secretary to the Permanent Mission of the Republic of Maldives to the United Nations

on Report of the Economic and Social Council 

14 November 2023


Thank you, Mr. President.

I extend my appreciation to the President of the Economic and Social Council for the insightful report, and I wish to reaffirm the unwavering commitment of the Maldives to the Council's crucial work. The Economic and Social Council's agenda is more relevant and urgent than ever before in the complex landscape of our global challenges.

Reflecting on the accomplishments and challenges faced throughout this pivotal year for ECOSOC, especially as we find ourselves at the midpoint of the 2030 Agenda, we commend the Committee's dedicated efforts. The pursuit of political momentum through several high- level events, aimed at securing pledges from world leaders for SDG commitments, is commendable, although the recurring message remains a cause for concern – progress toward achieving the SDGs is lagging.

The Special Edition of the SDG Progress Report starkly illustrates this reality, revealing not only stalled progress but regression in some targets. Despite these challenges, the Maldives remains unwavering in its commitment to achieving the SDGs, as demonstrated by our second Voluntary National Review at the High-Level Political Forum in July, emphasizing the role of physical and digital connectivity in accelerating the 2030 Agenda.

The Maldivian government has taken tangible steps, including establishing an Integrated National Public Ferry Network to connect our dispersed islands, and spearheading a digital revolution through online education, telemedicine, and e-payment systems, bringing essential services closer to those in need. Recognizing the pivotal role of financing in realizing the SDGs, our year-long advocacy for the urgent and comprehensive reform of the international financial architecture persists, especially crucial for Small Island Developing States (SIDS) grappling with exacerbated debt burdens from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

To support our domestic developmental efforts, we call upon international financial institutions to broaden their eligibility criteria, emphasizing the early adoption and utilization of the Multidimensional Vulnerability Index (MVI) to facilitate easier access to affordable financing and debt relief. The MVI holds the potential to significantly impact the sustainable development of Small Island Developing States (SIDS), situated at the forefront of both the climate and debt crises. Yet, realizing this potential hinges on our collective commitment to supporting the vulnerable, recognizing that as a community of nations, our strength is magnified when everyone has the opportunity to thrive.

The SDG summit in September marked a step forward as we collectively renewed our commitments, but it is evident that more concerted efforts are required. The subsequent follow-up process post the SDG Summit is equally crucial in driving momentum for SDG implementation as we approach the 2030 deadline. The upcoming Summit of the Future holds promise, and it is imperative that we capitalize on this opportunity, by leveraging recommendations from the Global Digital Compact to ensure nobody is left behind in the race to digitalization.

Mr. President,

Addressing climate change is of utmost urgency, with global temperatures already surpassing a critical 1.1°C increase. The upcoming COP28 holds significant importance, emphasizing the need for a forward-looking Global Stocktake rooted in equity and the best available science. We stress the importance of agreeing on modalities for the Loss and Damage Fund, ensuring its operationalization, and we urge the largest emitters to heed the Secretary General's call to allocate financial resources to support the Loss and Damage Fund. This fund is essential for preventing further irreversible losses and damages to our island nations. We also call for urgent actions to bridge the considerable emissions gap and fulfill the international community's commitment to limiting the global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees, safeguarding our planet, its inhabitants, and its biodiversity, and preventing the surpassing of planetary boundaries.

As Small Island Developing States (SIDS), we acknowledge the uniqueness of our challenges and advocate for innovative approaches to economic, social, and environmental transformation. The adoption and full implementation of the next Programme of Action envisioned by SIDS are paramount for our resilient prosperity. As the Co-chair of the Preparatory Committee for the fourth International Conference on Small Island Developing States, we witnessed a robust foundation laid out during the preparatory meetings for a forward looking and action-oriented Programme of Action for SIDS. We seek the support of the International Community to translate this vision into a tangible reality.

Mr. President,

The Maldives strongly believes in the capacity and responsibility of every member of the international community, regardless of size, to contribute to global peace, development, and prosperity. In line with this commitment, we have submitted our candidacy for the term 2027- 2029 to the Economic and Social Council. It is imperative to enhance the representation of small states in decision-making bodies to uphold the organization's ideal of leaving no one behind.

Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is contingent upon the substantive involvement of women and youth. Recognizing the pivotal role of youth in shaping our collective future, the Maldives places significant importance on enhancing youth engagement within the UN System and welcome the establishment of the United Nations Youth Office. While our active participation in the ECOSOC Youth Forum underscores our commitment, we acknowledge the imperative for further integration of youth perspectives. Therefore, we call for a more inclusive incorporation of youth perspectives in the lead-up to the Summit of the Future.

We applaud the Council’s emphasis on advancing the rights of women and girls, acknowledging the substantial global strides achieved through various initiatives of the Council. Gender equality remains a paramount objective for the Maldives, as demonstrated by our endorsement of the Gender Equality Act and the launch of the National Gender Equality Action Plan. While the United Nations General Assembly has been the setting for several historic moments for gender equality, much is still to be achieved regarding women’s representation and participation. With only seven women elected President of this Council in its 77 years, we aspire to witness more women taking the lead.

In conclusion, Mr. President, seven years remain until the 2030 Agenda deadline, urging immediate action to ensure nobody is left behind in our collective pursuit of achieving the SDGs. The road ahead is steep, but together, we can and must overcome it for the people we serve.

I thank you.