UNDP 50th Anniversary Ministerial Meeting

“Highlights of Human and Sustainable Development Stories”

New York, 24 February 2016


Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,


The Maldives celebrated fifty years of independence last year. In 1965, the Maldives was one of the poorest countries in the world, with no viable industries and low human development. Today, we have graduated from the Least Developed Country Status: only the third country to do so. We have a thriving, young, innovative population, significantly alleviated poverty, achieved universal primary education prolonged life expectancy dramatically, cultivated a world famous tourism sector, and a fisheries sector that maintains one of the most sustainable forms of fisheries. The human development index of the Maldives has made a remarkable improvement over the past fifty years. Our development journey is a true testament to the spirit and vigour of our people, and the foresight of our Governments. And through it all, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has been our valued development partner.


The support of the UNDP has been instrumental to the development of every sector in the Maldives. We have looked to the UNDP, for the comparative advantage it offers: with offices across the globe, the UNDP has the most readily available information on best practices, lessons learnt and global challenges and emerging issues, across countries in similar situations. This nature of UNDP is instrumental especially as we enter a new era of development cooperation, in our first UNDAF as a non-LDC.


The UNDP today plays a critical role especially in building national capacity and providing policy guidance on key areas for the Government, as identified by the UNDAF and in our national obligations and internationally agreed outcome documents. And we cannot highlight enough, the importance of this engagement on building national capacity and human resources as we endeavor to become more resilient. Lack of human resources hinders development at every turn: and the UNDP has invested considerablyhelping the Maldives and many other countries achieve high levels of human development, and should continue to do so in this regard.


The UNDP continues to play an important role in assisting the Government in consolidating our young democracy. Considerable efforts by the Government have been supplemented by the UNDP, in institutional building, strengthening of governance and rule of law.


It is of utmost importance that the UNDP work in partnership with national governments. In our experience, we have found that partnerships based on mutual trust and understanding, mutual respect and shared goals have led to successful outcomes. Every country is different and we continue to say that “no-one-size-fits-all”. Therefore the UN Development Programme must deliver services that are tailor made, through a thorough study of the unique vulnerabilities and circumstances on the ground. This is important so that any change is sustainable.


The UN Resident Coordinators, which are under the purview of the UNDP, are the “ambassadors” of the UN system at the national level. The UN on the ground must therefore, not be detached from the policy making and norm setting here in New York: and the policies and norms must be informed by “on-the-ground” realities that can only be provided through country teams. This form of communication and coordination is essential especially as we start to implement the new development framework.


As we continue to travel onward on our development path, we will continue to work hand in hand with our partners, such as the UNDP. For it is in true partnership that we find development that is sustainable and durable. Thank you.