Statement by the Republic of Maldives

on behalf of the Alliance of Small Island States

at the High Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development


12 July 2016

Session: "Ensuring that no one is left behind – Food Security and sustainable agriculture, climate action, sustainable oceans and terrestrial ecosystems – adopting a nexus approach"

Mr. Chairman, Excellencies, Distinguished Colleagues,

I have the honour to deliver these remarks on behalf of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) and to participate in what has been a very interesting discussion.

The 2030 Agenda is important to us. For the first time, we are looking at development in a truly holistic manner, seeing how our actions can cause multiple effectsand the cumulative effects one factor has another.

This nexus between food security, climate action and sustainable oceans is all too relevant for Small Island Developing States. When climate change, natural hazards and ocean health threaten us SIDS, it affects all aspects of our life. From an existential threat to more systemic issues, the interrelationship between all these factors is our daily struggle.

SIDS, as "large ocean states", are dependent on oceans for our economic development, access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food, livelihoods. They are crucial parts of our cultural identity and traditions. They are important for a healthy environment. Sustainable fisheries and aquaculture, coastal tourism, the possible use of seabed resources and potential sources of renewable energy are among the main building blocks of a sustainable oceans-based economy in SIDS. This is why SIDS are strong advocates for the sustainable use and management of our oceans and seas.

Many factors threaten our oceans and seas. Marine pollution is becoming an overwhelming challenge worldwide; ocean acidification due to high carbon emissions, further exacerbated by high temperatures; illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, are all existing challenges that need to be addressed immediately.

The intimate link between climate change action and sustainable development for SIDS does not need to be further elaborated. Climate change affects all areas of sustainable agriculture, from drought, to threatening water security, to exacerbating storms and ocean acidification. Each of these issues has devastating impacts but together they have the potential to result in a true food crisis. They have the potential to cripple economies in SIDS, and to bring about a true existential crisis.

What we need is urgent, and considerable, investment in adaptation and mitigation actions towards a climate-smart food network that is more resilient and adaptable to climate change influences on our food security. What we need is a fulfillment of the commitments made for climate action. What we need is a true recognition of the value and state of our oceans and seas and attention to the enormous challenges that exist there.

Again, I thank all the panelists for this insightful discussion and for the opportunity to make this intervention.