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Sustainable Energy for All Forum General Discussion New York, 4-6 June 2014

Statement by H.E Ahmed Sareer

at the

Sustainable Energy for All Forum

General Discussion

New York, 4-6 June 2014

Excellencies, Distinguished Guests, ladies and gentleman

It gives me immense pleasure to speak here today at the Sustainable Energy for All Forum.  On behalf of the Government of the Maldives, I highly commend this initiative of His Excellency Mr Ban Ki-moon, Secretary General of the United Nations. This initiative calls on Governments, businesses and civil society to make new commitments and catalyze action to help achieve sustainable energy for all by the year 2030. We in the Maldives look forward to continuing and developing our role in this, while celebrating the successes we have already made so far globally.

Excellencies,

May I begin by congratulating all involved in establishing and launching the United Nations Decade of Sustainable Energy for All. As we report and assess progress on Sustainable Energy for All since the Rio+20 Conference in 2012, let us remember that it is essential to consider the most vulnerable countries and communities as we drive forward policies and practices to achieve our targets by 2030.

Small island developing states contribute the least to global climate change and yet remain in a state of severe vulnerability. Maldives contributes only 0.003% to Global Greenhouse gas emissions, and yet standing barely a meter above sea level, is on the frontline of climate change impacts. The need for urgent action to ensure that no-one is left behind in achieving sustainable energy for all cannot be overstated.

We are determined to do what we can to address climate change mitigation. At the international level, we have taken bold steps, agreed on many targets and devised various plans to transform our energy sectors to ensure a fairer, more innovative energy future for decades to come. While we are ambitious in our national objectives to achieve this goal, we realize we cannot do it alone. It is by sharing best practices and building on the successes of others that we as a community of nations can achieve sustainable energy for all.

Universal Sustainable Energy is inconsistent with damage to the planet. It is mandatory that the effects to the climate are fully taken into account. Small Island states such as the Maldives are highly dependent on petroleum, leading to problems of affordability of energy both for transport and electricity. Given that electricity is the easiest to decouple from fossil fuel we are now focusing on sustainable electricity generation and are moving towards a low carbon economy.

The global community would be able to tackle both climate change and poverty by improving energy efficiency and providing the necessary incentives for renewable energy. The urgency of utilising these tools has to be emphasised especially the fact small island developing states like the Maldives are threatened by the impacts of climate change. We cannot afford to wait until 2030. A substantial reduction on emissions caused by generating energy is required, while at the same time an accelerated investment is made on clean and zero-emission energy technologies is an absolute necessity - if SIDS are to see life in a new generation.

We must take into consideration the structural disadvantages of SIDS in attracting direct investment. Considerable efforts to improve technology transfer with regards to energy must take place. Maldives is currently spending 23% of its GDP on importing fossil fuel, underscoring the need to move to cleaner technologies. However, without substantial partnerships created to produce high yielding technologies, many nations will not be able reduce this over-reliance on fossil fuels.

We realize that if we invest in the right technology, this both saves cost and increases our energy security. As a country participant of the Climate Investment Fund, we have prepared and endorsed a 5 year investment plan to scale up renewable energy in the Maldives focusing on creating an enabling environment to support private sector investment through guarantee facilities, from multilateral institutions, feed- in tariffs and other investor-friendly policies.

The Maldives is committed to introduce cost-effective renewable energy as part of a diverse, low-carbon and secure energy mix in our low-carbon development.  We are determined and actively working towards making 30 per cent of daily peak electrical load of all populated islands to renewable energy within the next five years.

The Maldives has recently developed an investment plan which will guide us towards achieving low carbon development. And most importantly, this would allow us to spend these resources to other productive sectors ensuring sustainable development.

Excellencies,

Our country is determined to take the lead and be an example to the rest of the world that achieving low carbon development is possible, viable, applicable and do able even in countries as vulnerable as the Maldives. Incentivising and engaging the private sector is a key towards sustainable development. Our five-year plan is designed to ensure this. Indeed, those who invest in modern energy today will emerge as the winners of the twenty first century.

Before I conclude, once again I congratulate you Mr. Secretary General, on your Sustainable Energy for All Initiative and wish the programme every success in its future endeavours.

I thank you for your attention.

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