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Statement by the Maldives at the General Debate of the ECOSOC Operational Activities Segment

Statement by the Republic of Maldives

on behalf of the Alliance of Small Island States

ECOSOC Operational Activities Segment - General Debate

23 February 2016

Mr. President, Excellencies, Distinguished Colleagues,

1. I am honoured to speak on behalf of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS). We align our statement with those delivered by the Representative of Thailand on behalf of the Group of 77 and China.

2. As we embark on our discussion at this year's ECOSOC operational activities segment, within the context of the ongoing Dialogue on the longer-term positioning, and Quadrennial Comprehensive Policy Review (QCPR), and under the umbrella of the development frameworks we adopted last year and other inter-governmentally agreed outcomes related to sustainable development, it is important to remember the end result of our work: transforming the lives of our people. It can be hard to picture what these conceptual issues represent to the citizens we represent. Thoughtful action here in New York has a direct impact on how people benefit, or not, from UN service delivery and how governments can act in the face of increasing risks and challenges. Decisions here can mean improvements in knowledge sharing about disaster risk across the UN and local governments that consider local needs and context, leading to improved infrastructure that is sustainable and can save lives. It means developing partnerships that fill real gaps for access to potable water, job training or nutritional food.

3. We echo the G77's point that our commitments in the 2030 Agenda, Sendai Framework, Addis Ababa Agenda and others are not up for reinterpretation - rather the purpose of this process is to identify and correct existing systematic challenges that hinder development and implementation, and to seek to strengthen those that work.

4. As has been stressed by many previously, we reiterate the need to integrate the new Agenda as well as the SAMOA Pathway to all aspects and activities of the UN development system. The multidimensional nature of Agenda 2030 and its holistic paradigm necessitates the need for a clear understanding of how the "sustainable" and "environmental" aspects of development and poverty alleviation will translate into the workings of the UNDS going forward. We need to formulate practical ways to apply environmental targets to any actions by the UN to ensure we not only implement our goals, but also inhibit unintended consequences.

5. We also note with concern the massive imbalance between core and non-core resources. The functions of the UN development system should be aided by its funding practices, not be dictated by them as seems to be the current trend. We need to end business as usual and help formulate mechanisms. We reiterate the need to move away from earmarked non-core funds, instead looking both to core funding that can be aligned to national priorities, thus serving to address the realities of development needs on the ground.

6. For SIDS, it is critical to build and strengthen local capacity for implementation. In order to achieve this work there will need to be coordinated and tangible support from the UN system. Many UN entities have cited keen commitment to improving data collection and analysis; however, if this assistance reaches national level governments from multiple sources, it could quickly become more confusing than helpful. Therefore, it is critical that we embrace the idea of breaking down silos and ensure that all UN funds and programmes move towards delivering as one in areas where synergies, such as around data, can help rather than hinder implementation of the 2030 Agenda.

7. As the G77 highlighted we should increase the diversity of the resident coordinator system to better balance and represent local communities that increases participation and an opportunity for bottom up knowledge sharing and action. On the resident coordinator and UNDAF system process, SIDS see many areas for improvement in order to improve service delivery. For instance, in remote SIDS it is incredibly challenging to coordinate amongst the different UN entities, many of whom are tasked with implementing different aspects of development and humanitarian concerns.

8. We need accountability throughout the UN not only to provide transparency to the global community, but also to make smarter more effective decisions moving forward. Evidence based policy is an important aspect of policy development at the UN moving forward and we look forward to seeing this become a reality.

9. In order to support country level service delivery the UN should focus on its specific value added in these circumstances, which largely is not on direct service delivery but is in the area of coordination and communication. We would like to see in future discussions options for incentives to help all the agencies within the system to feel more comfortable working together and to feel like a larger organization, rather than a series of individual programmes and funds.

10. As a final comment Mr President, we have time and time again heard about the importance of differentiated and targeted assistance to countries in special situations, of which SIDS have been highlighted as a special case for sustainable development. AOSIS has highlighted the different models of service delivery being employed by the UN Development System in SIDS. It would therefore have been helpful to have SIDS voices within the programe, or UN representatives serving in SIDS countries, present here, in these discussions to hear the unique perspectives, so that we may tailor our approaches better, and learn more about the challenges and opportunities. We urge you to take this concern into account in the preparation of programs of meetings in the future.

11. In conclusion, we greatly appreciate the contributions of all panelists and delegations and to see the important issues raised reflected in the reforms developed through the QCPR.

Thank you.

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