United Nations Climate Change Conference, COP20

Statement by: H.E. Mr. Ahmed Sareer, Permanent Representative of Maldives to the United Nations

Lima, 11 December 2014 



Mr. President, Excellencies, distinguished delegates,


At the outset, on behalf of my Minister of Environment and Energy, I wish to convey his deep regrets for not being able to attend the Conference due to an ongoing water-crisis in the Maldives following a fire that cut-off the water supply in the capital city, last week.  The government is carrying out all efforts to restore the desalination facilities, which is the only source of drinking water to the entire residents of the capital city.  In the meantime, we do appreciate the temporary relief of water consignments provided by friendly countries.  The water crisis is a stark example of the vulnerability of small island developing states like the Maldives that has no natural fresh water sources.

The Maldives aligns itself with the statement made by His Excellency the President of Nauru on behalf of the Alliance of Small Island States.  We commend the tremendous work undertaken by the government of Nauru during the last three years, leading the voice of the SIDS.


Mr. President,


The recent findings of the IPCC are again alarming. It projects a dark future for my country. The Maldives is among the most vulnerable and least defensible countries to the projected impacts of climate change. We, the small, low-lying island states, have been suffering from losses and damages that can no longer be mitigated, neither be adapted to. It is therefore, imperative that we establish a credible mechanism to address loss and damage. At the same time, we need to emphasise equally on mitigation and adaptation.


Mr. President,


Each year the mitigation gap keeps widening. Projections are getting worse. We cannot neglect the reality. How do we explain to our children, and their children, that we did not secure their future?


The Maldives share of global emissions is negligible.  Yet, we have embarked on an ambitious programme of low carbon development.  Though the challenge seems insurmountable, the government is striving to make the country resilient.


We are clearly at crossroads.  We need a clear direction. Let us agree to a strong ADP decision this week. We need to agree on a common understanding on Intended Nationally Determined Contributions. We believe, the INDCs are a critical step to demonstrate our commitment to address climate change. At the same time, we need to underscore accountability and transparency in the new agreement. This is the basis for building trust and mutual credibility.


The issue of finance is central to achieve the objectives of UNFCCC. Finance must be a fundamental building block of the new agreement. It must contain clear commitments by developed country Parties. The recent pledges to the Green Climate Fund are a positive step towards building trust in the run-up to Paris. However, as a small island developing state that is constantly facing an existential threat, the current pledges are simply not enough. We must also ask, how soon will these pledges materialize? Are these pledges new and additional finance?


The time for change is now. The breathing space is dangerously narrowing. Let us use this window of opportunity. Let’s create a negotiating text in the “Lima spirit” of cooperation, as emphasised by you, Mr. President. Let us pledge ourselves towards a strong legally binding climate agreement.  Excellencies, we do not want to be in Paris to get perished.


Muchas Gracias!