"Celebrating the Sustainable Development Goals"
Event by Peaceboat
His Excellency Mr. Ahmed Sareer, Permanent Representative of Maldives to the United Nations
20 October 2016
Mr. Yoshioka Tatsuya, Co-Founder & Director of Peace Boat,
Deputy Secretary General Jan Eliasson
Mr. Jeff Brez of the UN Department of Public Information
Ms. Cora Weiss, President of the Hague Appeal for Peace
Excellencies and friends, a very good evening to you all on this lovely setting!
Let me begin my extending my heartfelt congratulations to the organizers and express my pleasure to have been given the opportunity to speak here today. The Maldives enjoys a good working relationship with the Peace Boat, and I am very happy to be here for this event.
Peace Boat, is determined to be a key campaigner for the SDGs, climate action and might I add, for oceans issues and island states like mine. This partnership between Peace Boat and UN DPI showcases the success we can achieve when likeminded actors come together to fight for a cause.
Small island developing states like mine are the first to feel the effects of climate change and deteriorating ocean health. However, considering our small sizes, small populations and even smaller environmental footprints, we are unable to effect change in the order and magnitude that is required to either adapt to our new planetary conditions or mitigate their risks. However, what we can do and continue to do is to raise awareness when we can, to bring to light our shared concerns and understanding, and to partner with all actors and galvanize our commitment.
In 2015, we made a historic pledge – that of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The very ambitious sustainable goals and targets we have committed ourselves to is not just unique because of its ambition, but also because of its universal nature. This Agenda is not just to be implemented by government officials, it is a people's agenda and its depth and reach will only be attainable if we all – governments, civil society, advocacy groups and NGOs, business community and the academia work together and work effectively.
Our engagement with this Initiative is a very natural and organic one. The work that Peace Boat has been undertaking in the areas of climate change and disaster relief since 2011 is commendable and one which finds deep resonance with our work here at the UN. We have been working tirelessly to bring to attention the damages and the devastation island states face due to climate change and rising sea levels. We have been active participants during the negotiations on the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, the Paris Agreement and the 2030 Agenda, to name a few.
However all of it will be for naught if we do not start implementing what we pledged. We have to ensure that the momentum gained since the signing of all these agreements doesn't fall by the wayside. We have to support initiatives like this, which remind us of the work left to be done, and the importance of what's at stake.
The collaboration with Peace Boat, I believe, can make great strides in spreading awareness to widespread communities, informing them of lessons learned and best practices on climate change adaptation, in providing a platform for knowledge sharing or arming communities at risk with knowledge of disaster risk preparedness. This sort of interaction and dialogue, this sort of collaboration and awareness is invaluable. And we hope to formalise our partnership at the earliest.
As someone who is co-chairing the Steering Committee on Partnerships formed by the United Nations General Assembly in 2015, we look forward to partner these type of multi-stakeholder collaboration with more and more groups and initiatives such as the Peace Boat.
Colleagues and Friends -- the SDGs are our collective aspiration, and its implementation our collective fight. I look forward to further engaging with all of you and wish you all the best in these endeavours.
I thank you.