Remarks by H.E. Mr. Ibrahim Thoriq, Minister of Environment & Energy at the

Working Breakfast to discuss the Implementation of the Paris Agreement and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

Thursday, 21 April 2016, 7:30am – 9:00am, West Terrace Dining Hall


Excellencies, colleagues, friends, Welcome to New York on what is an historic occasion for the international community and the Alliance of Small Island States in particular.

Both for climate change and sustainable development, the world stands at an important crossroad. We have gathered, of course, for the Paris Climate Change Treaty signing ceremony. But we also have important work on the SDGs as well, specifically to assess our progress 6 months after the adaption of the 2030 Agenda. Progress toward both sets of goals is inextricably tied and I believe we should look at these processes as two sides of the same coin.

Throughout last year, we were able to reflect the structural challenges and unique vulnerabilities that SIDS have in achieving sustainable development – which have identified SIDS as a special case for sustainable development – in all the major outcome documents on sustainable development related issues, most importantly in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. We were able to implement key commitments in the SAMOA Pathway: most importantly  the Partnership Framework, which will for the first time followup and review progress on partnerships announced for SIDS, and encourage new partnerships in this regard. We have successfully launched a comprehensive review of UN System support for SIDS, which will present its findings this year, and undoubtedly help in better targeting support for SIDS in the post-2015 world.

For over 25 years ago, AOSIS has argued passionately for a concerted international effort to cut the greenhouse gas emissions responsible for the crisis and provided moral and intellectual leadership at the climate negotiations and on sustainable development issues. Every step of the way, we held steadfast to the principle that above all science must guide our response.

It was not always easy and we experienced frustrating setbacks and delays, but last year in Paris our influence arguably reached its zenith where—against all odds—we were successful in wining the inclusion of the 1.5 Celsius temperature goal in the climate agreement.

The Paris climate treaty is a remarkable achievement unto itself and represents an important victory for multilateralism. AOSIS demonstrated even further leadership after the meeting. The first four countries to complete their domestic ratification processes for the treaty are all members: Fiji, Republic of the Marshall Islands, Palau, and my country, the Maldives.

Early ratification sends a strong signal to the world that the fate of many small islands rests on the rapid implementation of the Paris agreement. For, as historic as this signing ceremony is, unless it inaugurates a dramatic transition to a low carbon economy, we will face potentially catastrophic climate impacts.

So, though we have come along way together, our work is not done, far from it. AOSIS must continue to lead the world in pushing for the full implementation of climate and sustainable development solutions and support for our efforts to adapt to impacts that can no longer be avoided. We must continue to press for the realization of the SAMOA Pathway, which is our best hope to build a prosperous and sustainable future for our people, and the implementation of the 2030 Agenda.

Thank you for your hard work and support and I look forward to continuing this journey together.