Statement by His Excellency Mr. Ahmed Khaleel, Permanent Representative of the Republic of Maldives to the United Nations at the General Debate of the Second Committee of the Sixty Third Session of the United Nations General Assembly, 8 October 2006
Allow me first of all to congratulate you on your election as the Chairperson of this important Committee. Allow me also to congratulate the other members who have been elected to the Bureau.
This year, the Committee’s work is being undertaken against a backdrop of global financial and economic turmoil. Just as the food and energy prices were beginning to subside, the global economy is now being shaken by the worst financial crisis since the 1930’s, creating potential for a sharp global economic slowdown; even a global recession. This would undoubtedly hinder the progress made by the developing countries, especially the most vulnerable, the LDCs, LLDCs and the SIDS, to attain internationally agreed development goals, including the MDGs.
It is, therefore, vital that the United Nations renews its efforts to conceive a global economy that addresses the issue of inequality and redresses the global imbalances in finance and trade regimes. In this regard, we believe that the early and successful completion of the Doha Development Round and the constructive outcome of the follow-up conference on Financing for Development in Qatar at the end of this year are crucial.
In 1965, when my country joined the United Nations, we were ranked as one of the poorest countries in the world. The inherent vulnerabilities and the development challenges we faced were enormous.
Since then, with the generous assistance of our development partners and the hard work of our people, the Maldives has achieved remarkable levels of socio-economic progress. For the past three decades we have successfully pursued a people centred path of sustainable development based on social equity, poverty eradication, economic growth, environmental protection and good governance.
MDGs are now fully incorporated in our national development priorities and we are amongst those countries which are on track to achieving most of the targets by 2015. .
Sustaining the remarkable development we have achieved is proving to be an immense challenge in the face of the continuing global environmental degradation. For the Maldives, climate change is not a distant possibility; it is happening now and it is a reality that we are experiencing on a daily basis, forcing us to divert our limited resources away from strategic development to a path of recovery and reconstruction.
The Maldives and other Small Island Developing States, contributes the least to global warming and yet our development and indeed our very existence are fundamentally threatened by global warming and its consequences.
We are convinced that addressing the injustices of climate change is an obligation of the entire international community. We believe that a comprehensive rights based approach to sustainable and just development, anchored in the concept of common but differentiated responsibility is an imperative.
In this regard, we are happy that, on the initiative of the Maldives and 80 other like-minded countries, the UN Human Rights Council had for the first time, earlier this year, recognized the link between human rights and climate change. The Council will formally debate this issue at its tenth session in March 2009 and we hope that due consideration will be given to the outcome of this debate by our colleagues in the UNFCCC, as they work to ensure an effective and equitable successor to the Kyoto Protocol.
As members of this Committee are aware, the General Assembly decided to graduate the Maldives from the list of Least Developed Countries (LDC) on 20 December 2004. However, due to the extensive damage caused during the Asian Tsunami, the General Assembly decided to defer the start of our three year transition period until 2008. Thus, at the beginning of this year we have begun our transition.
I am happy to report that in accordance with General Assembly resolution 59/209 the government has already formed a consultative mechanism with our development and trading partners, with the aim of formulating a long term smooth transition strategy. The first such dialogue entitled, “The Maldives Partnership Forum” was held in 2006. The 2007 Forum was devoted to “National Adaptation to Climate Change” and “Investment Opportunities in the Maldives”. This year’s Forum will focus specifically on the issue of graduation and formulating economic policies and strategies geared to tackle the challenges of middle income country status.
As a Least Developed Country, the Maldives has continued to receive immense support from our development partners. I am confident that the international community will continue with the same spirit of cooperation and partnership when we graduate from the LDC status. It is only with the support of our friends and partners that we can continue with the success story that we have been pursuing.
Before I conclude, Madam Chair, let me reassure you of my delegation’s commitment to the work of this Committee, and express our hope for a productive session.
I thank you.